- Sources of Inspiration
- The Fine Print
- And Whatnot
- Tweed Sweater: Vintage Ralph Lauren, mommed
- Heathered Tee: Liz Lange for Target
- Jeans: Old Navy
- Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdale’s
- Red Belt: Forever 21
- Necklace: BeadleBop via Etsy.com
- Earrings: Mall vendor
My mom kind of hates this outfit, and she can’t believe I’ve belted her sweater. Sorry, mom. Win some, lose some.
I, on the other hand, kind of loved it. It fit the bill for the first of two blissful, largely-responsibility free days at home with baby m. after I finished my exams last week. I’m a serious skirts and dresses girl for work and school, but on my home-with-baby days, I’m falling back in love with pants: it really is just easier. Other things I love? That this tee is stretchy enough that it’s simple to nurse in without complicated layering gymnastics (and yup, it’s maternity…I’ve got one more day, right?). For purely practical reasons (and sometimes, form has to follow function), it’s hard to beat a sweater that layers well under a waterproof jacket for a rainy day.
…All of which was a really long way of saying, I got to be home (and just at home!) for the first time in ages! And I wore jeans and a tee-shirt! But really, it’s an illustration of a broader kind of boundary-blurring that I’ve been struggling with all term, and am hoping to get a handle on before classes resume in mid-January. While I occasionally fancy myself a high-quality binary deconstructor (though sadly, never as cool as this binary-smashing superhero, who I am apparently the last person on
EarthTwitter to discover), I’m in serious need of some brighter lines between my work life and my home life. And I’m working on ways to get them, both inside and outside my head. I don’t need stone walls, nor am I likely (particularly after having a child, which is a whole other kind of boundary-blurring experience) to have a life totally devoid of the liminal. But I’d like to get to a place where, when someone asks if I’m “home” today, I can just say, “yes,” and not “yes, but I have to …”, both because that’s actually the answer and because it’s one I feel at peace with giving. The first is a time management issue, the second raises broader questions.
But hey! Look at my jeans and tee-shirt! “Home” need not mean unconscious, sartorially or otherwise. Fellow work-at-home types (or work-that-you-occasionally-take-home types): what are your best time managing, balance inducing, head-clearing strategies?
- Grey Nubby Sweater-vest: Vivienne Vivienne Tam via ideeli.com
- Heathered Purple Tee: Gap
- Necklace: BeadleBop via etsy.com
- Wide-Legged Trousers: Olian via eBay
- Red Pumps: Urban Outfitters
When I was pregnant, I remember being shocked at the number of clothing items on lists of what we “should” plan to have. She’s a baby! She’ll wear PJs and onesies all the time! We shrugged off mother-in-law’s suggestion that we’d need to plan on her wearing four complete outfits a day.
Yeah. About that. You sure did tell us so, in-laws and internet sources of mostly non-wisdom on parenting topics. And we have the water bill to prove it.
For the most part, baby m. is a “happy spitter” (which is, in and of itself, a disturbing but hilarious term), but we have our share of days when we’re going on six outfits between us by the time I’ve gotten her to the sitter’s and am on my way to class. Case in point: this was the fourth outfit I had on in the space of m.’s 90 minutes of awake time before her morning nap last Monday. That may explain the wild hair and the crazy eyes . . . sorry about that. It looks a little dark in these photos, but it paired perfectly with a bottomless cup of green tea as I worked my way through a take-home exam on a cold, grey Monday. To brighten things up a bit, though, I added a frighteningly bright orange pashmina as m. and I dashed off to meet Amy and Tania for coffee.
As an aside, I snagged this sweater/vest thing from ideeli.com, one of the 8719813498 flash sale sites around these days, which sucked up waaaaaay too many of my post-exam brain-dead minutes last week. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about ideeli’s customer service, shipping speeds, shopping experience, etc., but I’m pretty ambivalent about the flash sale concept. On the one hand, I’ve got ooky feelings about the ease of getting sucked into a black hole of spending a lot of time thinking about buying stuff (or, sometimes worse, actually buying stuff). On the other, I’m sympathetic to the question my mother has often asked me about these sites: why are they all but giving the stuff away? Assuming you’re not on GAAD or a similar shopping ban, what’s your approach to flash sales? Any great success stories or miserable failures out there?
- Magenta Dress: Olian via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
- Tweed Cropped Jacket: Tracy Reese via Nordstrom’s (2004)
- White Nursing Tank: Bravado Designs via Figure8Maternity
- Black Tights: HUE
- Black Booties: Franco Sarto “Artist’s Collection” via Nordstrom’s
It’s been a long and occasionally alarming semester, but it’s finally over! I wore this outfit last Wednesday, when I sat my last exam and then sat down for a celebratory coffee with M. of An Epic Battle in High Heels (and then sat down . . . to stop doing work . . . for at least 48 hours). I’m a big fan of “dressing up” for big academic and professional moments, whether that means tweaking a proven formula, trying out a much-anticipated new arrival, or letting necessity be the mother of invention. And on a day that marked a pretty major milestone, I couldn’t resist wearing an outfit that reminded me (and every non-colorblind person in the general vicinity) that I’m no shrinking violet, even when I’ve got, you know, kind of a lot going on.
This outfit is a mix of (very) old and new: I’ve had this cropped jacket for ages, the booties are brand new, and this dress is, well, yet another maternity dress that I’m still wearing (!). A pairing of two unexpected workhorses and a hoped-for new staple. And, slightly sadly, a sign that I’d need a new teasing rebuke for strangers who questioned the timing of M.’s arrival (because sometimes the appropriate response to rudeness is humor). While I used to claim that I’d never had so much as an unplanned pair of shoes, behold the pair that brought me down. What can I say? Apparently the sight of these in the half-yearly sale overcame my typically arduous decision-making process (and yes, I’ll spare you the in-retrospect-totally-inappropriate further extension of the metaphor, for both our sakes).
