Monday, October 25, 2010

Minor Miracle


black beaded headband (NY&Co)
white button down (SJP's Bitten for now defunct Steve and Barry's)
black cardigan (H&M)
black faux patent belt (H&M)
black dress with white embroidery, worn as skirt (Ann Taylor)
black tights (NY&Co)
black wedges (Lauren by Ralph Lauren)

This past Thursday I stood in front of my clothes and thought "Okay, closet, all I need from you today is a minor miracle."  I hadn't been feeling well.  Grading took up a lot of my time last week, so I wasn't fully prepared for the class I had to teach that day or the one I had to attend.  I had no idea what to wear, and I felt like my creative energy was sapped, but I knew I needed something that would get my day headed in a better direction.  Then it occurred to me that I could wear this dress as a skirt, even though the top doesn't fit well anymore.  I love the look of this outfit, but the dress also has a lot of sentimental value for me, so wearing it made me smile.  And then other things started to come together, too.

I realized I was in the midst of a good hair day.  I only had one activity planned for the class I teach, but that meant I had time to sit down with each student to go over their ideas for the next paper.  A few kids got to leave very early, but I think that overall, the class turned out to be much more beneficial than I'd anticipated.  I still felt braintired for my own class, and I was disappointed that I wasn't really able to participate... but I was there.  By the time I got home from a long day, I felt much worse.  For a few hours, though, I'd felt like myself, and that had begun with the outfit.

This weekend I came across this post from Katie at Interrobangs Anonymous, in which she shared this quote: 
Sometimes, she reflected, she dressed for courage, sometimes for success, and sometimes for the consolation of knowing that whatever else went wrong, at least she liked her clothes. – Emma Bull, War for the Oaks
Katie suggests that this aligns with her own dressing philosophy, and I thought to myself: yes, that is pretty much exactly right.  I do a lot of talking and thinking about clothing, and what it means to me, and what it means to everyone else, and I think that is all important.  Most days, though, it basically boils down to this: what can I put on that will make me feel like the best version of myself for today?  Most everything I do can be boiled down to this, really.  I'm trying to be the best version of me that I can every day, and sometimes when I feel like I've dropped far below that standard, clothing helps me to reach back up.

  • Do you ever ask for minor miracles from your closet?  Does it come through for you?
  • Does the quote IA Katie shared about clothing resonate as strongly for you as it does for me?
  • What are some things you do to try ratchet up your attitude or your performance on days that you're feeling a bit "off"?


La Historiadora de Moda said...

I'm sure your students loved you for that! I hope you have a better week this week, Liz! Hang in there! The middle of the term is always tough for balancing your teaching responsibilities with your own scholarly work.

I love the dress as skirt!

Miss. Studios said...

Liz, there are lots of black going on! I love them all. I like your v-neck sweater + white shirt combo. Hang in there! Do you have fall break or something like that? It seems like we all need a break.

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

Alright, lady, time to spill your shirts over dresses layering techniques. I'm amazed at how you keep pulling it off without there being any weird shapes or bulges. Do you fold the top of the dress down so you can tuck the shirt in? Do you fold the bottom of the shirt up so it doesn't show under the bottom of the cardigan? Do you just own really short shirts?

Mom said...

I love this look! What a great way to use the dress in the winter.....

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks for the encouragement, LHdM! This is my first try at balancing the two, and it's hard because everyone acts like my own work should come first, but I really enjoy teaching, so.... some weeks are better than others.

MS, yes- lots of black! I liked how putting the white button down on underneath the sweater brought out the white embroidery on the dress. We don't have a fall break, and fall semester seems to be especially concentrated and intense for us.

Katie- um, all of the above? I really had no idea how frequently I was doing this until your question prompted me to look through the archives. I think it will be fun to put together a tutorial of sorts, so I'll go back through the old looks. Short answer, though, is that belting is key.

Thanks Mom!


Kat said...

Liz, this is a fabulous look on you. Count me among the impressed at your seamless, bumpless layer skills. :) The academics-research-teaching juggling act can be really tough. I've found it does get a little easier with practice, but a great outfit can work wonders to help me see myself (and portray myself) as more professional or prepared, even during weeks where I feel overwhelmed.

Plummy said...

When I am feeling 'off,' I usually either fall back on an outfit I know I love (this is the best option), fall back on an easy outfit (not so great--I always feel minorly defeated), or overcompensate and try (and fail) to put together something UBER-FABULOUS (this is the worst outcome, because I inevitably realize half way through the day that I have failed and my outfit looks silly). Luckily, I usually do a variation of a tried-and-true outfit and come out, if not victorious, then at least not a failure. :)

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks, Kat! I feel fortunate that next time I have to teach I'll be done with coursework, though I imagine that teaching while preparing for exams is no walk in the park, either.

Plummy, great point about the fall-back outfit... this is my usual strategy, but on this day I really wanted to wear something different. The black and white palette is kind of my fall-back, so this outfit merges the new with the tried-and-true. : )


Brooke said...

I really like this outfit - one of my favorites ever, actually (although I am, admittedly, obsessed with black and white combos). I hope grading is going well. Almost winter break!! (well, that might be a bit optimistically premature, but it is the only thing keeping me - and my students - going).

orchidsinbuttonholes said...

This is one of my favorite looks of yours - from the fantastic skirt, to the wide belt, to the interplay of black and white. And your hair is amazing! Don't you love those days when it all seems to come together?