April 29, 2011

McQueen and SLEEVES!

The biggest winners today. I realize sleeves were requisite for Westminster Abbey. Still I am excited to see such a timeless look on such a high profile bride. I love it even though many seem disappointed.

As the hilarious blog, Kate Middleton FTW says:

April 28, 2011

Royal wedding fever

If I have my druthers, we'll be seeing Kate Middleton sporting McQueen tomorrow. I love these looks.

This goth-tastic number has been a non-traditional wedding favorite of mine since it first debuted in 2006. Alas, I could never track one down before my own big day (I realize even if I had it would have been out of my price range but a gal can dream). A long, poofier, princess-silhouette version of this would be jaw-dropping and royally unconventional!

The shipwrecked, tattered romance of this tufted ruffle dress would convey a modern cynicism that might be interpreted negatively by the press but that I personally would adore.

Something about the sculptural halter detail evokes modern royalty in my brain. I think they'd need to make it more grand with a cathedral train.

I expect there will be more than one dress, as speculated by the royally obsessed wedding fashion press. But I do hope the rumors are true and that some homage to old McQueen is in the mix.

April 27, 2011

Which one would you keep?

If you only wanted to keep one...

Marc Jacobs Stam Hobo in Mouse Gray
strap fits over shoulders
chain is removable
rare style and color
chain is heavy so I don't bring it out of town
I already have a bag in this color
kind of a black hole (too big to be organized)
not iconic like the regular stam (though I sold my regular stam)

Marc Jacobs Quilted Blake in Mouse Gray
easy to stay organized with the divisions
straps fit over shoulders 
rare color/quilted combo
kind of small for work
I forget which compartment I put my stuff in cause I am forgetful
I already have a bag in this color
common style

Springy celebratory ootd

Marc by Marc Jacobs floating lotus dress
Gap cardi
Chloé flats

I wore this to have my bday celebration with my parents and siblings. It was fun. It was also a few weeks ago at this point! I am behind.

When I was little my mom took a cake decorating class. And throughout my childhood I always had the most elaborate, professional-looking, home made cakes. The entire house would smell of vanilla and I would get my own little piping bag with icing to try to create the roses and designs she made with such ease. I never got the hang of it. And I probably should ask her if she could teach me. She has the steadiest teacher hand. Relatedly, she also has the best penmanship of anyone I've ever known. I, on the other hand, get the shakes under pressure and my left hand could never craft the perfect cursive and printed letters of a schoolteacher. Now that I'm grown I feel funny asking my mom to put in the intense amount of labor required to make me a cake. Instead I did request that she visit my favorite hometown bakery (the Mon Valley based Keystone Bakery which I prefer to the much more beloved South Hills favorite, Bethel Bakery) to buy a cake. It was as delicious as I remember!

April 26, 2011


Marc by Marc Jacobs dress and cardigan
Chie Mihara pumps

When rooting through my stuff to determine what should stay and what should go, I realized that for a while when I found a deal on ebay I had deal-goggles. They are much like sale goggles in that you see the price before you see the piece and how it will fit into your wardrobe. For a very long time Marc by Marc Jacobs in particular was my deal goggle vice. At this point, it is time to cull my collection and only keep those pieces that I truly love. Many very lovely but not-often-worn MBMJ items are now listed on the Shop Jesspgh blog at deal-goggle-discounted prices. And the older listed items have been reduced too.

The above is one of those brand-centric outfits that leads to fangirl accusations. Maybe it is true! But I thought these pieces were hilariously matchy matchy. And because they came out during the same season (Spring 2010) they were likely intended as such.

April 25, 2011

Cleaning out my closet(s)

It's time to weed and seed so I am re-homing a number of gently loved items on my Shop Jesspgh blog! This includes the above Orla Kiely Cars print bag (from Anthro 2009) and the Marc by Marc Jacobs Serena top and much more! I will be listing more things this week. Check it out.

