Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick outfit post

I felt the need for a highly feminine outfit today...not sure why! This navy dress with white flowers plus the white skirt underneath was one of my go-to pairings last spring...and putting the cardigan over it helped keep it a bit more weather-appropriate. Oh Boston, why must you have so much rain and so many cloudy, chilly days? Yes, I know it's still only March, at least for the rest of the day. But this weekend...this weekend will be warm!

Cardigan: Banana Republic, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Dress: Paris Blues, thrifted (dollar-a-pound), hemmed by me
White skirt: Forever21
Black tights: Hue
Black shoes: Sketchers

Another quiet day around the lab. I spent most of the morning working on the thesis, attempting not to go too detailed in my background sections (do I need a complete essay on the history of modern dance in a master's thesis on gesture recognition technologies for performance? No, no I do not). The afternoon was spent in class, and the early evening on more thesis writing. Then home. I'm remarkably tired for no particular reason. Perhaps it's the weather.

Here's the outfit without the cardigan, so you can see the top of the dress. I love this sweetheart of the cuts that fits me well, I think. I really like this dress overall, though I hemmed it a little bit short! The only bad thing about the fit is that the back gapes a bit at the top if I stand up straight. I'm not entirely sure how to best fix that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cruella De Vil?

Something about the combination of this particular shade of red and the black polka dots on white reminds me of that character...though this really isn't a Cruella outfit, what with the mod-ish flowers and the kitten heels and all.

This outfit was an attempt to fight back against a second full day of heavy rain. VERY gloomy! Of course, this isn't what I looked like when I was outdoors. Add umbrella, jacket, and big navy rainboots. Yes, I packed a change of shoes in my bag to work so I wouldn't have to wear rubber boots all day. Does anyone else do that?

Black top: Ann Taylor, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Flowered skirt: Thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Black shoes: Joy & Peace, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Red belt: vintage, Ebay
Black tights: Hue
Necklace: self-made

Today was a fairly basic day. Work, a group meeting, working on a project for a class, writing a bit of the thesis. I figure if I write a few pages a day for the next three weeks, I'll have a draft done in time...right? I hope so. We had a bit of a conversation at the lab today about writing these theses, and I'm glad that I've at least started a decent chunk of mine. It'll still take a lot more time, but I think I have a format and some sections done and a lot of sections begun. I tend to write in chunks and jump around a lot, especially when I'm writing a really long paper...something I'm writing will remind me of something I need to write somewhere else, so I'll go write that bit, then maybe come back to where I was or maybe have jumped somewhere else to another thought. So, keeping writing a bit at a time. Other than that, a quiet day. I've been convinced it's Wednesday all day. I can't wait for the rain to stop...should be tomorrow...

Monday, March 29, 2010

A couple of refashions

So I was planning on doing an outfit post today. But it was raining all day (a very gloomy Monday)...and then I ran out after work and went for a bit of a distance in the rain after some free patterns that had gotten posted on Craigslist. The girl had advertised over a hundred sewing patterns, women's and girls' dresses, though she hadn't gone through them. So I rushed over in the pouring rain to snag a bag of patterns, hoping for some great things! I had visions in my head of vintage patterns, beautiful dresses, that one gorgeous pattern that would happen to be just my size. But then it turned out to be about 30 patterns, some without envelopes and almost entirely young girl or doll clothes, like these:

There were two adult patterns...a shirt and shorts set and this dress pattern:

Oh well. They'll be useful when I have small girls in...twelve-fifteen years or so, right? (Actually, anybody currently have small girls who want to wear 90's clothing? Interested in me sending you a couple of these?) But in any case...I got back soaking wet and the clothes had to be taken off. So no outfit pictures for today.

Instead, a dress refashion. I had grabbed a dress from the dollar-a-pound seeing this awesome fabric. Red and white and ginko leaves!

Unfortunately, the dress turned out to look like this when I got home and tried it on:

Hmm. Not exactly to my taste. In particular the sleeves were huge and shapeless, so I wanted to take them off. The armhole was really large once the giant baggy sleeves were gone, so I stitched a new seam up the sides to take them in (requiring multiple tries due to my inability to guesstimate what size circle my arm will fit in). I also changed the shaping of the side to make it narrower near the armholes and increase down to the extra ruffle of fabric. Some vintage seam binding around the new armholes, a belt to give it a bit more shape, and here we are:

I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. It's not a particularly sophisticated refashion...doesn't change most of the dress construction, but it still changes it enough that I'll definitely wear it when it gets warm again. (Like this weekend? When it's going to be 70 degrees, maybe?)

