February 29, 2012

Profesh Professor

DVF Bilboa
J Crew silk top
Spanx tights
Rosegold booties
Redraven necklace
Kors watch and misc. bracelets

Lately, I've needed outfits that can transition from day to night, from the classroom to the colloquium, and from office hours to on campus interviews. I've been really excited about serving on a search committee this term. The process is incredibly educational but one silly downside is that I am exhausting all my professional outfits at once. More so than ever before I find myself needing ensembles that still "look like me" but also make sense across many professional scenarios. This is a pretty plain outfit but I made the slightly-too-deep-to-be-acceptable cowl of the dress manageable with a ruffly camisole.

I am starting to wonder if I should finally buy a pantsuit?

February 28, 2012

Newest DVF acquisition

DVF Greer (with altered sleeves)

This cute Diane von Furstenberg dress was "RAOK'd" to me thanks to two generous ladies on Fashionism. One passed it along to another who passed it on to me (due to length). The style is called "Greer" and it is a shorter length wrap than the "Jessica" but still longer than "Renny." This particular Greer is a bit on the short side and runs smaller than my other one (worn here). For size reference, I am wearing a 10 which is my usual DVF wrap size. I love the vibrant print. I think it might replace Green Hearts Leaves Justin as my St. Patrick's Day wrap. And because I feel so grateful (and fortunate) for this generous gift, I definitely need to comb my closet to find something that will enable me to to RAOK-it-forward.

February 27, 2012

Red all over

Tibi dress
Spanx tights
Bracelets from Target, Gabes, Kate Spade

An argument for taking my nice camera to campus can be found above. The blur is ridiculous. And it is part of why I've slowed down my rate of outfit posts. Of course the real reason I haven't been able to post as much is because of my work responsibilities at the moment. But the outfit photos and the deteriorated quality connects with that. This outfit is from Valentine's Day. I am that far behind on blog stuff. 

At work I have less "down" time than ever before so I take two quick photos that I barely review and call it a day... Perhaps taking my nice camera to campus would ensure that those two photos had a stronger chance of being decent? I am still getting the hang of the camera, its settings, and its accessories. But that might be a good goal to set for the not so distant future?

You can't see it but I am wearing the pretty bib necklace I bought from Redraven Studios. It sort of matched the print perfectly. But it also didn't allow the necklace to be showcased. After I wore this I paired the necklace with plainer dresses so the necklace could be the focal point.

February 22, 2012

Recent "Outer-wares"

Sometimes I photograph my complete cold weather ensembles because I am such a sucker for a good coat. Despite my archival efforts, I don't always share the visual results on the blog. I tend to wear coats in rotations because they vary in weight and suit different patterns of weather. Some of my boldest coats don't transition across a range of outfits easily. I've noticed that those ones end up being worn less overall. But once I've pulled something and grabbed gloves and scarves to match, my laziness takes over and it becomes the default outerwear for a week or longer.

For Valentine's Day I remembered to wear this Zara coat from 2007.


The bright red can be a tough match because my wardrobe relies heavily on vibrant prints. But I managed to wear it quite a bit.

This week I've been wearing my black and ivory MBMJ coat from 2008 (bought on ebay in 2009-10).


On the coldest weeks I've relied on this old staple which is my warmest coat.


It is another Marc by Marc Jacobs coat but from 2005ish? I bought it in 2007 (also from ebay).

Lastly, I've been wearing my new Burberry coat which photographed kind of poorly but I think is pretty darn cool.


Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where such an arsenal is unnecessary. But I am glad for the seasonal variety because of my love for coats!


February 21, 2012

Four Corner Shirtdress Review


After seeing the Four Corner Shirtdress make its rounds on some of my favorite blogs (see it on IPoPT), I was excited to try this cute little number. The asymmetry of the hemline gave it interesting dimension. And the price point seemed more reasonable than other recent releases. But I knew from having purchased a rarely-worn Reed Shirtdress in the bright orangey red that I would be less likely to buy such a bright piece. I was glad to see it also came in black. I grabbed an 8 and headed to the dressing room. I think this dress cut into my shoulders in a less-than-flatter manner. But otherwise I really liked the dress. It was roomy enough so I would say it runs large (on the true to size side of things for this style of dress). I wish it had more of a sleeve but it's nothing that can't be remedied with clever layering. I like the contrasting buttons and the cute feminine collar. It also had pockets and the kinds of subtle details that made me come to favor Anthropologie in the first place.