In all seriousness, though, it’s hard to overstate how emotional I felt about reaching the finish line of this term. However silly it may have been to feel that way, I shed more than a few tears of joy and relief when all was said and done. However much this was exactly what we had in mind, the number of stars that needed to align in situations in which we were largely out of control (and some in which we were in control, to be fair) was staggering. I can’t help but feel thankful and, indeed, a little bit proud and perhaps defiant that it all worked out in the end. When we said shehechyanu at our family’s rescheduled Chanukkah (faux-nukkah?) celebration on Saturday, I couldn’t have meant it more.
Many, many thanks are also due to you lovely folks, who have inspired me, cheered me on (and up!), shared parenting wisdom (and humor!) and counseled patience via Twitter during 4 a.m. feedings. You’re overwhelmingly fabulous. Really.
- Abstract Print Wrap Dress: Liz Lange for Target
- Black Nursing Tank: Bravado Designs via Figure8Maternity
- Red Cardigan: Vintage Michael Kors, mommed
- Black Tights: HUE
- Brown Riding Boots: Franco Sarto via Zappos.com
- Earrings: Old Navy
At some point, I really am going to be charged with criminal overuse of this red cardigan, and with continuing to wear a (dwindling) number of maternity items for far too long after delivery, but we can hold that off for a few more weeks, right?
I realize it’s a total cop-out to still be wearing what is technically a maternity dress with an eleven-week-old. That said, I’m secretly thrilled that this dress, which I struggled to style early on, has continued to be an outfit-maker (with a resulting average cost per wear of about twenty-five cents). It’s taken me from “oh, come on! I look pregnant! Really!” to “you’re kidding me! She’s STILL PREGNANT?!?” to my early post-partum days with relative ease. The bold print plays well on its own, too, when I’m not up to piling on the extras.
Like all stand-out pieces, though, its distinctiveness can be a double-edged sword. With dresses in particular, it can be a challenge to keep “making new” something that’s designed to be complete in its own right. In the hectic hurly-burly of the end of the semester (and by end we’re now talking a number of hours only slightly greater than twenty-four), I’m milking these kinds of unexpected workhorses for all their worth. While I appreciate the challenge of getting dressed with creativity and originality, sometimes nothing replaces walking up to your closet and knowing that a combination will just work.
What makes a distinctive piece into a workhorse? Where’s the line between those stand-out things you can use again and again and those that get used once in a blue moon?
I apologize for my slow replies and posting schedule during the end-of-term craziness, and thank you all for your patience! I’m very much looking forward to catching up and having some time off in the now-very-near future.
Just in time for the weekend, a quick special feature from a very, very special guest blogger….
On baby m.:
- Dress: Baby Boden, gift from S2. and K.
- “Loose Tights”: Hanna Andersson
Baby m. wanted to show you her Thanksgiving dress, which was a very thoughtful gift from my mom’s very stylish friends. For the most part, m.’s remixing skills are being drastically underutilized combining onesies, footies and various warm outer-layers (often with ears!), so we couldn’t resist getting dressed up for such a special occasion. Thankfully, she couldn’t resist cracking a big, toothless grin at her daddy, either, while he snapped this series of photos in celebration of the holiday and her two-month birthday. We’re planning a weekend of studying and snuggling as the semester hurtles towards its dramatic conclusion on Wednesday, but we’re looking forward to more restful days soon. Have a wonderful weekend, friends, and to our academically inclined readers, best of luck whether you’re marking papers or completing them!
- Black Jersey Faux-Wrap Dress: Ann Taylor, endlessly remixed
- Black Micro-fishnets: Ralph Lauren, via TJ Maxx
- Necklace: BeadleBop via Etsy.com
- Teal Earrings: Mall vendor
- Brown Woven Belt: LOFT
- Oversized Purple Knit Sweater: Vintage Joseph, mommed
- Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdales
- Black Nursing Tank: Bravado Designs via Figure8Maternity.com
Ah, the end of the semester. That time when all those plans you had for how calmly and methodically and serenely everything was going to go seem to bear less and less resemblance to reality with each passing second. And yet: it will end, sooner rather than later, it is not really all that unfamiliar and terrifying, the odds of my completely blanking out and being unable to say anything about any of the questions are vanishingly small, and in less than two weeks, the “school” part of this very strange experiment in Having a Baby in the Middle of the Semester in Law School Oh. My. God. will be over.
In the spirit of best laid plans, this outfit was not one of them (nor was the length of time it’s taken me to actually get this post up — yikes!). Although I’m a big fan of the outfit list, sometimes the things you have in your head just don’t translate as well to your body as you think they will. Case in point: this outfit emerged from the wreckage of what I anticipated would be a dramatic pairing of this dress and this blazer, winterized with black tights and heeled booties. And yet: it turns out you can’t wear shoes you’re not sure you’re committed to not returning in the rain, I was running late getting out the door with baby m. and couldn’t find my solid black tights, and the below-the-knee hemline just wasn’t quite working for me. But the end result, however little resemblance it bore to the original plan, I ended up really loving. After all, on a miserably cold and rainy day, who doesn’t love the chance to wear a snuggly sweater and still feel dressed up? Wearing the belt under the sweater helped define a waist and let the sweater add warmth without bulk, and the micro-fishnets always feel a little bit daring (although a bit of a hazard around velcro-closing baby items…sigh). As usual, I’m still working on revising the original plan, but as a “plan B” outfit while I was racing to get both m. and I out the door? I’ll take it.
Academic types, how is your end of term going?
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