I also did a quick refashion over the weekend of this plastic-ish bangle bracelet. It started out the ugly beige, which I tried to redo (a few weeks ago) with some gold nail polish, but gave up halfway through when that still looked pretty messy:

So I got a piece of printed silky trim from my stash and hot-glued it onto the bracelet, wrapping it around and around and gluing at each wrap. This also serves the helpful purpose of making it slightly smaller and thus more likely to stay on my arm.

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back to Winter

Apparently, we're not done with winter yet in the Northeast. It was snowing when I woke up yesterday morning, and stayed in the thirties all day. I also realized I had somehow forgotten how to dress for winter, in the couple of weeks of nicer weather. So this outfit took a while to pull together, as I tried to remember what sort of things I should wear when it's cold out...

Blouse: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Skirt: thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Shoes: Sketchers
Tights: Hue
Belt: Vintage, Ebay
Earrings: handmade

It's a quiet Saturday here now. I've been poking around at the thesis writing, trying to make some progress...I want to be able to give my readers a draft in about three weeks at the latest, as the thesis is due (read and revised and turned in) on May 7. Which is rather soon. So why am I quite so sleepy and unable to focus on scholarly writing?

And look, the blouse has a bow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lace and Pearls

Pretty straightforward outfit today, I think. It was actually getting warmer...more spring-like...but I'm still in a black and white mood, apparently. And I love this skirt because it has pockets!

White lace dress (worn as top): thrifted years ago
Black skirt: thrifted
Black shoes: Capezio character shoes, which I've had since 8th grade...definitely the longest I've ever owned a pair of shoes!
Black tights: Hue
"Pearl" necklace: vintage, from Ebay
Red jacket: thrifted, dollar-a-pound

Right, the red was actually warm enough today that I could get away with wearing a pretty lightweight jacket! I really, really like this red one that my mother found for me thrifting recently. The buttons and pockets weren't in great shape, but I moved a couple of detail buttons to the front and fixed the tears. It's still too small (tight across the chest and in the arms...definitely couldn't wear it over a long-sleeve shirt), but I really like the asymmetrical styling and the buttons! Also, the shade of red is a great one.

I was attempting to play a little bit with the lighting in these photos, as I hadn't gotten myself out of the lab before it got dark today to try to take some pictures outside. I don't think I've gotten a really great setup for indoor pictures yet. It's dark in my place in the evening, as I just have torch lights...and only a couple of spaces uncluttered enough! I'm seriously thinking I'll get a little tripod to make taking pictures in various places easier.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Post-Modern Dress

Today it was a nice day and I actually got some pictures outside, having convinced one of my labmates that he wanted to go walking and take pictures of me for my blog. It was quite windy, though, so half of my expression is from the fact that I'm trying to subtly hold my dress closed!

This outfit actually started out in a fairly straightforward manner...I wanted to wear this wrap shirtdress that I had gotten at the dollar-a-pound while out with my mother yesterday. However, the neckline was really low, so I needed something to fill it in...oh look, how about the silk gauzy shirt hanging on my dresser waiting to be worn? I'd gotten that far last night, then woke up this morning and had to rush to the lab for the continuation of the conference I was at yesterday. Suddenly, the outfit had a bit too girly/dress-up/old-fashioned of a feel to it, so I needed to grab accessories that would modernize it. Enter, quickly, my chunky orange necklace and tall black boots, which is how I ended up wearing 4 1/2" heels to work today. Oops.

So with the combination of textures and different kinds of lines in this outfit (sleek and modern boots plus Victorian-esque flowing blouse plus a structured shirtdress), the labmate who took the pictures dubbed it "Post-Modern Dress." May or may not be appropriate, but I like the term!

Silk blouse, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Black wrap dress, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Boots, thrifted (dollar-a-pound)
Tights, HUE
Necklace, craft fair
Entertainingly, the necklace was by far the priciest part of the outfit, at around $25...but I got it years ago and have definitely worn it enough to be worth the money!

Also, this coat (again, thrifted at the dollar-a-pound) is my take on this season's military trend. I do like it in combination with the tall black boots...

I realize you can't really see the necklace/neckline in any of those pictures, so here you go:

Ada Lovelace Day, and a name change...

