Sunday, April 4, 2010

The White Suit

There comes a time in every man’s life when he wants to tackle the white suit—mine was this Easter. You see I traditionally, well at least every two years or so add to the suits in my closet specifically for Easter. This year, I decided upon a White Linen Calvin Klein Suit Separate (more on the suit later).

I know that this blog specifically pertains to fashion for academia, and let me just point out that under no circumstances for any reason is it appropriate to wear a white suit to any conference, lecture, or academic function. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear one and we will spend some time over the next week discussing how to wear a white suit for now, let us just stick to the “story behind the story.”

I think that for people to gain a better sense of who they are they should try new things and take risks.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. To laugh is to risk being a fool. To weep is to appear sentimental. To reach out to others is to risk getting involved. To love is to risk not being loved in return. The person ...who risks nothing may avoid suffering and sorrow but he simply cannot know, feel, change, grow, live, or love.
- Leo Buscaglia.

Now, taking risks with what you wear takes a small amount of courage. After all, you face the whispers, snarky comments, and sometimes good-natured ribbing from your friends. I think though that failure to take risks, no matter what the outcome or how painful it may or may not be, one really misses out a chance on growth.

So take risks in what you wear! Take risks in how you express yourself!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes

For those of us here at the University of North Texas it has been unusually cold this winter and the Dallas/Fort Worth area was able to garner record snowfalls; causing many of us to welcome the springtime with open arms. Yet, springtime often brings rainfall to North Texas, and according to my father (who is uncannily right about this sort of thing), we can expect a pretty wet spring and summer. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss of all things rainwear.

The first up is the classic trench coat.

Every gentlemen should own at least one trench coat. They are versatile, especially for attending academic conferences, and you can wear them with a suit or business casual. Moreover for those of us in North Texas used to bi-polar weather a little layering and a coat with a good liner and it really can be a multi-season outerwear.

When shopping for a trench coat look for something that fits 2-6 inches above the knee and is a snug fit. It is a very good idea to wear a sport coat or jacket when you shop for one so that you can see how it fits when wearing a coat. Here are some of the trench coats out there that I like and most are available in multiple colors.

This one is from J-Crew and is a beltless and sports hidden buttonholes to prevent it from blowing up on a windy day. I like it for its simple design yet classy look. Plus it falls approximately four inches above the knee. $158-198

Zara, seen here in black, manufactures this coat. The thing I like most about this coat is its versatility, its one you can wear with a suit to a conference or something casual like a v-neck sweater and jeans for a run over to the Union for coffee. Available at $89.

I will discuss rain accessories later, but for now dear reader, invest in a good trench coat. It’s versatility and function is hard to surpass.

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Introduction and My No Rules Approach to Style

Afternoon dear readers, I'm Diana and the other half of So On And So Forth.

I'm a graduate student and an avid clotheshorse and you'll find me everywhere. Like here, here, and here.

For me, style has to be something that you situate for yourself entirely. Even when you are copying. Sure, some people are very comfortable fitting into singular modes like hipster or preppy but personally I like to dip into all the genres! I can't be everything in the world I wanted to be as a kid, but I can dress like it. Everyday is the chance to live in a new costume.

If I had a rule, it would only be to have the awareness of knowing what is appropriate to wear when. (Something Christopher mentioned.)

Nobody, or at least those without stylists, gets it right everytime. My wardrobe, outside of a couple of professional ensembles, is everyday attire. I don't have work vs. weekend wear. I like wearing all my clothes all the time because that works for me.

What about you dear readers, what works for you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Christopher's 5 Fashion Rules

Rule #1: Be Yourself

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” -Hamlet, Act 1, Scene iii

    Photo Credit weheartit-maedchenmitherz
Like many things there are many “rules” to appropriate dress, some written in the form of faculty dress code, some unwritten, like what to wear to a conference or when giving a paper. The tricky part is learning what some of these written and unwritten codes are and then learning how to stand out within them. Just the same, following the latest trend does not distinguish you as a “hipster,” “different,” or “fashionable.” On the contrary, simply following trends only makes just that—a follower.

