Back to School

The first week of school is now almost over, and even though I’ve only had one classroom day, I certainly feel like I’ve been through a long, full work-week with all the meetings, functions, and prep-work I’ve been doing. I do love the return to school in the fall though — perhaps even more so after having a few weeks free at the end of this summer. I’ve said it a hundred times, I’m sure, but for people like me, who’ve spent nearly their entire lives rules by the August-to-August academic calendar, the start of a new school year is just as nice as New Year’s Day must be for the rest of the world. Hey, it’s the middle of August: let’s start something brand new! What better time?

So, now for something new: “style” blogging. I use the word “style” loosely here. I mentioned earlier that my schedule this semester has me on campus more days than I’m used to and I’m trying to dress in a prefessional, work-appropriate manner and also keep track of what I wore in front of which class (I have one Monday-Wednesday class and two Tuesday-Thursday classes, and will spend Fridays either observing classes or working in my office). In an effort to make the most of my not-so-grand work wardrobe, when I have to repeat something, I’m going to try to repeat it on a day when I see different people — make sense? In order to keep track of it all I’ve been taking photos of my outfits. Are you shocked to learn that I could possibly get more self-indulgent and vain? I could!

Anyway, I’m going to post the photos here — not because I think I am so fashionable that anyone should want to emulate my style and not because I think I am hip to any kinds of new trends and not because I think I am a great example of workplace dressing. Most of my clothes come from places like Target, Old Navy, and Gap. Most of them are at least a year old. Most of them are fairly boring. So there you have it, your disclaimer. Obviously I feel a little awkward about all the photos of myself I’m about to lay on you. I am much more comfortable posting photos of my dog, as I believe you already know.

My goals are: to make the most of the things I have, to identify potential new combinations or new/better ways to wear things, and to identify where I could benefit by adding new items into my wardrobe when my small budget allows. I appreciate any advice you have!

Orientation Day (aka I desperately need a new pair of grey flats)

Tuesday: Orientation Day. I was mostly working by myself in my office, but spent an hour at new graduate student orientation meeting the three new people who’ll be TAs in my class. I made it more casual for that reason. Tank top: Old Navy. Cardigan: Loft. Pants: Old Navy. Stupid grey flannel Mary Janes: Target. I am in desperate need of a nicer pair of grey flats. On the lookout for some.

Faculty Meeting Day

Wednesday: Faculty Meeting. I tried this out at first with a longer, button-up grey cardigan and the belt over the sweater, but it just looked bunchy and frumpy. How do people get the belt-over-sweater combo to look nice? I need belt help. Also, more belts. Dress: Target. Shrug: Old Navy. Belt: Target. Flats: Target.

Look, am I even supposed to be saying where I got all this stuff? It’s all from the same cheap places and it’s so old they’re not selling it anymore even if you wanted to buy it. I don’t know, man. I guess I will keep saying where it is from, maybe just so you can laugh at my glamorous teacher’s wardrobe? Okay then.

First Day of School (Thursday Honors)

Thursday: First Day of Classes! Honors sections met this day. I love this striped blouse, especially the pleated sleeves. I said something on instagram about how no one but me ever likes it (thinking, in particular, of a non-compliment I once received on it where the friend said I looked “like one of those optical illusions”), and everyone there said they DID like it. So there. These shoes gave me a nasty blister on the back of my heel/achilles area. Damn them. Pants are too long to wear with flats; considering getting them hemmed since I hate teaching in heels. Blouse: Target. Cardigan: Target (my favorite color!). Trousers: Gap. Shoes: Target.

Non-Teaching Day/Honors College Thing

Friday: I’m not in the classroom today (working in my office most of the day), but I have a welcome-back thing for honors faculty later in the afternoon, so I didn’t want to wear anything TOO casual. I’m not super jazzed about this outfit. I’ve always liked the dress, but it always seems to need something extra. Today I added the scarf to break up some of the monochromatic green, but…enh? I also wish I had slightly dressier shoes that went with this. Dress: Simply Vera (for Kohl’s). Scarf: Target. Shoes: Report (DSW). Regarding my hair: don’t fret. No socks were harmed in the making of this bun.