As a female technologist, I was excited to hear about Ada Lovelace Day, “an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.” So did you know that the very first computer programmer was actually a woman, Ada Byron Lovelace (1815-1852)? Ada was a mathematician who was very interested in Babbage's Analytical Engine (essentially the first design for a computer), and wrote algorithms intended for that machine. Mind you, the Analytical Engine wasn't actually constructed in Babbage or Lovelace's time, so these algorithms could not be run... but Ada was still thinking like a programmer, figuring out a sequence of instructions for a particular computational machine.

So, why is it important that Ada was a woman? Why should we be blogging today about her and other women who have followed her in technology, and other female scientists? Well, I think that there is still an enormous gender imbalance in the scientific and technological fields. Even though I've been very supported in my work, I'm still often aware of being female and the potential negative views that I could run into because of that. I've dealt with a fair amount of pejorative "jokes," classes with no other women, and fear about my ability to fairly represent my gender. This XKCD comic kind of sums it up:

I do believe that women can be talented programmers, researchers, and engineers...and still be women and mothers and daughters and female. This is an element in my style explorations and attempts not to fall into the trap of believing that one cannot work in technology and still pay attention to/enjoy what she wears and how she presents herself.

However, as I started writing this post, I realized that for all my talk of making progress for women to be technologists AND women, I'm still not comfortable with the potential that this blog could be even tangentially connected with my research work and my professional identity (not that it's directly searchable, but it's been possible to connect the two...) On the other hand, I don't want to give up the blogging. Thus, I'm now changing my username in all my fashion/style/crafting related places to elnajay (which was my first email address in AOL, if you can believe it...something created by my dad to reflect parts of my name without being at all recognizable. Back in the era where you would NEVER put your real name on teh internets). Hopefully this doesn't cause too much confusion. Does this invalidate my making a statement that I can be both a technologist and someone who enjoys style? I don't know. I hope not. For my professional life, though, I'm not yet at the point where I am comfortable not just being stylish and fashionable but being a public style blogger (in whatever limited extent).

I'd be interested to hear your you feel the need to keep your blog identity separate from your "real life" or other online identities? Do you feel comfortable letting people who know you in a professional context find your personal writings? Am I being too afraid about keeping the two separate?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rainy day

This outfit ended up being a bit more colorful than I'd intended, probably because it was VERY gray and rainy today and I felt the need to do something to perk myself up. I had a couple of meetings and demos today and spent much of the day at a conference on new technologies and storytelling being held at the Lab. Some interesting stuff...lots of work going on in transmedia, the process of telling stories across multiple different kinds of media platforms. As a semi-traditional theater person, I'm not sure exactly what I think about story experiences that need you to watch television shows, go online, download things to your phone, read particular webcomics...if you can only get part of that content and have a satisfying, exciting, fulfilling experience, great. But that's hard to do...and if you feel like you have to consume all the content to understand the story, or really connect to what's happening, than it's a lot of pressure to follow a story through multiple media. Or maybe I'm just old.

Actually, I know I'm getting older, as it was my birthday today. So I went out with my mother after work to the dollar-a-pound and got a few cute things to celebrate. It's funny that knowing I'll be staying on for the Ph.D. (and I got my official letter today!) actually makes me feel older/more mature than the birthday.

So yes. Outfit details:
Yellow shirt: dollar-a-pound
Cardigan: Banana Republic, dollar-a-pound
Black tank top: Express
Black pants: Express
Shoes: Sketchers (must find some more black flats that don't look like I'm 8...)
Belt: Forever21
Necklace: Ebay (junk jewelry lots...)

Also, while this is what I wore at work, it's not completely representative of the outfit when I was outside and wearing my colored rain boots:

That's actually where the colorful outfit started this morning, with me knowing it was pouring rain outside and that I'd have to wear my rainboots and therefore had to wear something that would work with the boots. I eventually decided to bring a spare pair of shoes, knowing that I wouldn't want to wear the boots all day...but by that point, the outfit was already quite colorful.

At least it's supposed to stop raining tomorrow, warm back up to 50 degrees before it snows on Friday. I'm ready for it to be spring already!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A small refashion

So there's this thing where I'm a member of the Wardrobe Refashion community...I'd resigned for a four-month period in January, so during that period I'm not supposed to purchase any new clothing (that is, actually new, not thrifted/preowned/etc.) and am supposed to make new items from stash fabric and old clothing and post about them. I've been doing really, really good on the not buying new things...I slipped once a few weeks ago one sleep-deprived evening when Adored Austin mentioned an amazing sale on and I might have ordered a shirt for $5 and a dress for $7 (mind you, the dress was discounted from $90-something). Other than that, I've completely avoided buying new clothing. I might have gotten a number of amazing things thrifted from the dollar-a-pound, but nothing new!