Campus Chloé

Chloé "Van Gogh" dress
Old Navy long sleeved t-shirt
Hue tights
Forever 21 belt
Purple leather studded cuff

It was still slightly too chilly for bare arms and legs when I taught last week. So I decided to bring out dresses I associate with spring but that can be easily layered. First up was this Chloé dress (blogged here and here). The cap sleeves are cute but inappropriate when I factor in my comfort zone of skin exposure while teaching. When I wore this last fall (which I guess I never photographed or blogged since I can't find it in the archives), I layered it under a cardigan for campus. This time I tried layering a longer sleeved top underneath so that the dress itself could still be the focal point. Don't ask what my hair was doing as the critical mass of humidity and rain have really taken a toll on its ability to cooperate.

April 24, 2011

When outfits are better in theory

Nanette Lepore dress
Testament Cardigan
Streets Ahead belt
Steven by Steve Madden pumps

I wore this the other week thinking the drapey cardigan would help to make less billowy a too-large dress. But when I looked at the outfit photos afterwards I realized this particular outfit idea was a lot better in theory than in practice. All day the dress (which is a very light silk) shifted, occasionally exposing my slip. And the cardigan was too drapey to behave underneath the slightly-too-large belt without more bulk. Lesson learned!

April 21, 2011

How do you decide when to say goodbye?

I've been thinking about parting with some of my lesser-used bags. Adrien and Marianne of Looks Good from the Back call this recycling, since the old often funds the new. As much as I enjoy them, they mostly sit in my closet. Let's face it: I just don't have the Kardashian-caliber closet/lifestyle/income to justify collecting for the sake of a collection.

 One such aforementioned Kardashian closet. (from Elle)

But that leaves me with the decisions. I don't mean to sound dramatic or so crass as to liken this privileged process of material weeding to Sophie's Choice. I fully recognize that this is among the first-world-iest of a developed world/global north problem. But even so, how do you decide what stays and what goes when it is in a genre you happen to (kind of) hoard?

 All of these MBMJ bags have been rehomed except the Pan Am and the Softy.

When I am weeding out fast fashion, the process is easy. I don't feel a lot of commitment to that stuff. I didn't buy it with longevity in mind. No one expects to keep some necklace from Target for decades.  That's part of why I've begun avoiding fast fashion. No matter how cute the item, I often view the stuff as temporary or even (more guiltily) disposable.

 As much as I love the Stam, it didn't suit my lifestyle.

With nicer clothing the process is a little more simple and less intimidating. If I haven't worn it that must mean it 1. doesn't fit my lifestyle 2. doesn't make me feel confident and/or 3. just plain doesn't fit. I don't typically feel that pang of sentimental "what if someday I will want this again" anxiety with clothes.  

 I thought I was ready to say goodbye when I sold this Balenciaga City. 
A month or so later I bought it back from its new owner.

Bags have long been my vice. They were my high-end gateway drug. I hold onto them with irrational fervor. Quite a few were purchased with great care and effort, to (for lack of better and less pretentious word) curate a fine accessories arsenal that could enhance any range of outfits. Parting with the ones I have kept to this point would mean parting with the ones I really like. Even if I don't use them now, I see their value in remaining a part of my collection. If they've made this many closet edits then I obviously feel kind of attached. And all of these irrational material musings add up to my becoming emotional (and therefore unrealistic) about pricing. When I feel confident about selling a bag, I price it to move. When I feel mixed, I end up being less realistic in my evaluation of resale market value.

I hope I don't sound too materially dependent. I am curious about the thoughts of others on this subject. What about you? How do you decide what stays and what goes? Do you consign, use ebay/bonanza, or a shop blog? Is weeding and re-selling a simple or emotional process? How do you determine a price for something you might have coveted desperately at one point but realize you just rarely use?  Do you feel more attached to specific types of items (like shoes, watches, tote bags, etc.) over others?