  1. “Most of my clothes come from places like Target, Old Navy, and Gap. Most of them are at least a year old. Most of them are fairly boring.’

    And this is exactly why I will be reading this style stuff you write voraciously. Can you read voraciously? I don’t know. Regardless, we should start some sort of club and this can be our manifesto!

    Super cute delicate little circle necklace…now where the heck is that from because I LOOOOOOOVE it.


    1. Yes, agreed on the clothes club manifesto! I have all these cheap clothes because I just got used to buying cheap stuff when my size was always changing. I’ve been stable in the same size for a couple of years now, but now that I don’t NEED to constantly be buying new stuff, I’ve just stuck with the cheap stuff. (I think i’d LIKE to buy some more quality things, but right now it’s not a priority because I’ve got other financial goals Im saving for.)

      Anyway! The necklace is my favorite everyday thing. It is from etsy — here’s the seller:


  2. Hee hee! Your facial expressions are cracking me up. I too love that last outfit–the colors, the pretty polka-dotted scarf. You look lovely, summery yet professional–perfect for some scholarly socializing 🙂

    Also, I too would like to learn how to belt over a sweater. If you get that figured out, please give us a tutorial! Thanks, Doc O.


    1. Thanks — I will continue to work on the belt-sweater combo problem and let you all know what I learn 🙂 I also need to buy some more belts. I need one that works with jeans, for sure, and maybe a wide one for wearing with dresses or sweaters? Not sure yet.


  3. We shop at the same places, on the same budget, have the same style, and work in the same environment. Therefore I, too, will be reading your style posts with interest! (And I love your facial expressions as well – so funny and refreshing!)


    1. Yes, teacher-budget style! I’m glad other people shop at these places as much as I do. Whenever I see a real fashion blog it’s all designer stuff and therefore SO not relevant to my life!


  4. My favourite outfit is the black dress/grey sweater. The colours keep it classic, you’re showing off your shape with the belt, and the ruffles on the shoes creates interest.

    That striped top would look great tucked into a pencil skirt. Black or grey to keep things monochromatic, and then you could add a pop of colour with a cardigan.

    Blazers dress up everything!


    1. I like your pencil skirt idea — I have a grey one that would work well, I think!

      Also, “blazers dress up everything” is basically my fashion motto. Once the weather here dips down out of the 80s, I’ll be wearing blazers allllll the time. I love them!


  5. You’re not fooling me. I know the uniform at institutes of higher learning – tweed, scarfs, bow ties, and monocles. If I was a Doctor of whateverology I’d do that all the time.


    1. Oh, JUST YOU WAIT for cooler weather. I will bust out my tweed blazer with the elbow patches AND my scarf collection.


  6. I LOVE the outfit with the striped top. The proportions are perfect and that’s a great pop of color.

    As far as the sweater and belt thing, try playing with texture and proportion. I bought a big, wide, elastic-y belt that I can pop over even a thick sweater and it’ll cinch things in without making me unable to breathe. I wouldn’t be able to do that with a thin belt, or even a standard sized one. Keep an eye out at TJ Maxx and Ross for new belts — I can’t deal with spending a bunch of money on them, but it’s sure handy to have a couple to try when I have a sweater or dress I know I *should* be able to belt but am having trouble making it work.

    Also! For shoes with a heel that are comfortable, look at Born wedges. They’re amazing. Not sure if they’ll be too casual, but it’s worth a try. DSW carries a good selection.


    1. Thanks, that was my favorite outfit, too! I looked at some wide, elastic-y belts at Target but couldn’t decide on one. I’ll pull the trigger eventually (and I’ll check TJ Maxx, too) (<– dirtiest department store name ever?!).

      I've been browsing the Børn selection on Zappos, but I'm actually eyeing their Oxfords. I really want a pair of those. Will check wedges too, just to see. Thanks for the tips!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s