But then there's this other part, the making new things...and I've been so busy with the thesis that this has been neglected. No longer! This Sunday, I made a simple project: a fountain pen carrying wrap for my boyfriend, the fountain pen enthusiast.

Even better, the fabric came from one of the boyfriend's old shirts that had started to wear out at the seams.

So this was a simple rectangle of fabric, with the bottom folded up and sewn to form a pocket. Then I hemmed the raw edges and sewed vertical lines up the pocket at 1" intervals to create separate slots for individual pens.

I also made a tie and sewed that to one edge, so you can roll up the whole packet and then tie it together. Apparently people use this for carrying around parts of their collection so they don't rub against one another and are kept a little padded.

Closeup of the pens in the holder:

Also, because I promised a closeup of my great new thrifted wedges with the fancy toes, here you go! I really, really like these shoes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Polka Dot Fun

Home now from the Florida trip...but wanted to share one outfit from the vacation!

This was what I wore on Friday, our last full day in Florida. Mostly we walked around the town where we were staying, saw the shops and had some terrific ice cream (the shop baked their own waffle cones, and wow did it smell amazing to walk in there). We ended up at the beach for a bit in the afternoon, but then ended up going back to the pool near where we were staying so we could actually go in the water. Yes, it had warmed up by Friday, but still only to about 73-74 degrees.

So, the outfit details!
Dress: thrifted, and I think vintage (which actually might be backed up by a comment from the woman who owned a little vintage store we walked into...she asked whether it was vintage. I'm still learning how to identify eras, though.)
Shoes: thrifted
Tights: leftover from my dancer days, with the feet chopped off after I wore them out.
Belt: Forever 21
Necklace: my own design

Overall, the trip was really great, though. It was good to have a break, good to spend time with the boyfriend and his family, and good to be someplace with sun and water for a change! And building sandcastles was fun too.

And something very I got an email from my advisor over the weekend that he's decided to accept me into the Ph.D. program at the lab for next year! (He'd decided he didn't need to wait to see if I could rework one of the pieces from my performance first.) So! That's a big load off my mind, and very exiting prospects. I am so, so thrilled about this.

And back to the lab tomorrow...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


So, as I mentioned in my earlier post, I'm in Florida this week with the boyfriend and his family on a quick vacation. This was the cue for Florida to be ten degrees cooler than usual and Massachusetts to hit the upper sixties yesterday. But there is an ocean here, which is always quite exciting for me! I grew up in Colorado, so I'm used to dry and landlocked.

An outfit, from a couple of days before we left for Florida:

This was Friday for work and then an evening out (dinner and hanging out afterward) with the cast of my thesis performance. It was really nice to have a fun time with them and be reminded that there were good things about this performance.

I forgot to take a closeup of these shoes...I promise I'll do that when I get back, as they are pretty fabulous. Black wedges with little studs/jewels covering the toe. I saw these at my favorite clothing-by-the-pound and was really thrilled when it turned out they actually fit me!

This trip has been very nice so far. We went on a boat ride through part of the Everglades on Tuesday. Everyone was wondering if we'd see any alligators. That question was put to rest when we stepped out of the car at the boat place and saw this in the canal ten feet away:

And another alligator! We saw six on the trip and then dozens more in the water on the side of the road driving home, after we'd learned what to look for. Remind me not to ever have my car break down in the Everglades.

And some mangroves!

I don't have the picture of me holding a baby alligator because my camera battery died right before that, but hopefully I can get a copy of the ones the boy's family had taken.

It's been nice to have a bit of time away from the lab to refresh my mind. And Florida is fun, even if not too warm! It was a bit of a struggle getting here, though; we were scheduled to fly through Charlotte on a flight leaving Boston at 9:40AM, requiring the boy and I to get up at about 6AM. Now, this was Sunday, so we'd just lost the hour of daylight make that 5AM. First thing I do is check the flight status...all well. Ten minutes later, we get a call saying the flight to Charlotte has been canceled. So we rush to the airport to see if we can get on an earlier flight, while the boy is on hold with the airlines for half an hour...eventually they get us on a flight through DC leaving at 2PM and getting into Florida at 10PM. It was then 7:30AM, and we're already at the airport. So...long time of waiting in airports and writing parts of my thesis! But we made it here safely. Perhaps I'll get a couple of outfit shots in before we leave on Saturday!
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