Tied Down dress review

I was drawn to this pretty, feminine basic when I saw the springy salmon color of the Tied Down dress. It also comes in navy which would possibly be more versatile for a wider range of closets. I like that the dress is basically a blank canvas on which you can accessorize. And I don't own much in this muted pinky red so I skipped the navy and grabbed an 8. The fit was a bit roomy but I didn't have time to try the 6. I liked the pockets. Although the shoulder ties are a cute feature for warm days, I am a perpetual layer-er. Therefore, I have grown wary of puffy sleeves, shoulder decorations, and other things that add bulk under a form-fitting cardigan. I think my favorite design feature of this dress is the cowl neckline because it would look so nice peaking out from underneath a layer. The retail on this one is reasonable enough that it might not make it to sale. Because my impression of this dress was only good and not great/must have, I am going to hold off and revisit if it does.

April 20, 2011

Monogamous Dress-ing

Precious Metals cardigan (Anthro)
MBMJ pumps
vintage necklaces
Betsey Johnson studded gold watch

Although I wore my Kate Spade fangirl outfit just last Thursday (blogged Saturday), I only ran into a few people from work. None of those people were my students (who probably have the longest chance to take a gander at what I'm wearing). So I rationalized that a quick repeat was in order. I did pair it with some different pieces (a cardigan, pumps, and jewelry). But I was glad to get more wear out of my new dress.
 Kate Spade larabee dot satchel

I also carried my newspaper print tote for its maiden voyage!

The classified ads of the newsprint read like a lifestyle manual / stereotype checklist for preppy/yuppie WASPs from New England. I am not quite any of those so I find it especially amusing to read.

April 19, 2011

Eating my words re: "inspired" pieces

For my birthday Chris got me many cute things. One of those things happened to be a cute bracelet that looked suspiciously like the Hermes Collier de Chien cuff. I feel sort of guilty about directing him to the independent jeweler who sold it. Especially because I try to avoid blatantly "inspired" items (as discussed here). But it is purple leather (not a color offered by Hermes), very obviously not trying to be Hermes (i.e. it doesn't say "Hernes" or anything else knock-off-y, plus it lacks an additional set of studded hardware featured on the real deal), the clasp is quite different, and this one is pretty in its own right. The real deal:

What do you think? If someone makes an "inspired" item do you avoid at all costs? Does it change if you would never be willing to spend the large sum of cash required to get the real deal (even if you had it)? Does it matter if the person selling the inspired piece is independent versus mass market? Do you think I am a hypocrite? It is ok if the answer is yes! I will still wear the bracelet. :) After all, I still wear Anthropologie's Burberry knock off, the Two Paths trench!

ETA: In the comments you will find the link to the website where it was purchased. It looks like the site is sold out but maybe they will restock? I also know that Target has a CdC-like bracelet right now but I haven't seen it in person. 

Magellan Dress Review

I loved the mixed but complimentary prints of the Magellan Dress by Maeve. It has removable straps which makes it versatile (though I am not a strapless dress wearer, many are!). It has substantial cotton linen fabric. It fits true to size (wearing an 8 above) and nips the waist. It has an elastic/ruched panel in the back so that the sizing is flexible. It has pockets. Overall, it is really a fantastic dress worthy of the many rave reviews you will find on its product page. I am going to snatch this one up, possibly with my bday discount!

April 18, 2011

Home Stretch OOTD

Two Wheeler Shirtdress (by Porridge) from Anthro
Rosette cardigan from J. Crew
Chie Mihara t-straps from Nordstrom Rack
Forever 21 belt
Hue tights
Gifted accessories

The semester is nearly over and I am excited to immerse myself in research projects, asap. While on campus the other day for teaching, I decided to dress summery but covered up enough for the chillier temperature.

Fellow academics, what (if anything) are you doing/wearing to power through?

April 17, 2011

Ancient Myths Maxi skirt review

I loved the print and the finish of the easy, saturated Ancient Myths maxi skirt. The elastic waist made me think it would be perfect for a beach vacation, easily thrown over a bathing suit as a dress or a skirt. I only tried it as a skirt. I grabbed my regular size 8 and that was a fine fit. The length was alright on me (I am 5'3) but would probably be too short on taller gals (as I didn't try the petite length). I did hike it up to wear at my natural waist so it could be longer if worn lower. It has pockets and is fully lined with a similarly airy cotton fabric. At $88 I think it is a little high in price for something you could likely find for cheap from a street vendor in any urban metropolis, but the print of the fabric is very lovely and unique. Personally, I will wait for a sale and revisit. I don't know if I can pull off the maxi trend, as much as I adore seeing it on a range of body types.

