Years ago I read an article in Elle Magazine written by the illustrious
“I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Women in academia, medicine, and other fields have similar experiences. They/we are judged for dressing too nicely, for wearing make up, or wearing heels that are “too high”. When I started Chic in Academia, I wanted this to be a place where professional women who did love fashion, makeup, accessories, and the like, had a place to readily access that information, provided by a peer academic/professional woman. I’m hopeful that CIA has done that to some extent over the years, but more importantly, that it continues to reinforce the fact that women can indeed be intelligent, productive, and serious, all while also loving fashion; the two, after all, are not mutually exclusive.
As a result, I too, over the years, have continued to foster that love for fashion and all things related. A few posts ago, I shared images found on Pinterest that I was hoping to use as guidance or inspiration for my own work outfits this week. Out of the outfits shared, I had my eye on one in particular; an outfit by Ahn of 9 to 5 Chic.
I love the simplicity of her outfits, something that I can use in my own wardrobe these days. My life has become increasingly busier: increased workload and responsibility at work; busier school and sports’ schedules for the boys; busier social calendar; and a number of other to-do’s that consume my days. There is something to be said for streamlining a wardrobe. While I agree with Chimamanda, and do still love prints and mixes, ultimately, I think I’m striving to achieve a wardrobe more like Ahn’s. This week, I had a good mix of both Anh-like and Chimanada-like outfits.
First, the Ahn copy-cat outfit. I found the dress on a Target clearance rack last week. Paid $11 for it. I also recently found the heels I’m wearing at a local TJMaxx. Lemme tell ya. They are AH-MAZING. Buttery leather, like gloves on my feet. They are Sam Edelman and also a full size smaller than I typically wear on my feet. Dancing, pregnancy, and genetics have all blessed me with widening feet over the years; feet that until now I’d dressed in size 7 heels, but comfortably fit into a 6W with this Sam Edelman pair. Y’all. All these years, and only now am I realizing that extended sizing had a purpose for me. It was a come to Jesus moment for sure. Goodness. God bless this hot mess express. Ooh wee! Anyway, how close did I get to recreating Ahn’s outfit??
Second outfit inspiration came from Pinterest as well. Refer back to this post to see if you can figure out which of the outfits I shared inspired the following:
I also came up with on my own (hello, I too got skillz!):
Finally, my Adichie-inspired outfit:
There are some who say that how you dress affects how you feel and how others respond to you. In fact, that is exactly how I feel. If I have a presentation to give, I gain confidence from wearing something that fits well and that feels “put together”. Looking less-than-put-together feeds my insecurity; especially in times when stress and insecurity may be at all all time high (e.g., before a big presentation, meeting, etc). Thus, an attempt to pull together an nice outfit, and give my confidence a boost, is not a bad thing to implement, in my opinion. My friend, and fellow girlboss, Michelle of Gold Dust & Sugar Lust agrees:
Do clothes affect how you feel or how you feel people respond to you? I have to say that we all should feel free to wear what we like and what makes us feel comfortable, without fear of judgement, especially when our work should speak for itself. However, if you’re like me, and you love fashion, and it helps to add a little boost of confidence, know that you have a whole tribe of other girlbosses behind you – cheering you on and complimenting you on those bright colored lips and pattern-print clothes, or that monochromatic outfit that screams fabulosity. ❤