Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In the Midlands

As usually happens, the weather turned colder, and my outfits got blander. I've been so busy since I last wrote. In October, I bought a house and also picked up a class for the spring, as well as found out my other two part time jobs will continue, so while my income will be reduced in the spring (and the job hunt continues), I will survive. Thank goodness for my mortgage being dramatically cheaper than rent! In other good news, my boss observed me last week, and was pleased with what he saw. I was the only adjunct offered a class next semester, so that feels both flattering and perilous. The only good thing about being an adjunct is having more time to work on my own research and writing.

This is the first semester that I've managed to dress up for each class. That's four days a week and 12 weeks so far. It's the first time I've maintained the dressing up, and I think it has helped save my sanity a lot. In the past I've ended up with a uniform of nice jeans, and a long sweater coat every single day. I wish I'd documented each outfit as I planned, but it is stressful and difficult for me to maintain a blog. Seeing photos of myself is hard when I already feel so watched already.

An exciting thing about buying a house is that I turned a spare bedroom into a closet by putting up some closet hardware on the walls. It's not finished yet, but one entire wall is devoted to dresses, with another wall for blazers, sweaters, pants, skirts, etc. with split hanging racks. I love it.

I'm struggling to stay warm, and jeans under a dress has been my go-to right now. It's so much warmer than leggings. Which brings me to an amazing find: fleece-lined teggings from Re/Dress! Sadly they don't fit me, but I did turn them into leg warmers, so I've been wearing them underneath another pair of leggings. Layering tights and leggings and such is definitely something I'll be experimenting with as it gets even colder. Midwestern cold gets into your bones in a way that the desert cold never did.

Another way I've experimented with extending my wardrobe is wearing a neutral long-sleeved shirt underneath a shorter-sleeved or sleeveless dress. Maybe this seems obvious to others, but it hadn't occurred to me before. Maybe it says "Mormon fashion" to some, but it keeps me toasty warm.

Around the house, I wear an old-fashioned chenille housecoat/robe over sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Until I found my space heater, I was wearing three layers to bed. It's damn cold.

There's so much more I want to say, but I don't want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good; I thought any post was better than no post, so this is what you have. I've had a migraine all day, and last night had a bat in my house and this evening the Roto Rooter guy freeing my pipes from tree roots.

How do you stay warm in the winter? How do you keep your clothes organized?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Guest Post: Out of the Closet & Into the Classroom

{This guest post comes to us from Stephen S. Mills, a friend and colleague of mine I met during my MFA days. Stephen is talented and always one of the most dapper folks in the room! I'm so pleased to share his thoughts and outfits with you!}

