Help me pick an outfit: The dissertation defense outfit saga continues

Well, my dissertation is officially in the hands of my committee, with 3 weeks until I defend. I get the feeling I should be sipping a lot of white wine on patios for the next 3 weeks, but that is not where my head is at, and it feels really bad. I’ve been so focused on getting a job and finishing the dissertation all year and now that’s all just…done. Which means I now have a lot of time to worry about how I’ll do at said new job, which leads to me feeling bad I’m not doing a ton of unrealistically productive things (prepping new courses, watching every webinar ever on being a new faculty member, churning out publication submissions…).

In between all of those feels, though, I have found time to order and purchase 5 different defense outfits (all returnable, don’t worry…). Am I displacing all of my stress onto the Nordstrom Rack website? Maybe. Anyway. My order came in this week. Help me decide (so I don’t end up just repeating my comps defense outfit, above)?

Ignore my dirty bathroom counter. Ignore the bags under my eyes (it is April after all). Left or right! Quick! Decide!

My awesome grad school lady group text overwhelmingly picked the jumpsuit, which I do like, but I’m concerned that I’ll show up and it will be like “oh wow, you’re in a jumpsuit.” With either of these options, I would like some sort of sweater/blazer on top. But when I tried the jumpsuit on with my white blazer I felt sort of like a sailor. I tried some more styling options, below…

I liked this but my mom said it looked too “award show.” I don’t even understand that comment…
I’m leaving this picture here because I don’t like it, which I think demonstrates the value of taking pictures of clothes when you’re deciding whether or not to keep them. I think this dress is just not hitting me right in the waist.

I like the jumpsuit with the long cardigan but wonder if I should go more business for the defense. What would you do? Got any other styling ideas on either piece? Anyone wanna come over and tackle that big laundry pile for me?

3 thoughts on “Help me pick an outfit: The dissertation defense outfit saga continues”

  1. First: congratulations! You don’t have to sit on a patio drinking white wine, but please take several moments to bask in a well-earned sense of accomplishment and relief. Second: put on the outfit you like best, shut your eyes, and ask yourself “how do I feel?”. Inside, in your body, under your skin. If the answer is confident, poised, at ease, then you’re in the right outfit. The goal is to wear something you can completely forget in the moment. No one else will remember what you’re wearing on the day – they’ll just remember your brilliance. Knock ‘em dead.


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