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?