April 16, 2011

Kate Spade Fangirl OOTD and some blog metamusings

Kate spade bag
Two Paths trench
Chloé flats

Chris took these photos of me after we grabbed some groceries and lunch in the Strip District this week. I know lots of bloggers have their partners take their photos but I always feel really awkward asking to be indulged in that way. It isn't that he doesn't always oblige happily, but my blog norms are to take photos quickly and without a lot of fanfare. And asking someone to break from what we're doing to photograph me feels a lot like fanfare. I don't have the camera or the confidence to scope locations. I don't have the time right now either. I wish I did because so many of the blogs I adore put such care and aesthetic beauty into their content. And they never compromise their content by posting with a lot of frequency if they don't have the quality there too. I really admire that dedication.

As I reflect on the last four years of blogging, I've come to grips with the fact that my blog is a tiny, separate thing that I try to maintain by posting frequently, if not carefully. It is independent from my personal and professional spheres. For my own life, it kind of has to be. Many friends don't know about it and as far as I know, none of my current colleagues do. For me this blog would exceed its use value if it became too obtrusive. If I had to dedicate a great deal of energy to it, I would probably have to shut it down. I don't have the photography chops anyway, so the time factor would be like quadruple what it is for more skilled ladies. I am so grateful to have readers despite all of these decisions and choices I've had to make to keep this going. It makes me curious about how you integrate the blog into your private lives.

Do your friends and coworkers know about your blog? For those of you in the classroom, do your students know?

Pittsburgh Shopping Event: Handmade Arcade!

I meant to post this earlier in the week but the busy time of the nearly-wrapped semester forced the blog to take a back seat. Anyway, if you are in the Pittsburgh area today, I highly recommend checking out the Handmade Arcade. The Handmade Arcade is an annual event for local and national indie crafters and artisans. They set up booths and sell amazing, cool, unique items directly to the public (think Renegade Craft Fair but specific to the 'Burgh). If you like browsing Etsy, you'll love this event! And it is occurring on Record Store Day so I know plenty of people will be in the mood to shop because of that!

Normally the Handmade Arcade is scheduled to correspond with the lead up to the December holiday gift giving season but this year it is timed nicely for buying gifts to give on Mother's Day and during graduation and wedding seasons. Be sure to check it out if you can! And bring cash because most of the booths don't take cards. Happy shopping!

April 14, 2011

Feeling Especially Green OOTD

Mike and Chris dress
Nine West pumps
Banana Republic necklace

As I've been assembling the portfolio for my annual review (which feels both significant and intimidating), I've been quite literally tallying up my achievements for the academic year. In doing so, I can't help but feel a bit under-experienced and inadequate. I've tried my best to balance teaching with research and service but in this position teaching occupies the bulk of my time and energy. I was glad to have a few publications accepted with minor revisions along the way. I was fortunate to find the time to present at a national conference. But I didn't have a lot of time to apply for post-docs, travel-to-collections grants, or the types of research awards that I pursued actively as a graduate student. When I stack up my achievements I can't help but feel as though I'm not measuring up to a standard I set for myself long ago. Hopefully this summer (when I won't be teaching) I will find time and ways to compensate. But in the meanwhile, I worry that my levels of production are not what I intended for them to be in the first year of my first tenure track job. Is anyone else doing this right now? How do you fight the inevitable annual review blues (especially when you know state budgets mean you won't be getting any additional compensation for the following year)?

April 13, 2011

Blooming Bulbs Dress Review

When I saw the photorealist image printed on the Blooming Bulbs fabric, I immediately grabbed it for the dressing room. I wasn't crazy about the shape of the dress but I am a sucker for interesting prints. Knowing that the shape was not going to be forgiving through the hips, I grabbed a size 10. It fit fine but the print wasn't enough to save this dress for me. The fabric is substantial and the dress is lined, but the shape did nothing for my figure. The fabric's finish is a slightly shiny cotton with a bit of stretch. Still, if you are curvy it makes sense to size up!