If I’m going to be honest, I have to say that there are days when I spend more time thinking about what I’m going to wear to teach class than about my lesson plan for the day. Does this make me a bad teacher or maybe just a superficial person? Some might say yes. But what I wear is important to me, not only as a teacher, but also as a person. It’s not strictly about the clothes, but about finding that perfect combination for that specific day.
Worrying or thinking about fashion is often viewed as a silly or an elite thing to do. Fashion can easily be connected to social-economic status and class. But this is mostly true when you look at fashion in a narrow or label-fueled way. It doesn’t simply have to be about buying expensive clothes or walking down a runway (not that there is anything wrong with these things).
When I speak of fashion, I’m discussing the everyday experience of standing in front of my closet full of clothes (yes, I buy a lot of clothes) and deciding what pieces will make me feel good that day. These are decisions we all have to make no matter our status or class. For me, it is about empowerment and about making a statement that is mine. There are many things we can’t control about our appearance (at least not without the help of plastic surgeons), but what we wear is in our power. I buy lots of clothes, but I don’t spend tons of money on each item. I’m a good shopper. I buy things on sale. I go to stores often. I focus more on the fit and style of the clothing and less on labels (with a few exceptions). I did recently purchase a Jack Spade bag partly because it was a Jack Spade bag, and I was jealous of the other cute gay boys running around the city with them. The bag, however, is a great fashion piece and is really practical and useful, so it balances out.
As a teacher, there are a lot of considerations one has to make when deciding what to wear. Some schools enforce or strongly suggest a dress code for instructors. For men this leaves few options. When men are given a dress code it typically means you have to wear dress pants and button-up dress shirt (don’t get me started on the unfair gender bias when it comes to dress codes). You also want to consider how what you wear might affect the students in your classroom.
When I started as a teaching assistant in graduate school, it was suggested (not enforced) that we, as TAs, dress a little more professional to help create a separation between the instructor and the students. This makes sense on some levels. Many of us were fresh out of college and were only going to be about four to five years older than our students. Some of us, myself included, looked very young (even at nearly 31, I still get asked if I’m student). I followed this advice at first, but I’ve never been one for dressing “professional,” at least not in the traditional sense of the word. As my teaching style began to develop, so did my sense of what to wear in the classroom.
Over the years, I’ve realized that my teaching style is to breakdown the barriers between myself and the students and to come at them from a place of mutual respect. I ask them to be themselves in the classroom and to share with me their own experiences and skills. To do that, I need to be myself as well (at least to a certain degree) and for me that means wearing clothes that fit my personal sense of style. I don’t feel comfortable in certain kinds of clothes and that discomfort can be directly tied to how well I teach.
As teachers we are constantly fighting an uphill battle. We have to battle the changing times, the crumbling education system, the fact that many students don’t know what they should when they enter college, and the often-scattered attention span of our students. If I’m standing in front of them in something that catches their attention or makes them watch me a little longer, I see that as a win.
Currently, I teach English Composition courses at a career college in New York City. Most of my students are there to earn a medical assistant certificate or an associates degree in nursing. Some of them don’t have their GEDs and are working on those as well. These are not “traditional” college students. Most are in their twenties or older, and a good portion of them have children (many were teen-mothers). About 95% percent of the students are female and nearly all are Hispanic or black. When I enter the classroom, I’m a minority on all levels. I’m male, white, and gay.
In this environment, I’ve found that my clothing has proved useful. In my ten months at this job, I’ve gotten more compliments and comments about my clothes than anywhere I have ever taught. One girl recently complimented me on never wearing the same outfit twice to class (which is something I often try to do, especially with my classes that meet once a week). With this comment, I was mostly impressed at how observant she was, which is a necessity in writing.
Perhaps they’ve noticed my clothes more because my students are required to wear scrubs, so I’m the only one in street clothes. Maybe it’s because I’m one of the youngest people working there, and I do dress distinctively different from my co-workers. Maybe it is because it’s New York City and people pay more attention to fashion. Or maybe it’s because I’m not what they expected and my clothes are just one aspect of what makes me break the expectation of a college English professor.
I don’t have the answer, but I can say my clothing is a way to connect with the students and that connection leads to a better classroom environment. I don’t believe there is one way to teach. I believe that people must find their own style. Much like the choices we make in fashion every day.

About Stephen:

Stephen S. Mills holds an MFA from Florida State University. He’s taught college English courses for eight years. His work as a writer has appeared in The Antioch Review, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, PANK, The New York Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Knockout, Assaracus, The Rumpus, and others. He is also the winner of the 2008 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award. His first book, He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, is available from Sibling Rivalry Press and was a finalist for the Thom Gunn Poetry Award and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He currently lives in New York City. Website:

Monday, October 7, 2013


I found out on Thursday that my adjunct position won't be renewed for next semester, because enrollment is way down. Of course this sucks, and I'm really depressed. I have to finish out the rest of the semester, but I desperately need to found another job.

To be honest, I don't feel like this blog will continue with much regularity. I have a second interview for a retail position that will require a uniform, and if I get the job, I might write about what it's like to move from choosing what I wear every day to having to wear a specific uniform, but I just don't feel like talking much about clothing right now, even though I'm excited to transition finally to cold weather clothes.