This dress has potential and might even make it onto my sparse and dwindling wishlist. I wish it came in another bright color. I have enough black dresses and that orange red is not a shade I frequently wear. A cooler green or blue would make me far more likely to buy this one. In the meanwhile, with the sleeve issues I had I am going to wait and reconsider.

February 20, 2012

Recent outfit

See by Chloe dress
Jewelry: gifts, mbmj, Linea Pelle, KJL

I wore this to campus for teaching on my long day. One of my courses meets once a week so everything is condensed. By the end of the day I am usually pretty spent. And I've learned that it makes sense to wear flats if I will be on my feet a lot. This was comfortable but I also felt pulled together enough.

I am pretty sure February will go down in history as my most busy month. Committee work, course prep from teaching two new ones this term, grant applications, and my own publication deadlines amount to very little sleep. But things are going well and it is a good learning experience.  Thanks for reading!

February 19, 2012

Saks Liquidation Dress Reviews

Because some of these will surely wind up in outlets and on ebay, I think it makes sense to do a few fit reviews. As of last weekend these were all in stock at the Pittsburgh location, in multiple sizes. I imagine by now things have been marked down further.


My favorite dress I tried on and the only one that tempted me remotely to buy was this striped sweater dress from See by Chloé. I didn't buy it. The price was still a little steep and the wool knit was more itchy than I prefer for a sweater dress. This is size large and I love how the sleeve stripes aligned with the rest of the dress. If it is still there next time I visit, I might reconsider.


They had a few DVF dresses in the above shirtdress style but the prices were still high in my opinion. This was my favorite print of the options. I am wearing an 8 petite and I definitely needed a 10 or a regular 8. The silk jersey was pulling at the bust and hips.


This other SbC dress was made of a stretchy wool cotton blend. I liked the mod block shapes but didn't like the fit. They had a bunch of these in all sizes. Here I am wearing an 8 and needed a 10 for my hips and bust.

February 17, 2012

The bad luck outfit

By Malene Birger dress
Aqua cashmere cardigan
Rosegold Liz booties
Kate Spade belt
Michael Kors watch and misc. bracelets from Target, Hiptique, and a flea market

This dress is one of those dresses that I coveted mostly because of how it looked laying flat, unfettered, and un-modeled on Net-a-Porter.



I should know by now that if a dress looks better lying flat versus being fitted onto lithe mannequins then it will probably be less than "flattering" on my non-lithe body. And on some level, of course I am aware of this. That doesn't mean that I will not be overtaken by irrationality on occasion (i.e. sale goggles). Besides, my theories about flattering are somewhat removed from "making a body look as small as possible." 

I pined over this dress back in 2008 but it never became discounted enough until it made its way to Outnet. Once on Outnet at 85% off, I pounced. When it arrived I realized that it needed to be altered for length. The combo of its volume and its length overwhelmed me. Done. I have to say that even though I've altered it and I truly love it in theory, it still hasn't been worn very much. Part of the reason is because I am in a total styling rut (especially when it comes to this dress). I wore it nearly the exact same way the last time it saw daylight (which I don't think I blogged but I could be wrong). And although I like repeats and monogamous dressing, if I can't figure out creative, new ways to style something it will be more likely to sit in my closet. For now it has a home but I think I need to branch out from the instinctive black pairings and try to wear it with color.

I welcome styling ideas and feedback!

*as an aside, I titled this a bad luck outfit because I proceeded to have a very bad luck day after I taught my first class. I don't care to relive it through language but as a slightly superstitious and overthinking person, it will take a failsafe occasion to remove some of the acquired bad vibes from this ensemble.

February 15, 2012

Dropped Dots Dress Review

Dropped Dots size 8

Dropped Dots size 10

I thought the Dropped Dots Dress was so pretty when I saw it hanging in my local Anthropologie. I was guided by the helpful sales associate to take a size up in addition to trying my regular dress size and this was good advice. I actually think I needed two sizes up because of a squeezy bodice on my curvy body. Although I could technically "fit" into the 8, it was not at all comfortable and it looked way too tight. The 10 also felt a bit tight around the bust. The problem with the bodice fit is that the very forgiving and poofy skirt became too forgiving and too poofy as I sized up. This one is just not meant for my figure. It's a pretty dress with a beautiful deeper v in the back. But the tricky fit is enough to make me pass. I'm having the worst luck at Anthropologie lately. Good for my bank account at least!