April 12, 2011

How high is too high for a clumsy gal?

I admit I am not the most graceful person, regardless of the shoes I wear. But I try not to tempt the fates by wearing impossibly high heels on a frequent basis. I'm comfortable hovering (or perhaps teetering) between 2 and 3 inches. I do have my new-to-me Chloé oxfords, but the sturdy wooden heel and one inch hidden platform make them a bit more manageable. Despite my clumsiness, the above are on their way to me. They are another pair of oxfords I've coveted for some time, from L.A.M.B. Although I am not certain that I will be able to pull them off for day to day, I got them for so little money that I am gong to try.

It's not broke OOTD

Manoush dress
Hue tights
Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes

Last week I wore this old dress in almost exactly the same way I did when I first began my blog in April 2008. It was in the middle of the month, just chilly enough to still need tights.

I still wish this dress would be capable of looking as crisply ironed as it can at the beginning of the day...

BTW, Please excuse the boxes in my office! They're installing new carpet over summer so I have to pack everything for storage.

April 11, 2011

Mapping D'armee OOTD

D'armee dress from Anthro
Cartography cardi from Anthro
Spanx heather brown tights
Gucci wedges
Gifted beaded necklace

Chris was kind enough to order me the khaki colored version of the D'armee dress. I coveted it for both nerdy reasons and for aesthetic reasons. It made an excellent birthday gift and I wore it to campus the next day with the cartography cardigan. Its multiple hues of green were emphasized by the olivey khaki of my dress and the forest leather of my shoes.

April 10, 2011

Quick and inexpensive jewelry storage

Since Consume or Consumed is approaching its fourth blogiversary, I've been revisiting some past posts and flickr outfit sets to see how my style has/hasn't changed. I noticed that one of the things I did with more regularity in the past was rotate from a wider swath of jewelry. After contemplating why I was so set in the ways of my recent accessories rotation, I determined that if I can't easily access or see it, I forget about it.

Roxy from Effortless Anthropologie inspired me to correct the matter with some transparent/translucent and stacking/vertical storage options. We have no Container Stores in Pittsburgh so I went to Michael's. While there, I found divided tackle box type bins for beads on sale for just $1. I bought a few along with the stackable twist offs and started organizing. Above are my favorite vintage brooches. Hopefully it will help to have them organized this way instead of tucked underneath necklaces and bracelets in my jewelry boxes!

April 09, 2011

Kate Spade Friends and Family Haulage

How nice of the folks at Kate Spade to time their Friends and Family event so closely to my birthday, when I have spare gift funds and an urge to indulge! Thanks to Roxy from Effortless Anthropologie, I was given a heads up for this event in advance of the email. I picked out what I wanted before the 25% off coupon code, FFSPR11 went active and snagged both items.

I had long coveted the Journal Bon Shopper tote bag, with its newspaper classified ads print. I study the history of media and although print has become something of an embattled industry, I am an avid newspaper reader, receiving home delivery of the New York Times and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. When I saw this tote, I immediately wanted it. As much as I love the book clutches, a tote bag fits my 'carry everything' lifestyle. To paraphrase Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, you never know when you may have to jam! The best part is that my tote was already on sale so I got 25% off the sale price!

I also snagged the Calista floral print shirt dress on sale. As much as I coveted the Violetta, (blogged here) the color combo and shape evoked a formal version of my Two Wheeler shirt dress. And its discount was not as steep as I need, even with 25% off. The Calista is unlike anything I own, with its all over carnation flower print. I haven't met a flower I didn't like but I really love carnations. To celebrate holidays when I was a kid, my dad would always give me carnations. My mom would get roses and I would get carnations. Although this flower can be controversial, I've always loved that memory. Can't wait to see these pieces in person!

For guys Jack Spade friends and family is on too. Use code JACK25. But you have to move fast because these codes expire tonight at 11:59 PST. Are you buying anything?


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