Here is what I wore today: my favorite giraffe dress from eShakti, black Old Navy leggings, a cardigan from Lane Bryant, and boots from Old Navy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Still Wearing Clothes

top from Old Navy. Black pencil skirt (not pictured)
from old Navy.

I'm still here, still wearing clothes and teaching. I've been struggling. It's almost midterm, and I've managed to wear a new outfit every day and avoid jeans, which is usually my fallback when I don't feel well, and which I'm not actually allowed to wear as a professor. Boo. The weather is still frustratingly warm, and I've battled migraines and chronic pain, and students who don't even attempt to care and technology that doesn't work and foils my teaching plans. I've struggled with the Gaze of the Student on my non-conforming body, my fatness, my queerness, my disability writ large (pun intended) across me as I stand at the front of the room, as I turn my back and write on the board and whisper about me. I know I'm a good teacher, but it's difficult to survive this piercing gaze. Young people today have a cruel way of treating Others who don't fit their acceptable standards, and it's tough to withstand that sometimes. Yes, sure, I'm grading them, and therefore I have more power in the dynamic, but it sure doesn't feel that way, especially when they tell me outright that they don't care what grade they get in the class, when they don't try to even be polite and be quiet while I'm trying to teach. So many days I feel weary and sick and fighting back or working with them just feels impossible. My body is on display every day, and it takes a toll on me. I long for cooler weather, when I can arm myself with cardigans and coats and tights and leggings and boots and feel protected against the shame it seems they try to make me feel. It is not easy to be a body like mine at the front of the classroom, and I don't even have race as an issue to contend with, so I know my POC colleagues feel this to an even greater extent. 

So I still haven't gotten my camera fixed. These are not the best outfit photos. But this is what I've been wearing.

from eShakti, a dress with a butterfly skirt. The only
outfit I've reworn this semester.

Cardigan from Old Navy, Maxi dress from Lane Bryant.

my favorite giraffe dress, from eShakti. Only trouble is,
it's very short, so leggings are a must. This is the first and only
dress that got me compliments from multiple students.

I feel angry about how little money I make for how hard I work, and for how difficult this is for me. The teaching is not difficult, the lesson planning and grading itself, but being a sick, disabled, fat, queer body in front of other bodies is rough. Right now I'm on day two of a migraine, and the only way I'm going to survive today is that my students have a peer workshop in class. I have no idea what I'm going to wear today.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bathroom Selfies

I never expected to get so far behind in my OOTD posts, but my life grew incredibly busy recently as I started the process of buying a home. I have a lot of complex feelings about becoming a property owner, both what it means to critique capitalism and participate in it in this way, and because it means I've really firmly made the decision not to pursue any jobs--academic or otherwise--outside of my hometown. I'd be lying if I said that decision didn't somewhat scare me. But I'm also excited, and I think it's the right decision for me. I love being near my family, and I've wanted a place of my own for a long time. The capitalism critique is outside the scope of this blog, but allow me to point you toward Enough where they specialize in that. I will continue to detail my rampant consumerism in regards to fatshion here.

What I'm most excited about when it comes to my new house is turning a small spare bedroom into a walk-in closet. It is going to be pretty incredible, and I promise to share photos here.

Now for a roundup of some outfits I've been wearing. I've been taking daily selfies in my car and in the bathroom at work, because it feels like too much work to use my DSLR, and I decided that something is better than nothing. Maybe once I have my own house (and fenced-in yard! I will take selfies w/o shame once again.

All dresses but the last one are from eShakti. The golden sweater is from SWAK Designs, and the final dress is from Old Navy. 

I have a lot of really wonderful dresses, but I want to challenge myself to wear skirts more. I have so many skirts and cute tops, but I never think to wear them. I don't know why.