Other important details about the dress. I thought it should have had pockets but if I am remembering correctly, it didn't. I also found the fabric to be a bit too thick for summer which is a bummer. The skirt is not lined but the dress is from the waist up. For a few more reviews of this dress, see it on Roxy, Carol, and Dea.

February 14, 2012

Quick snaps from my locavore Valentine's Day

Pretty flowers and cookies from Enrico Biscotti thanks to my valentine

Although I don't have an outfit photo uploaded yet, trust that as a schoolteacher's daughter I wore something festive. I'll show you as soon as I can. In the meanwhile, I wanted to share some other Valentine cheer. Chris and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. But he still had some flowers and sweets for me this morning. My favorite cookies in the city are the chocolate covered macaroons at Enrico's in the Strip District. One is plenty so four is ridiculous. But they'll find a good home I'm sure.  The flowers weren't local but a friend who does arranging at Whole Foods always makes the prettiest bouquets full of purple flowers (my favorite color).

I also wanted to share my most recent purchase. I bought this beautiful bib necklace directly from Amy, the designer and artist behind Redraven Studios (who's pieces are sold at Anthropologie as well as Pavement and other boutiques around the country). We met up at the Bloomfield Crazy Mocha so that we could talk about her work for an interview. I didn't realize we had already met through a mutual friend until she arrived. It was a good reminder that Pittsburgh can be such a small town in the best way! I was excited to buy a piece of jewelry directly from her. It was my self-present in honor of Galentine's Day.


I am also eager to share what I learned from the interview once it is ready. In the meanwhile, I hope you had great Galentine's and Valentine's Days!

February 13, 2012

Pittsburgh Saks Liquidation Update


So by now you know that we're losing our Saks Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. An external liquidation firm is handling the process of turning over stock. And additional materials were consolidated from other stores, prior to being shipped to outlet locations. Currently, contemporary stock is 40% off. And there is an additional 10% off the 60-65% off merchandise. There are brands not typically carried in Pittsburgh, including some See by Chloe dresses, some premier designer items from Pucci, Proenza Schouler, and more.

The handbags were pretty picked over as well as shoes (I saw one pair of these leopard Revas, some sky high Nicholas Kirkwood pumps, and other random odds and ends). Some small Tory Burch bags, a random MBMJ Hillier, and plenty of iPad cases remained. But plenty of boots, rainboots, and booties were left. There were a few Michael Kors watches and some neat jewelry pieces. For me, the most exciting stuff was in women's contemporary. I'll be back later this week with some clothing reviews from the sale.

They brought in additional sales associates through the liquidation firm, so the level of service ranges depending on how seasoned an employee you encounter. But because plenty of people are shopping the sales who may have rarely patronized regular Saks, it might not be noticeable. I did hear some of the more recent saks employees lamenting that they were tired of hearing "how sad" the closing sales felt for shoppers. I am sure this is the default guilt-induced interaction that many frequent and less-than-frequent patrons exhibit. There is something about the process that feels very much like pillaging or scavenging that yields (for me at least) that guilty shopper feeling. I personally only made such small talk earlier in the sale and limited to conversations with the sales associates who I've seen there for years. They were the ones who were eager to share their future plans and to whom I wanted to express my gratitude for services in the past.


February 12, 2012

Snowy Shopping OOTD

See by Chloe coat and dress
Missoni scarf
Aquatalia boots
Spanx tights

I headed to the Pittsburgh Saks liquidation yesterday before going to the grocery store to grab the components needed for dinner. This is what I wore. For curious Pittsburgh shoppers/readers, I'll have an update about the sale tomorrow.

Valentine's Day is approaching and I need to decide if I want to be a ham and wear red or not. I am leaning toward being festive. Chris and I don't really celebrate but as the daughter of a schoolteacher, I tend to enjoy dressing the part for holidays. What about you? Will you be wearing red or pink on Tuesday?

February 09, 2012

Outfit I should have steamed...

