January 31, 2011

Profesh Outfit of the Day

DVF Bilboa (wool dress)
J. Crew cami
Hue tights
Rosegold Liz booties
Necklace from Chris

I wore this on a day that I *thought* I was supposed to have a big meeting. It is my version of "professional" but it is still kind of... not. It isn't the skirt suit, anyway. To me, minimizing (though not eliminating) prints is "professional." And cleavage is decidedly not "professional" so I layered a printed silk camisole from J. Crew to offer a pop of visual interest and cover up any excessive decolletage. I think it worked great but it was still a professional failure because I checked my calendar again and realized the meeting was the following day. Oh well!

You can see the cute tiny heart print of the silk cami, along with some detail shoes of the jewelry here.

January 30, 2011

Obsessed with this Dress

(photo from style.com)

This fine frock is Dior couture which means it will never be: 1. made-to-measure for anyone who isn't a. famous b. rich; 2. available to me in any incarnation (hoping for a knock off isn't realistic); and 3. available for a price that is not insane. BUT it sure is lovely. It's old Hollywood glamour with minor contemporary touches (the drapey cowl, the asymmetrical hem, the ethereal layers and textures, the ombre effect). Plus SLEEVES! Oh how I love sleeves.

January 29, 2011

French and Italian (accessories)

There have been some fantastic end of season clearance sales happening lately. Because I have a little mad money (and a nagging addiction to sales), I have been browsing the round racks and websites. I just accepted my first invitation to speak that includes an honorarium (fancy word for stipend). Although I am extremely busy with other projects, trying desperately to finish my dissertation and wrap up my Cultural Studies Association paper for the Division of Culture and War, I accepted. This sort of invitation is counted among my many academic goals.

 Gucci Wedges on major discount from DSW

You see, I have a range of career objectives that span from realistic to entirely absurd. To name a few: "be invited to share your expertise during a segment on NPR," "deliver a ____ ____ inaugural lecture," "donate your 'archives' to a library that actually wants them," "start a scholarship fund for economically disadvantaged women from your home town," "be invited to speak at an event that includes an honorarium," "publish a book (or three)," "actively mentor and advise people who aren't children of PhDs (and are therefore as bewildered by academia as you were/are)," etc. I am sure this probably makes me sound insufferable, (think Tracy Flick) but I promise that many are tongue-in-cheek pipe-dreams. And the rest come from a place of earnestness (think Leslie Knope).

 Balenciaga buckle ballerinas from Barneys final cut sale

Anyway, I was briefly evaluating what I should do with the money. Then I remembered that I already have a few recent buys that I can pretend are my honorarium presents. This allows me to sink that check directly into savings. It makes the most sense, practically. And although I do like these items, I was having trouble justifying them. Although their combined sale price totals don't equal my windfall, their retail values certainly do! 

Michael Kors Calista handbag in Navy, bought with Saks giftcard

BTW and not to sound like an outtake from the talking Malibu Stacy episode of the Simpsons, but (as a humanities scholar) sale math is my favorite genre of everyday math.

January 28, 2011

Anthropologie Favorites Collage

Roxy of Effortless Anthropologie posed an interesting question to her readers this week. She asked them to share with her their favorite pieces from the store. I chose only ones I purchased and left out the ones I regret not buying. But many of mine are from years ago. I am wearing one today! If you want to see the details, please click the photo to enlarge.

I loved reading about what stood out for others. I also loved seeing older photos of pieces I had never seen! It is definitely worth checking out if you are a long time fan of the store.

January 27, 2011

In with the old OOTD

Banana Republic sweater (similar here)
Tibi skirt (similar here and here)
John Hardy necklace (bracelet here)

When I saw a blogger wearing this sweater from Banana Republic, I was thrilled to remember that I had it too (in black and in ivory)! I like its romantic poet sleeves and pussy bow. I unearthed both colors from the depths of my sweater dresser and planned to wear them asap. Anyone know which blogger was wearing it in ivory recently? I am having blogreader-induced amnesia. I thought it was Tien or Rosa but had no luck locating it in either place.