What I've realized during this first month of teaching is that I hate trying to dress professionally in hot weather. Give me a cardigan and tights, please! Even wearing jewelry feels uncomfortable when I'm sweaty, so I just end up feeling underdressed and underaccessorized. Also, I've had a lot of stress and pain lately, and it is really difficult for me to feel put together when I feel like crap. But this is the longest I've sustained dressing nicely every day I teach, and at four days a week, that's saying something. My body has changed a lot in the past four years, and clothes fit differently for me. I have lost weight in my chest, and gained it in my stomach, and so my dresses hang differently. It's tough to navigate my feelings about my changing body and the fact that for 12 hours a week, 25 students are staring at my body. It's uncomfortable, and they laugh and whisper about me when I turn my back to write on the whiteboard. I know some of them aren't laughing at me, but I've overheard some of their comments, and it's difficult to hear and remain impartial towards them. These students are so much more disrespectful than I've had before. I'm focusing as little attention as I can on my teaching while still doing a good job. My new motto is "I'm a better teacher when I care less," which sounds horrible, but it means caring less about the rudeness and the texting and the bitchy comments and the insubordination and recalcitrance. I focus on the ones who work, and do my best to deliver a good lesson, and I leave my problems (though, unfortunately, not my grading) in the classroom so I can focus my attention on my personal life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long Weekend

Catching up on an outfit from last week that I loved, and my fatshion-filled weekend!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the heat has been brutal lately, which makes wearing any clothes at all incredibly uncomfortable. I've struggled to remain professionally dressed while battling chafing and heat rash and other uncomfortable consequences of the weather. It has been a really difficult first two weeks. My commute isn't long, but the traffic congestion means I have to really pay attention and drive defensively, to avoid an accident with aggressive, thoughtless drivers. It stresses me out! The time of day that I return home is also right during rush hour, and last week, I had to sit on the highway parked for an hour because of an accident miles ahead.

My favorite part of the day is picking out what to wear. Sometimes this can be incredibly stressful when outfits don't work as planned, when things don't fit well or look how I wanted them to look, or when I'm having a bad body image day and I just can't feel good in any clothes, yet still have to get dressed and face the world, but I also love fashion and trying on new clothes and planning what I'm going to wear.

This outfit was worn last Thursday. I wanted to wear a yellow top with this new plaid skirt, but the skirt is actually a little big (as I prefer to wear it high-waisted), and I didn't like how it looked with just the yellow tank top. It looked too casual to me, so I searched through my closet for something else to wear that wouldn't be too heavy. It's definitely not cardigan weather yet! Finally I found this drapey white cardigan. The proportions were all wrong with it hanging loosely, so I tied it up and actually loved how it looked. I loved this fuller skirt.

I've been taking instagram selfies in the bathroom between my classes.

Skirt: eShakti
Tank: Old Navy
Cardigan: Old Navy

This weekend, I met up with some good friends in Cleveland for the pre-opening of Re/Dress's new location. Two friends drove down from Buffalo along with another fatty friend of theirs and we had a great time. The store is fantastic; Rachel has done a fabulous job. It was a very long 18-hour round trip drive to be in Cleveland less than 24 hours, but it was such a pleasure to see my friends. I really needed to recharge after a hard few weeks and a difficult summer.

selfie from the car

the front of the store.

Rachel, owner of Re/Dress, and my friend A. (sporting a fantastic eShakti frock)

I love how Rachel matched her store!

A's kickass boots!

another one of my friends, who I've known since high school

In this photo, I'm wearing a dress from Modcloth that I was thrilled fit me. They've slowly expanded their plus size offerings, and there is not much in my size, but I ordered this red and black striped dress, and the "universe dress," which I probably won't wear to work ever, but which (barely) fits. I'm glad to have another option for cute dresses and I even ordered another dress from them now that I know some things will fit. Fingers crossed that it does!

The Universe dress from Modcloth:

another item I got from Modcloth:

 Today I was excited to wear a dress I got from eShakti awhile ago. I bought it specifically as a teaching dress because of the pattern:

Apples! (I don't know why I always have such a sour look on my face in these photos!) Also: photobomb by my French bulldog.

