Teaching when it’s hot out

I’m participating in No Shop June this month, a genius instagram challenge for people who can’t fight the urge to walk through the mall, so I’ve been trying to work with what I’ve got to make outfits I enjoy. I’m prepping for a course I am teaching in July, so this is perfect timing, because something about teaching a new semester always makes my brain say “hey, stop editing that syllabus and go check out the Loft website.”

So today I’m bringing you the first of several outfits I’ve thought up for the dilemma of summer teaching: that it is too damn hot out and my classroom has no AC and I’m supposed to look professional. Here’s my first formula: sweater tank and skinny pants.

I looooove this tank. I got it in the Everlane choose what you pay sale (it’s still there!) so for my first outfit with it, I kept it simple with my J. Crew pixie pants, which are basically leggings in a dress pant fabric. I think I’ll make this sweater nerd-tastic in the future by putting a button up under it. I’ll probably wear this on my first day because it makes me feel fierce.

I’ll be back another day with more options. For now, this challenge is keeping me off my favorite online shopping sites!

How do you keep your relationship strong in grad school?

image

(Or any stressful work environment, really…). I’m still looking for good answers to this question but am super thankful for my amazing boyfriend, who puts up with my babbling about school and paper ideas, and the fact that I am exhausted pretty much all the time. Recently, I discovered the idea of novelty dates. Because I’m a grad student I was excited by the science that says that couples that go on dates frequently do not experience as much relationship satisfaction as couples who go on dates to new places frequently, because the feeling of novelty activates the same feelings that exist in new love.

With that in mind, I basically got to work making a list of new things for Trevor and I to do. So far, we’ve gone to a pottery class, hiked in a new location, gone to a fantastic plant sale, tried a new breakfast spot, and browsed a new record store. I don’t think I can comment on the brain science yet, but 1) it’s been really fun, and 2) making a list and actively making a plan to go on new dates has stopped us from just staying in and continuing to binge The Wire (which we still enjoy, of course).

I’m going to keep adding to our list. Do you have any fun novelty date ideas?

More color, please!

This season marks my three year anniversary of dressing using a capsule wardrobe, and I have no idea how I got dressed before I made the change! If you don’t know what a capsule is, it’s based on the idea that too many clothing options lead to decision fatigue, and dressing with less options will maximize your wardrobe. Caroline, over at Un-Fancy, suggests 37 pieces, and the idea is that they should all focus on a similar style and color palette. Here’s a get started guide if you’re interested. 

When I first got a capsule, I was in love with allll the colors (teal, seafoam, lavender, blues, red, pinks, yellows….to name a few), and I basically quit color all together, because I realized that if you buy only neutrals everything matches. Lately I’ve been missing color, though, so I am working on incorporating more color into my capsules. Here are my picks for this spring and summer:

My ideas for how to bring color back into my life are pretty apparent in this pic:

-Select only a couple of colors

-Pick colors that pair well

-Focus on adding color with accessories 

-Steal Home Depot paint chips to keep myself on track (taping these up next to my closet has been helpful and reminded me of what colors I should focus on)

I’ve been enjoying this tomato red and yellow so far. Here’s a link to my pretty yellow sandals, red purse, and all the bandanas

Conference packing, Spring edition

This week I am headed to a conference that poses a packing challenge because I am wrapping in 2 days of conference with 12 days of visiting my parents in Phoenix. This called for some extreme minimalism: 2 shirts, dress pants, 2 pairs of shoes, and a sweater.

I blogged recently about my hatred of dress pants, and the good news is I’ve found a pair I like a lot at Loft. I actually managed to make a conference outfit that feels like “me” this time around, also, which is progress because I really don’t enjoy business casual clothes.

I’ve started to think more seriously about building a business casual capsule wardrobe as well. I won’t be on the job market for another year, but I’m a slow shopper so I would like to get a start on this now. As part of a capsule wardrobe, I like to pick 4-5 colors and focus on buying clothes in those colors so everything matches (this makes packing for anything AMAZING!).