Rule # 2: The Stephanie Rule aka Never Pay Full Price

Photo Credit weheartit-haleycakes
This rule was one that I learned from my beloved cousin Stephanie; I can assure you she will come up again as she has patiently guided me through many of my own questions on attire.

There is no reason to pay full or retail price for anything. With the availability of outlet malls, clearance stores, such as Nordstrom’s Rack, Marshall’s, Ross, etc. and thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, the DAV there is NO REASON YOU SHOULD PAY FULL PRICE FOR ANYTHING. With that being said, you will want to find a good tailor since you can’t always guarantee the proper fit of something that you buy at those places. Moreover, you may also choose to get creative with some of your finds.

Think of it this way: violation of rule #2 will lead to less money, something most graduate students either 1) don’t have or 2) know how to handle; either way, this is something that will help keep some of the green in your pocket—and that kind of green goes with anything.

Rule #3: Shop for Outfits Not Just for Articles

Photo Credit weheartit-martingreenfield
This rule is especially true when looking for something that you will want to wear to functions such as conferences, job fairs, interviews, search committees, etc. This rule is not to be broken when buying a suit.

Mike Moon, owner of Dallas based Exclusively Tailored, suggests that you stock your wardrobe with complete outfits:

It only makes sense. In the long run, it is more economical to purchase everything at the same time. By coordinating colors, fabrics, and accessories, you can eliminate most buying mistakes. Also, you will find that you save time getting dressed in the morning! If you buy clothing this way, you can shop twice or three times a year, instead of six or seven, and still end up with a closet full of properly fitted and coordinated garments, making it easy to always look your best.

-Mike Moon, Owner, Exclusively Tailored

It has been my own experience that the more outfits you construct the easier it is to match them with other articles from other outfits, thereby getting the most miles out of fewer clothes. We will go over this in more detail later dear reader.

Rule #4: Do Your Homework

Photo Credit weheartit-dimm
Always, do research. Know where you are going and what appropriate dress is. For example, is the event casual, business casual, business attire, formal, or black tie? Always ask questions, I heard it said once “Ask the right people the right questions and you get the right answers.” The same is true here, but also be yourself (see Rule #1).

Another important point on doing your homework is always know what size you wear. I carry a card with me that has all of my sizes that I get updated usually twice a year or when I notice a significant change in my weight. You can usually go anywhere to get these such as a tailor shop or men’s clothing store.

Rule #5: No Skinny Jeans

Photo Credit weheartit-blackout

This rule really only applies to the gentlemen and I will go over jeans later, but for now—really? Does this rule need an explanation?

A Few Tips for our Photographer Friend

Earlier we dressed down our photograher friend's fashion faux pas and now it is high time we dress him back up again.

It is our opinion that the celebrity style icon that closely reflects your optimal conference outfit is Justin Timberlake.

He is known for his fitted suits, slim ties, and hip accesories be they vests or hats. He's also credited with making sneakers with suits cool, again. Check out this article in Men's Health about how he discovered his own sense of style.

Copying a well dressed celebrity is a great way to find an "off the rack" style. The next step is in making it your own. When you come across a celebrity look that you love take note of what will and won't work on your body.  With a few slight alertations to the look you'll have something similar that completely works for you.
The Photographer

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Allow Me to Introduce Myself...

Anyone who knows me will be somewhat surprised that I am, indeed, now a blogger, what is perhaps equally surprising is the subject in which I am writing about in conjunction with my good friend Diana—fashion.

Perhaps it is the best time to point out that I am not a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination. With that being said, I do care about what I wear and am very interested in men’s fashion and particularly concerned about the fashion of a particular group of people, namely my colleagues in academia. There are some very good blogs about fashion in academia, for graduate students, and so forth (they are referenced on this blog to your right). What is missing though is any commentary on men’s fashion. This is where this blog hopes to be a little different by addressing academic fashion with both the ladies and the gentlemen equally. Although I can assure you that Diana and I both discuss fashion for both genders regularly, I will limit my commentary and contributions to the gentlemen. More or less, that is where I feel most comfortable.