More selfies from the car:

the apple necklace from Modcloth that I wore

another bathroom selfie

I'm not used to wearing dresses without stretch, but I am loving these eShakti dresses. I get so many compliments whenever I wear one, because people usually haven't ever seen the same dresses before. Though whenever I'm in fat community, I see a lot of eShakti dresses. It's funny because I first learned of them when I lived in Utah. My LDS friends loved them, because of the ease of customizing a dress to be more modest. I started buying dresses there because they actually came in my size!

I've been thinking a lot about Femme expression as survival, or as self-medication. I feel better at work when I'm dressed nicely and when I like how I look. It's my armor against rude students or dismissive colleagues or my own insecurities and chronic pain. Sometimes the only thing that gets me up in the morning is my eagerness to wear a new dress. That's depressing as hell, but also the truth. I started this blog up again because I still have all these questions about how to mesh my fat queer femme identity with the need to live up to others' standards of professionalization, and my desire to distract myself from things I hate about the adjunct system. If one dwells too long on the job market, it is easy to spiral into a depressive anxiety cycle. Sometimes I hate my body, my self, my job, my life. But I love this dress or that necklace, and sometimes that is enough, and sometimes that helps. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Catching Up

It's so hot here that the state has issued a heat advisory and many elementary and high schools are closing early for the day. But I still have to teach! Here are the outfits I wore Monday and today in a desperate attempt to look professional while not succumbing to heat stroke, which I am very prone to. I long for the cooler days when I can just throw a blazer over everything. I can't even stand to wear much jewelry in this heat, because it's so sweaty and sticky.

My students have been little pills, too, so that's frustrating. It shocks me how recalcitrant they are, just sitting there refusing to work during class time. Fortunately that's only one of my classes, but it's draining.

Dress: Target

Dress: LucieLu

I wore my Mia sandals with both of these outfits. The flipflops are just my "inside shoes."

The green dress is one of my favorites because it's so light and comfortable. I also wore it on Sunday to go to open houses. The pink and gray dress is wrinkled, yes, but that's pretty unavoidable in this weather. I have at least five versions of this dress in different color combinations. Some are sleeveless, some have sleeves, all have a different image on the skirt. Sometimes the skirt is the brightly colored part, and sometimes it's the top. I think these were some of the first dresses I bought back in 2010, when I first started identifying as a femme. They don't fit quite as well as they used to, but I still love them. I have tried everything to keep the skirt wrinkle-free, to no avail, so I finally gave up. Oh well. I think in this heat, everyone is bound to be disheveled, and my boss wears jogging shorts to work, so I think I'll be ok.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Musings

Here I sit on a Sunday night, waiting for my sleeping pill to kick in, and dreading the heat wave headed our way in the upcoming week. My classrooms are so hot (even though they tell me the buildings are air conditioned) and a week of sweating through every class was not fun. 

I didn't take any photos of my outfits this weekend, but I was house hunting both days, and I did dress up for the many open houses I went to. I am in no rush, but I'm looking to buy my first home, thanks to the affordability of the Midwest. On Saturday, I wore a Chambray shirt dress accented with a red skinny belt, and my new favorite warm weather shoes: my silver Mia sandals. They're just so comfortable and cute and they go with everything! I wore them again today with a simple sea foam green dress Target that is probably the most comfortable dress I own. Both are sure to make appearances on the blog soon.

I hardly ever dress up when I'm home with my family (I'm not sure why, but Femme as an identity is so queer and sexual for me, and tied into being fat, that I think I feel uncomfortable performing this particular aspect of identity with my family. My dad, a hard sell, complimented me on my outfit on Saturday, and talked about how professional I was. That compliment felt huge!

