Shopping for business clothes using Black Friday sales

We’re all friends here, right? Can I just share that my shopping victory of the weekend was finding a suit I want and will actually wear, in a tall size, for $115?! I know that’s steep, but it’s hard to find anything cheaper when it comes to suiting unless you are lucky enough to find one second hand. 

I accomplished this by using Black Friday sales to finally get some business clothes I’ve been eyeing. Yes, I know, the season of giving gifts to others, etc etc…but this is also a really good time to find business casual clothes at more affordable prices. 

Here are some picks from the J. Crew sale, which is 50% off almost everything. That makes J. Crew almost affordable! Above, the suit I bought (jacket $75, pants $40). Below, some other good choices: 

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J. Crew Sale Picks

I know there’s a bigger sale getting hype on the internet right now (every influencer in the world is blogging about it, rhymes with Pordstrom, no more hints), but I look forward to July because that seems to be the time J. Crew puts their clearance on sale for an extra 50% off, aka the only time I buy their clothes. Here are some of my picks if you’re looking for back-to-school teacher stuff:

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How to avoid looking like an undergrad in grad school

 

Is this a common grad school anxiety? I think it is. If you’ve come straight out of your undergrad, you probably want to look older so that you don’t get hit on by some guy in the dining hall line who asks, “so, are you a freshman?” (#truestory). Some ideas:

-Messenger bag or tote>backpack. Some suggestions.

-Mix one business casual piece in with your casual wear (in this case, oxfords).

-Sweat pants/workout clothes are awesome and you have every right to wear them but they may increase the risk of the aforementioned junior-guy-hits-on-you scenario.

-Glasses have been shown to boost your perceived credibility.

You could also just decide you don’t care if someone mistakes you for an undergrad! But on days when you do care, the above can be helpful.

Dress pants for people who hate dress pants

This may be a problem that other people don’t have, but I really hate dress pants. They just don’t feel like “me.” I think it’s the combined memories of wearing really lame suits to high school speech and debate tournaments and the fact that dress pants seem about 20 years behind the skinny denim trend that makes me feel such disdain. Unfortunately part of adulting is ??? needing to wear dress pants sometimes? Even in grad school? To deal with these moments, I’ve spent too much time and money in the last couple years trying, buying, returning, and browsing dress pants. Now I can say there are four pairs of dress pants I’m willing to wear & one more pair on my to-buy list. Here they are:

1) The least dress pant: Pixie pants by J. Crew

These are basically leggings in a dress pant fabric. They’re comfortable and feel really cool with a long tunic and sweater. Downside, I don’t like tucking things into them, I think the front of them is just too…leggings…to get away with it. But for teaching, I love them. 

2) The most dress pant: Loft Trousers

I’m not usually a fan of boot cut, but with heels these manage to look pretty sleek, while still definitely being a dress pant. Good for feeling sassy at conferences. 

3) Skinny dress pants: Essential skinny pant from Loft

If you can’t get over the boot cut thing, like me, and still want something that qualifies as a really nice dress pant, this pair from Loft is my favorite favorite. They look high quality and still trendy. Also, they come in a tall and a petite inseam. Hurray!

4) EXTREME BARGAINS: Old Navy Pixie pant

Because we’re in grad school and $35 dress pants are the best. Also, comes in crazy fun patterns so that you can look like the cool teacher you are. 

5) Trendy AF: Everlane Culotte

Not sure these count as dress pants, but damn are they cool. Does anyone have them? I’ve been thinking about taking the $68 plunge for a while. I think these might be good “it’s summer and hot but I still need to wear pants I GUESS” pants.

This concludes all the pants I’ve scoped out to address dress-pant phobia. I’ll be back tomorrow with how I style them. In the meantime, what other dress pants do you all like? 

Shopping J. Crew winter clearance for business wear

Shopping the J. Crew Sale

Every December/July J. Crew does a 50% off sale on clearance items. This is the only time I buy anything from them, and has helped me to slowly build a professional teaching wardrobe. Here are some of my favorites this time around:

1- Sweater (I bought this in cabernet for $30 yesterday)

2- Velvet blazer

3- Cashmere sweater (I will probably save up for a couple months and make this my next big purchase…additionally, Steinmart has cashmere sweaters for $35 right now. Run, I say!)

4- Dress pants (I love that these come in fun colors, I might buy these in blue)

6- Necklace (J. Crew is my go-to for I-am-presenting-at-this-conference-and-I-need-a-power-necklace)

7- Flats

8- Dress

What to wear to academic conferences

What to wear to an academic conference, pt. 4.

This year I’m presenting on the last day of the conference. These J. Crew skinnies look nice but will be comfy when I head straight to the airport. This is my last day of outfit planning for an academic conference. Real embarrassing ootd shots from the conference itself coming soon!

Shirt- Loft

Pants- J. Crew

Wedges- Nordstrom Rack, old (similar)

Bag- Thrifted (similar)

Teacher style: fancy cut, casual fabric.

One way to make your wardrobe work for teaching and the rest of your grad school life is to find crossover pieces. This dress has a semi-fancy cut (waist definition, pockets!) but is a nice comfy cotton, so I wear it to teach or dress it down with my jean jacket to go to class. Fun fact: I bought this dress in Norway from this woman who worked in a clothing store because I wanted her to give me some contacts for my research. She did not pick up what I was laying down, and thought I bought the dress because I was trying to ask her out. #hazardsofresearch 

Dress: Like I said, Norwegian. Some similar options from Old Navy: 1, 2, 3

Shirt: Madewell

Shoes: Pikolinos, Nordstrom Rack score (similar)

Backpack: Herschel (backpack round up coming soon!)