Tuesday, August 17, 2010

High School Lessons: Look Good, Feel Good


Earlier Drafts:
I wore this dress by itself here, and this outfit is basically a replica of this one I wore earlier in the summer.

eyeglasses (Kate Spade)
royal blue v-neck tee (American Eagle)
gold tone chain necklace with brown beads (H&M)
brown cotton jersey dress (Old Navy)
gold tone bangle (Ann Taylor Outlet)
tan heeled sandals (Born Concept via Marshall's)

My favorite high school English teacher is the first person I can remember who told me that what I wear might make a difference in how I think about myself.  She did so by encouraging us to dress up on test days.  The advice, as I recall it, went something like this: "I know you kids like to wear 'comfortable' clothes when you sit down to take a test, but studies show that people who dress up on test days feel better about themselves and thus perform better on the tests."  I don't know what "studies" she was talking about, and it's entirely possible that she made that up, but I have come to adopt the principle behind her statement as truth anyway.  Most of us who blog about our style choices ascribe to some version of the "Look Good, Feel Good" mentality, and I can certainly make the connection to how dressing "up" for an exam could help one maximize one's ability to perform well on said exam.  We all dressed up for our high school teacher's exams (maybe we thought she'd grade us down or something?) but I've also been dressing up for exams ever since.

Today I was tempted to show up to class in shorts and a t-shirt (I told you, I'm getting used to this casual thing!), but instead I challenged myself to put together a new, "pulled together" ensemble because it was a test day in my German class.  I realize royal blue and brown as a color combination are not particularly modern or exciting, but since I have brown hair and blue eyes, I always think of these colors as ones which "go" with one another.  Plus, I had to wear a top dark enough and the right shape to cover up the dress underneath.  And while this isn't a very "dressed up" outfit for me in the grand scheme of my dressing history, I have been avoiding all accessories lately due to the heat, so putting on the belt, necklace, and bangle made the outfit feel polished and made me feel test-ready.  (Though the bangle came off as soon as I started trying to write.  How DO you ladies manage to get through the whole day with bracelets on?!)

And since Katie bravely acknowledged the presence of some insecurities yesterday, I want to follow her lead by talking briefly about my hair.  Another thing I liked about this ensemble is that it actually worked my hair into its cohesive look-- I think my mane of brown waves work with the brown belt and skirt on bottom to create an interesting frame for the blue tee.  I've been trying all summer to embrace these waves, even though their unruliness runs contrary to the put-together-ness I normally associate with myself.  But some days I'm just not buying it, and I want to revert to my old blow-dry-then-straighten hair frying ways.  I'd consider this a "good hair day," but some days I grow so frustrated with all this hair that I'm tempted to shear it all off and return to a chic short do a la Anne-Marie.

  • Is there any advice you got in high school that you still follow to this day?  Why do you think it has endured?
  • Do you find that you feel more on top of your game mentally and emotionally when you look "put together," or do you feel just fine in whatever you're wearing?
  • Do you want to share your own hair woes?  Feel free.  I promise you that any thought you've had about your own hair, I've already had about mine.
  • Have you submitted a look to the In Professorial Fashion Wonder Woman Pose Conference yet?  I'm trying to show you my best WW pose here on the left--  what blue eyed brunette doesn't sometimes want to channel her inner Lynda Carter? (When I was a kid, I used to punch out the bottom of disposable cups and slip them over my hands to make WW wristbands.)  If you haven't checked out IPF, please do-- in addition to D-Med and A-Dubs who frequently comment here (thanks ladies!) they just introduced E-Jo, who poses with her dachshund! : )


Martha said...

In middle school I had an interesting, to say the least, fashion sense. (It was the 80s!) My english teacher was the first person who gave me this advice: dress for the position you want to have. She knew my aspiration was not to be Madonna, but rather the President.

Anonymous said...

I love the blue with the brown - that vibrant blue is a fantastic shade on you! And I love the advice that your teacher gave you. I believe that it's true for many situations in life.

Katie from Interrobangs Anonymous said...

I think your hair is gorgeous. GORGEOUS. The hair advice I would share is: (1) try using a sulfate-free shampoo (or, like me, no shampoo at all!) and (2): try using a silicone-free conditioner. Those two moves combined really free up your hair to do its own thing, and you'd be surprised how gorgeous that can be. Oh, and if you can get your hands on a satin pillowcase, that also works wonders.

Oh, one final piece of advice: Wear that color blue often. Tis verily perfect on you!

Scholar Style Guide said...

Martha, that's great advice! Though I think middle schoolers should have some freedom to dress crazily-- better to go through the blue eyeshadow stage at 12 than 24, right?

Thanks Sara!

Katie: I promise I have approached the curly hair project as any good academic would: I researched every piece of advice out there. I even tried washing with conditioner after you said you did it, and maybe it's my sweaty workout habit, but it was just not working for me (though I've considered the "no-poo" stuff they sell and might still try it). I have been using sulfate free shampoo and silicone free conditioner. I wonder if I am completely negating those, though, by using a styling creme that seems to have silicone in it. I truly cannot leave the house without some kind of product in my hair, because my hair's not really curly, it's just kind of wavy and super frizzy. So if anyone can suggest any styling product that will help enhance the curls and tame the frizz without making my hair crunchy (as all gels and mousses I've tried do), I will be forever indebted! Plus, truth be told, I need a trim before I blame too much on the hair itself. It's been a long time.

But thanks for the compliments, anyhow. : )


Michelle said...

Re: curly products, do give the DevaCurl line a shot. Also, my new favorite styling product is the Living Proof No Frizz styling cream at Sephora. No crunchiness at all, no buildup.

E-Jo said...

I echo the previous commenters as that blue looks really great on you.

I've got no hair advice as mine's been pulled back for the last 3 months as I can't deal with it in the humidity. Mine's short-ish now and I have found that actually having it a little longer is better in the humidity. Not only is it easier to pull back but the weight seems to help.

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I think you have lovely hair! And I think our conceptions of "unruly hair" have series patriarchal underpinnings.

I'm currently growing my pixie out, which is making for some interesting helmet hair after my bike rides into campus. Fortunately, I have a comb stashed in my office.

I love the brown and blue combo! But where's your best brown puppy dog accessory?!?!

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

Curly Hair--I've tried them all! I have relatively curly, thick hair, but the texture is a bit fine. For this type of hair, never touching it with a comb or brush is best. If you want it curlier, B&B curl shampoo/conditioner really works. I am currently using Paul mItchell color care, and that works pretty good, and is a fraction of the price of the B&B! As far as styling products, I actually love the Paul Mitchell Round Trip! AFter years of trying to find a good hair product, I found this one, and it's pretty cheap! I sometimes use it with the Creme as well, and lately a couple drops of the new Awapuhi Ginger oil, which has a most amazing smell and is not heavy. With these products, your curly hair has some control, but with no crunchy feel. The less you touch it the better!

Good luck!!

Brooke said...

I have that same shirt (in that fabulous shade and a few others)!! I love it. I would never consider pairing a tee shirt with a dress, but your wear it so nicely I never would have guessed that you had a dress on instead of a skirt. I really like this look.