I downloaded a free app for my iPod called Closet, which lets you take photos of every item of clothing you own, tagging and sorting them and putting them into outfits. I've only just started using it, but I'm loving it already. I'm hoping it will help me keep my shopping addiction under control, since this week I stress-shopped a ton. I'm thrilled with the items I ordered (eShakti is my new best friend, and I'm giving ModCloth a try), but I really shouldn't have spent the money I did. It all started because I had a hair appointment at a salon in the mall, right across from Lane Bryant, so I was returning several items I'd purchased by mail, and tried on a few things they had in the store. I was so livid that their brightly colored skinny belts didn't fit me I went on an online shopping rampage. Whenever I think I need that one special item, I get sort of obsessive. Do you get obsessed with finding some elusive plus size item?

I'm still not sure what I'm going to wear tomorrow. Something light, I hope. Something easy. Something to help me stay professional and still bear the heat.

How do you get through temperature extremes in the office? 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I survived my first week as a professor!

This has been an exhausting week, and today was incredibly frustrating. It was pouring rain, my first two outfits didn't work out, and I only got a few hours of sleep last night, then my students were jerks in my first class. I've been really depressed most of this week, to be honest, though I'm loving my adult literacy class, and I have that last, so it did brighten up my day.

Here's the outfit I ended up with. I've been taking selfies in the bathroom next to my classroom to share my outfits on instagram. I just didn't get a better outfit photo today.

Dress: Old Navy
Watch: Gift from my dad for my PhD graduation
Necklace: Gift from my niece/SIL
Glasses: Warby Parker

My hair was cute at least. In the back I had it in a cute updo, but I couldn't get a good shot of it. I wanted to accessorize this basic navy dress with some color, but I couldn't find the belt I wanted nor the necklace, so I just said "fuck it." At least I was comfortable.

I have a closet full of clothes, but some days nothing feels right and I really struggle on those days. I think up outfits that don't work out in reality, and I get so discouraged. I never seem to have the effort to dress how I want to in my mind, or if I make the effort, there's a malfunction or something. Times like this, I really feel insecure about calling myself femme, even though I know I don't need to feel that way. I wish I could be on point, high femme, flawless, but I am full of flaws, and that's ok.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day Three of the New Semester

I have no idea what to wear today. I'm exhausted and sore from walking all over campus the last few days, and the heat takes it out of me. I'm really not sleeping well, either, and even though I have made detailed plans for the first month of each of my classes, I'm feeling unprepared. Going from a busy but flexibly-scheduled summer to teaching four days a week and needed to dress up and be presentable is draining me.

Today I didn't want to get out of bed, much less get dressed and photograph it. I'm used to having a non-teaching day in between my teaching days (like when I've taught a MWF class or only T/Th classes), so teaching four days a week is rough for me. Maybe it would be for anyone, but with my chronic pain, my disability, and my stubborn refusal so far to use my cane (something that's likely to change soon), my body is taking a hit. I find myself extremely self-conscious, more so than I remember being in my last job. I already hate it when strangers look at my body, but when an entire classroom full of youths stares at me, it sometimes feels unbearable. Oh, anxiety.

This outfit, which I think is pretty simple, inspired one of my high school-aged students to remark "WHAT are you WEARING?" I sort of instinctively replied, "Whatever I want" and kept writing on the board, but I sort of wanted to punch her, something I don't think my dead would think highly of.

Dress: SWAK Designs
Camisole: Re/Dress Teggings camisole
Shoes: not pictured, Orthaheel Mia (we don't wear shoes inside, so that's why no shoes)

I wouldn't mind adding a colorful belt to this dress, but I think it's a pretty basic outfit, nothing outrageous enough to warrant the student's comment. Weird. I chose this today because it's very thin and light and I wanted something that wouldn't make me even hotter than I knew I already would be in my no-a/c classroom.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 2

Top: Lane Bryant
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes (not pictured): Orthaheel Mia 

Today I ended up misreading my wonky teaching schedule (the same class is held at different times tuesdays and thursdays. It's going to be a headache.), and got to campus 2 hours early, meaning, with an hourlong commute, I left the house 3 hours early.