ETA! It was Overcaffeinated who wore the sweater and it was baby blue, not ivory! Regardless, check out how she paired it with an adorable patterned skirt here

In other blog-love news, I am thrilled to see that Becca (formerly of BeaisforBeautiful) is blogging again at the aptly named Best in Shop. Be sure to check out her newly launched blog!

January 26, 2011

When I haven't been working...

I've been reorganizing. Chris and I are in the middle of some major pre-Spring cleaning. Now that he's back from South America, the holidays are over, and our trip to New York is behind us, we are being super productive. In October when Chris left for his field work, I haphazardly stored and fit a lot of our wedding-related gifts, intending to revisit them with his input. I also just had a lot of papers and miscellany to sort through at the end of the semester. I normally do a huge end-of-semester cleaning right away, but this year I flew to Brazil instead. I had a lot of catching up to do.

I went through my armoire and have a big bag of clothes for consignment. I also will be listing additional items on my Shop Jesspgh blog in the coming days. Right after I took this photo, the armoire's bar collapsed. The piece functions as my closet overflow space.

The thing about old houses is that what they lack in closet space they make up for (ideally) in charm. Frankly, I don't know if there's enough charm in the world to make up for the woefully inadequate closets of this house. But Chris and I have done our best to compensate with attractive storage-solving antiques. What southwestern PA lacks in urbanism and coastlines, it makes up for in affordable antiques.

January 24, 2011

What I Wore to Eleven Madison Park

When we go out of town, Chris and I always try to schedule one fancy date/meal to a restaurant we've never visited. We asked close friends of ours (who have a much firmer grasp of restaurant culture within and beyond Pittsburgh) where we should go on our trip to New York. They suggested Eleven Madison Park. By the time we went to make the reservation all that remained were lunch spots. But that actually saved us a bit of dough and allowed us the entire evening to bask in the afterglow of afternoon booze and too many courses. This lunch took over three hours! I don't know how people go back to work after something like that.

Because I knew I'd be outside walking around a lot in the cold and slush I packed a bunch of wool dresses. The above is a somewhat recent repeat swapped with one of my multiples.

The food and service were unforgettable, if not a little more formal than what you experience in Pittsburgh-area fine dining. I didn't feel under-dressed but I might have at a dinner hour. Every course was plated beautifully so even though we are not typically food-photo takers, we made some exceptions. I don't have all the courses because some are on Chris's phone.

Above are "crab" and "lamb" respectively. The restaurant's menu text is minimal, featuring only the primary ingredient of each dish. Although our servers were happy to answer questions, we felt pretty confident in just selecting with the information we had and being surprised. We ate a lot of great food on this entire trip, in the home of our friends where we stayed and in restaurants in Brooklyn and elsewhere. I might talk about them in upcoming posts, alongside my shopping/buying reports but I definitely wanted to share since Eleven Madison Park was such an indulgent experience.

January 22, 2011

De Chelly Fit Review

Before it went on sale and before I left for New York I stopped by the Mt. Lebanon Anthropologie and tried on the De Chelly dress. Please forgive my socks. It was too cold to bother removing them. The De Chelly is a very charming dress that I probably would be more drawn to if the temperature was warmer here. It is the kind of thing I'd want to wear on a picnic or on a boat. The rope style belt adds a nautical touch. I tried on an 8 and it fit well all over. Because of the length and my height I think I would prefer the petite length. It is nice that there is a petite option with this one! The dress is fully lined and the print is textured and threaded. The dress seemed to be of fine quality particularly for the sale price. I passed because it was still full price and because I considered the fabric and colorway to be best for summertime, I didn't rush to buy it even on sale. But a few bloggers have demonstrated how to make it winter appropriate. See some styling options by Kim from Anthroholic here.

January 21, 2011

Quality Control Issues and Customer Response

I bought a dress from Urban Outfitters back in October and am having a dilemma. Although the dress is very cute, the button loop at the neckline broke immediately and after I laundered it (exactly according to the care instructions, although I did not tumble dry like it said I could for fear of shrinking) the already short dress shrunk considerably. Now I realize it was not the world's most expensive dress. But even for $44 I expected it to hold up for longer than 2 short (dinner-length) wears and 1 wash!

