Teaching when it’s hot out, pt. 2

Happy almost July! I start teaching in 12 days so I’m obviously gearing up by planning my first week of outfits instead of the first day of class (#syllabusday).

The joys of teaching 5 days a week in July are…none. It’s really hot out. I usually teach 3 days a week. Now I can’t repeat outfits as frequently. But I can repeat outfit formulas over and over again, and that’s exactly what I plan to do by doing vest + sundress combos.

Vests are so magical. I didn’t own any until last year when I realized that they make everything look somehow pulled together without causing me to overheat. Now I’m a vest enthusiast. Here I’ve picked out one of my many Old Navy sundresses (so cheap! so plentiful! come in tall sizes when you’re trying to look professional!) and paired it with a vest from Target.

I hope your summers are the perfect combination of productive and unproductive so far!

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!

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. 

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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!

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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!

Spring 10×10

Day 3 of Spring 10×10: Today is a teaching day, but my students are doing an in-class workshop, which equals JEANS WHILE TEACHING! in my opinion. Colorado is a pretty casual place so I think teaching in jeans is okay, but I’m not sure this is true at other universities/in other regions. Does anyone teach somewhere where you are always business casual?

Today, I cheated. These shoes are not part of my 10 picks. But I realized that gray and tan is not a good combo and I needed some shoes with a cooler base to make it work. I really like this outfit, though–it feels pulled together even though I didn’t really do anything, besides pick things with cool textures while shopping.

Spring 10×10 picks

Starting the Style Bee/Un-Fancy Spring 10×10 style challenge on Monday. If you have lots of clothes and feel like mixing them up is difficult, you should join! Pick 10 wardrobe items and style them into 10 outfits over the next two weeks. Here’s what I’ve got: jeans, culottes, a sun dress, three shirts, two sweaters, boots, and sandals. My wardrobe is very black and white right now so I tried to pick some stuff to lighten it up.

Everlane pieces I’m thinking about using my tax return on

Does anyone else get excited about filing taxes? As a grad student, my comedic level of income leads to the govt saying “oh wow, you are really poor” and giving me a lot of money back. Money that I should have gotten in the first place by changing my paycheck withholding rate, but those are always a mystery to me, and I kind of like the surprise money that comes around in the spring. Considering tax refunds a “surprise” is not very adult of me. Anyway. I’m saving most of my refund this year, but am thinking of getting one investment piece for teaching/the job market. Here are a few of my ideas. Help!

Everlane cashmere crew sweater: Cashmere just screams “I AM A RESPONSIBLE ADULT WITH A SWEATER SHAVER” to me. I know that $100 is a good price for cashmere, but it still hurts. This is the only time of year I have that much $$ lying around, so maybe now is the time. Now, to decide on a color…

Relaxed silk shirt: Listen, I watched The Fall, and am now convinced that Gillian Anderson is a bad ass feminist detective mostly because she is herself but also because she owns like 20 white silk shirts. Because I am not at put-together as her, I’m thinking blue or black to hide the inevitable coffee spills. Cost: $88.

Sleeveless: A slightly cheaper option. Would look great under sweaters. Extremely useful if your classroom is as hot as mine. $65

Cocoon coat: The biggest splurge, but coats always end up being great investment pieces for me. I left Phoenix at age 18 and haven’t lived anywhere warm since 😦 Cost: $265. Also looking at a cheaper option from Land’s End because the quality is great and they make tall sizes. 

Bonus sensible pumps in a fun light blue color. What investment pieces are you eyeing?