It's so hot lately, and after yesterday's uncomfortable experience of dripping with sweat throughout my class, I decided to wear a skirt and light top today. I also decided, since the skirt is a pencil skirt and shorter than a lot of my dresses, I didn't want to wear the bulky cotton shorts I usually wear to prevent chafing. I'd try my new Bandalettes (as recommended by Marianne Kirby on xojane). Marianne and I wear the same size in dresses, so I hoped these Bandalettes would fit me. Well. They really don't. They are uncomfortable as hell. If they weren't lace, they might be ok, but they are so painful to wear. They keep rolling down my legs and the lace is not smooth enough. I'm hot and sweaty and the rubber that is supposed to make them stay up is really uncomfortable. Anyway, I chose this outfit, because I think that, with a tight skirt, it's good to balance that with a looser top. I love the black/white color scheme, too.

These pictures are, once again, awful. This weekend I hope to figure out a better camera solution. I feel like I'm always rushing. Living with other people is hard, because sometimes they prevent you from doing what you'd like to do. I need to plan better so that I'm better organized and not too dependent on others in my daily routine. I'm also having trouble sleeping lately, and I need to be better about establishing a firm bedtime routine and getting up early in the morning so that I'm not rushing around at lunch time. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School

First of all, I apologize that these are horrible photos. I do not have a good place to take outfit photos right now, but I thought something was better than nothing. I'm working on it.

Today was my first day of classes. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I only teach one class, and it's about ten minutes from my house, which is lovely. This class is at the community college, but the students are all in high school, part of a special program for advanced HS kids. Most of them were home schooled, and one of them is 13. I used to teach HS, and am actually still certified, but it's strange to think that I'll be teaching one section to traditional community college students and one to children! 

Dress: eShakti (custom sizing)
Camisole: Re/Dress (teggings camisole)
Watch: gift from my dad for my PhD graduation
Shoes (not pictured): orthopedic flip flops
Glasses: Warby Parker

This dress is so comfortable and it has pockets. I love the yellow color on top, and the ruffles, though I don't love the puffy sleeves. The birds and butterflies on the skirt are fun, too, I think. I wanted to wear something on the first day that would communicate my personality to my students, and I think this really does. It's bright and colorful and fun, yet still professional enough.

The class went pretty well, too, except for the fact that it was unbearably hot. I was literally dripping with sweat the entire time, and that was so uncomfortable. My glasses were fogging up, and some of the students were whispering and giggling in the back row, the thin pretty ones, and who knows whether they were talking about me, but it's hard not to feel self-conscious about that, even if they are just children.

I'm really looking forward to the adventure of teaching HS students again. I considered looking for a high school teaching job last year, but ultimately decided I didn't want to deal with parents, so this is kind of the best of both worlds. We'll see if I still feel this way mid-semester, but I look forward to keeping you posted.

What did you wear or are planning to wear for your first day?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Faculty Orientation

Oh no! I wore such a cute (if simple) outfit to my faculty orientation tonight, but I forgot to photograph it. I wore a blue tank dress and a cropped 3/4-length sleeve black & white striped blazer, and my orthopedic flipflops. The dress is one of my favorites, and it's from SWAK Designs. Depending on the bra, I can adjust the amount of boobage.

This is my first job as a real faculty member, though I have eight years of teaching experience. I was a student teacher/HS teacher hybrid, then a graduate assistant teacher (though I did all the same work I do now, minus faculty meetings), so the formality was a bit different. I was never seen as a real employee by my colleagues or my administration. Being an adjunct is also a weird space to occupy, but my new place of employment seems (so far) very supportive of adjuncts. Even though the pay is crap, for example, they've been very upfront about that with me, throughout the hiring process, and I appreciate that transparency.

What I'm still navigating, though, is the level of formality I should aspire to in my outfits. I don't yet understand what appropriate work wear is at this new school. At my previous universities, professors tended to dress up a little more (or at least some did, and all pre-tenure seemed to dress nicely), at least nicer than my colleagues have dressed at the two orientations I've attended so far. I think dresses often seem more formal, even if it's a casual dress, and since I frequently pair a dress with a blazer in a work setting, I've been the most formal at any meeting I've so far attended. I am trying to tell myself there's nothing wrong with that, and better to be overdressed than underdressed at work, but I wish I knew what was expected of me.