Marc by Marc Jacobs dress
Bracelets: Linea Pelle, MBMJ, Target

File this one under "things I wore into a dark enough bar that I promise it didn't matter that I was this wrinkled." I wore this to the Brillobox on one of the rare evenings when it actually snowed in January, 2012. I love being able to walk to the Brillobox from my home. Because of the weather, Chris and I expected it to be quiet, even on a Friday. Instead it was packed with other neighborhood dwellers and brave driving souls. I didn't notice how wrinkled this thick wool dress had become until I uploaded these photos from my point and shoot. I wore the boots because I am too clumsy to wear more fashionable knee boots when it is slick and icy. I'm glad I did! The very late walk home was beautiful and quiet (as the blanketed snow muffles the usual city sounds) but completely "slippy."

February 07, 2012

Mina Dress Review


I was drawn to the interesting print of the Mina Dress so I grabbed one on my way to the fitting room last week. The back has these pretty little cutouts at the shoulders and the price point seemed reasonable (compared with the more recent increases in prices for dresses at Anthropologie). I grabbed a medium. And while I wasn't crazy about the shape on me, as it turned up the frump a notch, I do think it could be saved with some clever styling. The cut outs in the back didn't expose my bra straps so that was good. It seems like it could be a fun throw-on-in-a-hurry number for summer. But I have enough of those and for the price, I think you can do better at a cheaper fast fashion retailer if you need that type of easy dress. The fit runs large. The length is slightly long on me (I'm 5'3"). I am pretty sure it came in another colorway with mostly blues and greens rather than orange and yellow. What do you think of this one?

While you're at it, check out the sale items for today! Unconditional Osier got a markdown. You can see my review here.

February 06, 2012

Wardrobe Rotations

J. Crew Factory Rosette cardi
Kate Spade Calista dress
Spanx tights
Nine West mary jane pumps
MBMJ Softy Max Satchel
Vintage necklace and gifted amber pendant

I wore this ensemble to teach and to attend some committee meetings on campus. Last April, I gravitated toward this dress because of the styling possibilities it could yield. But when I reached for it this week, I didn't experiment too much from my most recent pairing.

I've written before about how one of my favorite mundane aspects of my job is that you teach a new crop of people every term, giving your wardrobe the chance to debut to a fresh audience with a fair amount of frequency. Perhaps this is a silly thing to value and of course, you still see the same faculty and staff regardless. I also realize that many profs will likely encounter the same students multiple terms if they teach on a small campus or in a smaller department.

Still, I enjoy organizing a work wardrobe rotation structured around both the seasonal changes and the semester length. At the moment, I am teaching only two days a week so my wardrobe can stretch pretty far in this particular schema. On the days when I'm not in the classroom but still on campus, I tend to lean in the direction of casual comfort. And I usually forget to document those. But most of them are repeats you've already seen in various dressing room photos. They involve cords, sweaters, blouses, and flats/boots. Unfussy, boring, and just pulled together enough to pass muster.

How do you organize a wardrobe rotation for the workplace?

As an aside, this winter has been so mild that I've noticed my warmest options aren't necessary. I've only worn my warmest winter boots once. And it hasn't been too cold to need more than just tights with a dress/skirt. I feel like I'm waiting for the other snowshoe to drop!

February 03, 2012

Dive Bar Show

Missoni for Target spacedye polo dress
Drapey CK cardigan from TJ Maxx (similar)
Misc. bracelets

I tend to avoid bar shows in the bars here that still allow smoking* but every now and then it's worth the smelly hair and clothes. Last weekend, my friend Craig was celebrating a birthday AND Chris's band (called False Madrid) was playing their second show ever. And both events were held in a beloved but somewhat dank bar in Polish Hill, Gooskis. I don't go to Gooskis that often anymore but they have delicious pierogies, very cheap beers, and attentive bartenders. Everyone I know who goes there jokes about how some clothes are "Gooskis" clothes. For me the main requirement for Gooskis clothes is that they have to be machine-washable and relatively inexpensive. The above fit the bill! Do you have divey bar clothes?

*In the state of PA, if you derive less than 20% of your tavern income from food sales, you are exempt from the ban. Citation here.

February 01, 2012

Adopt-a-Wardrobe Sample Sale


Hey Pittsburghers, a friend of mine organized this very fun clothing sale that will be occurring this Saturday. She used to be a buyer for Modcloth and she has fantastic taste. Lovers of all things vintage and vintage-inspired should definitely check it out!

The location (which is not on the flier because it is being hosted in her home) is very convenient for East Enders, just two blocks from the Brillobox in Lawrenceville on Fisk Street. If you want the exact address, please let me know and I am happy to pass it along!

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