I am still within the holiday return window and need to decide whether I should take the dress to the store or call and ask if I can mail it back due to defects. Or should I just eat the money and be annoyed? What would you do?

Do you ever feel timid about asking retailers to stand by their products? I normally wouldn't but the idea of staring the hip Urban Outfitter customer service staff in the face, explaining that "I simply cannot wear a butt-displaying former-dress-now-tunic, therefore I want a refund," makes me nervous.

This entire experience is also a lesson about the futility of buying cute but cheap thrills. It is a lesson I have learned too many times over!

January 20, 2011

Spinning Lace Dress is MINE!

Hooray! The Spinning Lace dress (sold out online from Anthropologie but you can buy it here) is even more lovely than I remember. But it is also SO DRESSY. And clearly not something that I could wear to a wedding. So, I ask you: How can I make this wearable/appropriate for day? After all was said and done, it was 70% off so I am happy to own it. But can I wear this to campus or will I look like Professor Muffet (as in, Little Miss)?

It's always better on holiday

J. Crew blouse
Cardigan gift from my mom
Off Fifth skirt
Hue tights
Rosegold booties

This outfit is better suited for December than January. But being in Brazil for a good portion of the lead up to Christmas meant that I didn't do the whole "daughter of a schoolteacher so I love to dress the part" thing I normally do. And when I grabbed this pretty silk blouse from the final sale at J. Crew I knew it could be a holiday-specific piece. The question is does it work outside of holiday dressing?

John Hardy necklace (gift from my mother-in-law)
MBMJ snake bracelet (gift from a friend)

I almost titled this entry "Ruby Soho" because my adolescent and post-adolescent roots are firmly entrenched in punk culture. I have a deep nostalgia for wearing black and red together as a result, no matter how harsh it looks. But the cooptation of punk aesthetics makes me fear appearing too much like a Hot Topic mall punk.

January 19, 2011

My MBMJ Soviet Inspired Dress

I stalked this dress for years and finally tracked one down on ebay for a song. From Marc by Marc Jacobs fall 2007, I knew it would be the perfect winter dress for the coldest of days. But until last November it eluded me. I was thrilled to wear it into Manhattan with Chris to have lunch and peruse the Saks consolidation sale. It was the coldest day of my visit to New York but somehow everything except my legs stayed super warm. I've been wearing a lot of plain wool dresses lately.

I am sure I was influenced by the recent musings of That Damn Green Dress and Commonwealth Girl so all brown dresses and "Soviet" inspired pieces are bringing me a lot of comfort.

January 17, 2011

My Frye "Santa" Boots (aka Paige Lug)

I picked out these Frye Boots so that they could be a Christmas present from my parents. I really liked their appearance and figured they would be very warm. When they arrived I was glad to learn that they are indeed warm. But upon sight, Chris called them "Santa boots."

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal because I often do not take to heart Chris's clothing assessments (and besides, he typically really likes how I dress) but something about this statement really stuck with me. Now I can't look at them without thinking of Santa. The furry trim and their mid calf height are indeed quite jolly. And even if they aren't the world's most stylish boots, they are by far the warmest I've worn. So although I feel a little merry wearing them, I am glad to have something so warm on the coldest of days.

January 13, 2011

A Little Green OOTD

Checkers dress
Calvin Klein wrap
Hue tights
Steven by Steve Madden boots
Vintage Necklace

I've talked about my tendency to dress monogamously (which is really just a gentler way of proclaiming my secret dirtbaggery and affection for repeats) and I hope this particular reiteration of the green dress from Brazil isn't too terribly dull/soon. I had a stockpile of backlogged outfits this time last month and I managed to burn through most of them. So this is what you get. I wore this to campus yesterday. The commute was a little trecherous in both directions because of the snowstorm. But I was comfy and warm all day in my new gothic ninja drapey cardigan thing by Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx (if only I could afford/justify a legit Rick Owens number... ).