However, I’m not really sure what colors to go with on this. I would love to do black/camel as my neutral bases and blush (pictured here) and burgundy as accents. However, I can’t deny that I tend to gravitate toward navy and grays also. But, because I’m going to start with a small business wardrobe I think I should start with more limited colors. (PS: I just got these Sam Edelman flats and they are the most comfortable flats I’ve ever owned. Conference MVPs for sure).

What do you think? What colors would you go with? If you’ve built a business capsule, do you have any advice about what items to start with?

hi, I just wanted to say your blog is great :D and inspiring when you write about attending conferences and “adulting” in general. I was procrastinating looking at clothes and you got me motivated to get back to studying for exams, so thanks ;)

Thank you!! Adulting is hard. Let’s work on it together! I’m actually packing for a conference right now so more pics coming soon!

What items in your wardrobe are worth waiting for?

Talking unicorn items today…you know, the things that you have picked out in your head and you wait and wait for them and then suddenly one day you’re out shopping and you find the one! I was wasting time while waiting for a brunch reservation in Kansas City when I wandered into the boutique next door (strategically open for hungry people like me, I’m sure!) and this shirt caught my eye. I had been wanting a white button up shirt for a while and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! It hangs really well and is a kind of athletic-y fabric that doesn’t wrinkle. Amazing. 

If only it were always this easy. Unfortunately, I’m a to-do list motivated person, which means I tend to pull the trigger way too soon on clothing items that are not perfect and then realizing my mistake once the tags are already off. I’ve decided the key to waiting for the right clothing item to come along is to shop for dream items really casually–I keep a list in my phone of things I’m on the look out for. Currently:

-White shirt (found it! Spendy but here if you are also on the hunt)

-Moto jacket

-Overalls (nearly impossible because I’m so tall)

I try to keep the descriptions really loose so that I’m open to trying lots of things on. For example, I don’t really have a color or fabric in mind for the moto jacket, I figure I’ll just know when I find one I’m in love with. And then I can donate the two that are currently sitting in my closet that I don’t love. Whoops. 

Dressing down the pencil skirt

If you return to grad school after working an office job for a couple years you might have this conundrum: how do you style all the great business clothes you accumulated? I still have two nice suits sitting in the back of my closet, guilting me because they’re not getting enough use. So today I’m here to focus on how I dress down my dress clothes, starting with the pencil skirt. 

image

My formula for dress clothes tends to be pairing one fancy piece with a bunch of other casual clothes. So today, I went with a chambray button up and lace up sandals. I do the same things with suit jackets (with a t-shirt plus jeans). I also like buying things that look like dress clothes but are super comfy, for example, pull on pencil skirts! (Like this one I’m wearing, and this one, which doesn’t have side slits).  

Do you have any clothes that suddenly seem too fancy? If so, what are your strategies to make them work? 

What I learned from wearing the same 10 items of clothing for 10 days.

Phew, the 10×10 challenge is over. I’m really happy to be back to my full wardrobe, but the challenge did have its perks. In no particular order:

1) i felt way stylish every day. When I get dressed in the morning, I tend to style things in the safest way I can, probably because I’m tired and not thinking ahead. But with only 10 items to work with, I had to start pairing clothes in ways that weren’t my first choice, which is how I learned that culottes + a long cardigan sounds excessive but actually feels pretty cool!

image

2) Less choices is just better. Having a limited color scheme may seem boring, but it also makes getting dressed a no brainer, because everything goes together. I picked black and white, blush, and navy as my colors and I felt like I could do no wrong in whatever I paired. 

3) I should totally do this every season before I go shopping. I think from now on I’ll pick the ten things I’m most excited to wear for the season and use them all to get dressed for at least a week before I go shopping. This challenge definitely helped me identify holes in my wardrobe (more sandals!) and now I feel more confident in the colors and styles I should be looking for. 

4) Start with accessories. As someone who is not very naturally accessory-inclined, picking accessories that all coordinated and building outfits around them was a fast way to get dressed in the morning. Here were a few of my picks:

5) Making internet friends in the best! Seriously had so much fun commenting on everyone’s outfits on Instagram and got a bunch of good ideas from others. If you participated in the challenge, thanks for your inspiration! ❤ If you want to do your own 10×10 challenge, check out Style Bee’s guide, and maybe see you in a summer or fall challenge!