Another thing to consider is that it's been hot here, and humid. Humidity is something I grew up with and dealt with as an instructor when I lived in the south, but the past four years, I've lived in a dry climate, so adjusting my wardrobe to fit these new constraints is interesting. I tend to cover up my half sleeve tattoo upon initial meetings with people, too, even though plenty of other teachers here are tattooed and no one says anything to them as far as I know. Still, I feel safer being cautious as I feel out the expectations of this new job. I want to do well, I want them to like me, and I want to get promoted.

I'm sure my level of formality will fluctuate during the course of the semester, but now that I'm no longer a graduate student but a real professor--a doctor, even!--I want to dress the part. I also want an excuse to wear all my cute clothes.

But lest I get seduced by mulling over fashion questions and forget to tend to the actual teaching, I best go back to first day syllabus prep.

What do you wear to less formal faculty/work meetings?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


My friend Nicole, from A Well-Rounded Venture, encouraged me to continue posting here, even if it would be sporadic. Every time I search for academic/professional fatshion, I don't find it, so I keep coming back here looking for what I wish I had. I don't think I'm that fashionable or skilled at putting together outfits, but I have fun doing it, and it's empowering (sometimes), so we'll see. Sporadically back.

I know it's been almost a year since I blogged here. In the time since we last met on the page,  I defended my dissertation successfully, and graduated with my doctorate degree in Literature! I got a huge half-sleeve tattoo on my left arm, which makes me a tad nervous in the work environment. Also, I've moved home to the Midwest and I'm an adjunct professor at a local community college. I start teaching Monday, so my focus has turned again to obsessing over outfits. Even more than as a grad student, I want to look professional. I'm teaching four days a week, in two different cities (luckily the same city in one day). I'm not allowed to miss a day without being docked pay, and I'm nervous about that, what with my chronic diseases, but I'm looking forward to being called "Dr." by a class full of students.

my brother with me after my PhD graduation

The place I'm living now is, hopefully, temporary, just for this year, until I get a better job, and can afford a place of my own. My closet is tiny, and I still haven't unpacked all my clothes, something I desperately need to do, so I am able to find clothes to wear. Moving has been stressful, and this summer has been so busy. Now that I live in the same small town as my family, I've spent a lot of time with them, especially with my niece. I also went to NOLOSE again this year, though it was a more difficult experience than the first two times I went. I participated in two poetry readings to promote my work and my forthcoming book

my go-to look this year at NOLOSE: a dress
with my denim vest over it, covered in feminist
& fat-positive buttons

my friend Sarah did my hair, and I want it like this
every day from now on. This photo is from after sleeping
on it all night, too!

Reading my poems at a local bookstore.

I went on a bit of a shopping binge this week, buying pencil skirts and dresses and tops and Bandelettes to prevent chub rub beneath those cute pencil skirts. I shouldn't have done it, shouldn't have spent any money on clothes, but even as I'm kicking myself for destroying my budget (have you heard about YNAB-You Need a Budget software? I'm obsessed), I'm gleefully awaiting packages with clothing more appropriate for a professor. I'll admit, I've chosen more conservative clothes. I'm hoping to get a full-time job at this school (or to find a full-time job at another local school; I want to stay in the area), and I think it will be beneficial to look a bit more buttoned-up. That doesn't mean I'll be forgoing my bright colors or teggings, but I did buy a lot of classic black pieces.

My goals for this week are to get my bedroom and bathroom boxes unpacked and put away. My mother gifted me a beautiful jewelry armoire, and I need to put my jewelry away, so I can actually access it. I need to find a solution to bathroom organization, and clothes organization. And I also need to unpack from NOLOSE at last!

How have y'all been this past year? Are you also hurriedly planning your teaching wardrobe?