Not The Tucker

There is another bow tie issue out there in addition to the Tuckers and Poindexters of the world. And this is the too small bow tie. Gentlemen, just as you might choose a regular tie that suits your stature, your shoulders, etc. You must also apply this to bow ties.

We saw at multiple times grown men in too small bow ties! Snap out of it! Or untie it if you went that route.

The Legitimacy of Fashion in Academia

 Fashion is relative and we all make mistakes. I think it's important to note that we here at SoOnAndSoForth are setting out to try and offer some constructive fashion criticism for the everyday graduate student. And, I hope you all enjoy this endeavor in the spirit it is intended!

That being said part of the conversation here will also be about fashion theory and its application and relevance to academics.

Head on over to threadbared and read their article about the relationship between academic and fashion.

They write, "Academics who blog about fashion and style can help lead a Social Media Revolution in fashion reportage as well as in academia by making cultural discourse a public, quotidian, and near-instantaneous activity. Rather than online lectures about fashion and style, academic fashion/style blogs are “social listening” tools (I love that term!) that collect and publicize an array of ideas about one of the most influential arms of the global culture industry, that help to transform the archaic ideas we have about “legitimate” modes of publishing and scholarly publications that “count” for tenure and promotions, and in so doing, help to reconceptualize pleasure as an active and productive element of one’s labor rather than a retreat from it."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Graduate Students in The Wild

Before we attempt to tackle the larger questions of the viability of fashion as part of academia lets take a look at some graduate students in the wild.

This group for example are lunching between sessions. Probably waxing philosophical on man's inhumanity to man.

Here I caught them in their hero walk of functional fashion.

You'll notice that these presenters neither fail nor take risks in the delivery of their duds.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sartorially Significant

These two conference goers embodied confidence and style in their personal presentations.

Karen from Oxford

Cameron from A&M

Boosting your Creativity

Over at Mermaid in a Manhole this post discusses getting out of those creativity ruts.

Kim writes: "Continually be getting to know yourself better. Self exploration is a huge creativity booster."

I can't agree more. My colleague and partner in crime here at So On and So Forth and I are lucky to have the rare major professor who is both invested in us as scholars and as people because one will inform the other. She provides us with incredible academic support but also in her actions. She encourages us to live our lives as we study and research because this will give us perspective. Without it we are lost!

Dos and Don'ts

In this first photo you'll notice that the female (and chair of my panel) is really rocking a casual chic outfit. Black knit top,  interesting skirt, and the pop of red shoes. While her colleague on the other hand is another case of too casual for school rocking the be-bopping Hawaiian-esque shirt.

In this second photo you'll see our new friend Cameron just destroying the competition with his style only to be interrupted by his friend who hasn't quite situated his own personal look yet.

The Evolution

Below you'll notice the incredible evolution of the curmudgeon.

My colleague Jack, the young curmudgeon, and this fine limit breaking elder historian

Jack, if you're reading this I love your look and can't wait to see you reach your final stage of historian!

Coping With Anxiety

From Real Simple here are 10 suggestions on coping with Anxiety.

From their suggestions:

# 2  Make it worse. When you try too hard to control your anxieties, you only heighten them. Instead, exaggerate them and see what happens. For instance, if you fear that your mind will go blank during a presentation, fake it intentionally in the middle of your next one. Say, “Gee, what was I just saying?” Notice how this makes no difference. It’s nothing to worry about, right? I did this at a lecture once and no one raised an eyebrow. (Perhaps they weren’t listening anyway!)

Personally, at our conference this weekend, I was lucky and unfortunate enough to be presenting with a seasoned Ph.D. student who was both extremely comfortable with her material and confident in her ability to speak with conviction. My first reaction was to run out of the room because neither I nor my paper could stand up to that! Instead, I just thought OK this is my opportunity to make a giant leap foward academically and I concentrated on how well I knew my research and willed myself to look up from my paper and have a couple tiny conversations with the audience. Granted, it was only earth shattering for me but I took control of my nerves and made them work for me. Something I never thought would be possible for me!

The Tucker

This young southern gentleman in attempting the bow tie

may want to follow Mr. Carlson's lead and retire it.

(Also, check out the man rocking the safari vest in the background!)