January 12, 2011

Monday Monday OOTD

J.Crew sweater
Old Navy tshirt underneath
Anthropologie skirt
Spanx tights
Nine West shoes
Necklace from Chris; Swatch watch

I wore this ensemble to campus on Monday. The velvet button skirt (from Elevensies) hasn't seen the light of day for ages because frankly, it is at least two sizes too big. It gaps a ton at the waist and generally poofs all over (I am kind of smooshing down the poof in the photos). I haven't bothered to get it tailored and I have no excuse other than laziness. I might change that soon because I really like the fabric, print, and shape otherwise. The skirt came from Anthropologie but I bought it off ebay a few years ago. It was at least a size too big then.

You can see a closeup of the print here (with one half of a pair of Joie boots I bought and returned).

January 11, 2011

Soft Structured Dress Review

I loved this Soft Structured dress on Louise/Princess Dave from Running on Anthro and although my figure doesn't reap the benefits of running, I looked forward to trying this body conscious number for myself. I grabbed a medium because the dress was quite stretchy. It was snug around my bust but fit great everywhere else. I would say this runs true to size. It seems a little lightweight for winterwear so although I adored the print in person and very much liked how it looked and how comfy it was, I will be waiting for a sale.

Speaking of sale, there's another one today that includes the Eva Franco skirt I just reviewed. Check out Roxy's roundup here.

January 10, 2011

Quick Babergh OOTD

I wore this before I left for Brazil back in early December. I don't recall why I never shared it. I do remember not feeling too happy with my tights and shoe pairing. Although the photo makes them look black, they aren't. The tights are a steel gray and the shoes are blue suede with maroon captoe and straps. I'd like to try some textured light gray wolfords next time I wear this because the gray just look black. I was excited to get this dress. I ended up waiting for a sale, despite how risky it is to do so with popular dresses like the Babergh. I am too much of a bargain-hunting believer in shopping destiny to rationalize full price purchases at Anthropologie, anyway. I even hesitate buying items when the item is only on its first cut!

But waiting isn't without its consequences and risks. Because I waited, I didn't manage to track down an 8 like I tried here. I am wearing a 10 above. It seems like a better fit on my bottom half anyway. I do think the arm holes and waist are a bit blousey so I might eventually get that fixed.

January 07, 2011

Jaquard Missive (Eva Franco) Skirt Review

This Eva Franco skirt called the Jacquard Missive is one I've seen before albeit in a different pattern/fabric. It is the newest version of the Aniseed skirt from last year. I spotted the fabric from across the room, as the skirts were folded and sitting on a table. Sadly my store only had tiny sizes and one singular 12. I grabbed the 12 to try and it was too big/voluminous. But regarding the quality and look of the skirt, I actually like this one much more . The fabric is more substantive, and the colors are richer and more vibrant than the simple stripes of the Aniseed.

I *think* the Aniseed above is a size 10 which was a better fit than the 12. I'd say this one runs on the small side of true to size. And I will  be wishlisting this one for sure! (Speaking of exposed slips, please excuse mine in photo 1. I forgot to bring in a proper top haha).

January 06, 2011

Second Cut Sale Spotting: Violet Gloaming

In the Pittsburgh Bakery Square Anthropologie near closing time last night I saw one lone Violet Gloaming dress (in size 8, style # 18823559) by Moulinette Souers hanging with the second cut sale dresses. I loved this one on Tien and on Small Town Fashionista so I was drawn to it. It was an odd fit on me so I passed but hopefully this helps someone! It was cut down to somewhere around $70 if I remember correctly.

First Day of Spring Semester OOTD

Alma Mater Blazer (from Anthro)
Vince cashmere sweaterdress
Spanx Tight End Tights
Rosegold Liz booties
Wax stamp initial necklace

Still fighting my head cold, I begrudgingly returned to the classroom to make a gross first impression on my students. Knowing I would be coughing and sneezing and generally in lethargic spirits on day 1, I tried to find something professional but interesting to wear. The Alma Mater blazer was a perfect option. Unfortunately you can see my slip in this photo. When I wear tights and a sweaterdress slips are a must or else static cling will plague me all day long.

January 05, 2011

Winter Travel Inspiration Board

Although I loved finding respite from the bitter cold last month, the next few months keep me in the northern hemisphere. I leave for New York to visit friends in about a week and am so excited to pack light and smart. Although I don't own the above, they will guide my selections. I'm on campus now but will be back with my first outfit of the new semester later today!


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