Back To School Night, year 11

I always wear a dress on back to school night. I wore the same one three years in a row, and It was about to be four, but then I spied my blue COS coat/dress thing in my closet. I was convinced I’d get a lot of wears out of this thing – and this outfit was just wear number 2. I’ve really been trying to buy less this past year, and buy more mindfully. But I’ve failed, as evidenced by this blue coat I bought back 9 months ago and have worn exactly twice. I do still like it a lot, I just need to figure out more ways to style it, as its quite the bright statement. I need to get as much use out of it as possible while this weather lasts. Once winter hits, I’ll be living in my Arc’teryx Atom forever.

The sandals on the other hand, have gotten many, many wears over the years (since 2012), and will be a staple in my closet for years to come. They give just enough “fancy” to elevate a simple t-shirt dress into something appropriate to meet parents in.

On that note, I really need to work on my Back to School Night game. I’m terrible at meeting parents. I’m not the best at small talk in general, and I always feel socially awkward around adults. My prepared speeches always disappoint, I get thrown when I get told kids names as if I only have one Jessica, and my words always come out fast, shaky, nervous, insecure, and therefore curt sounding. I always end up with at least one angry parent. This year, I had one parent say, “That’s it?!?” at the end of my intro/welcome to my class talk. Sigh. You’d think I’d have this all figured out by my 11th year, but nope. Every year I get more and more involved parents who want to know things – I just don’t know what it is they want to know! Who has a Ted talk on giving good Back to School Ted talks? I need to watch it.

coat: cos – dress: uniqlo – belt: jcrew – sandals: madewell – earrings: sara boeck – watch: fitbit

Don’t Call It a Comeback

I heard the old school LL Cool J’s song “Mama Said Knock You Out” the other night and it inspired me to pick up my blog again.

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers
Puttin’ suckers in fear

I initially stopped blogging for a couple reasons – I fell into a style rut, I started working out regularly straight after school (time when I’d usually spend blogging), and I felt like I had run out of things to say. I found that I wanted to spend more time outside and unglued from the computer, and I’m generally an introvert. I like to observe more than I like to speak, which I know seems counter intuitive considering my chosen profession.

It’s been over a year since my last post, but I’ve been here this whole time, still teaching, and still putting clothes on my body every morning. I still fall into ruts where I wear the same thing or similar things over and over, but I’ve also had weeks were I’ve been super inspired by a look or an aesthetic that I see on someone else or on the interwebs. Sometimes I look back at my old posts and cringe a bit at how I used to style myself, and other times I get super reflective about how my style has changed over the years. If there is one cool thing about having a fashion blog, it’s the record keeping I have of what I’ve worn over the past 6 years.

I’m still getting regular comments from kids about my sartorial choices, which always makes me miss blogging a bit. Recently, I’ve been fielding an abnormal number of questions from kids about my fashion choices. They range from “where do you go shopping miss” to “Hey miss, nice fit” to “what the ___ are you wearing miss”.  The most memorable comment this past year has been when I wore an Iron Maiden shirt to school at the start of the school year, and a student asked me if I knew the name of the album that was on my shirt. I didn’t, and the kid roasted me a bit for being a poseur. This kid is now one of my favorite humans.

So I’m back! Here is what I wore on Monday. I’m sticking to more and more basic items lately. I figure the less color there is, the easier it is to look put together but still effortless (I hate how overused that word is, but I can’t seem to think of a less cliche way to describe my sentiment). The printed boots and earrings make me feel like I have a bit more oompf to an otherwise plain outfit.

That being said, to me the star of this outfit is the blue shirt/coat/dress thing I picked up last December from COS. I liken it to a french chore coat, and I like it because it gives me a bit of a Bill Cunningham vibe without having the real thing. B says it looks weird, but I love it anyway and that’s what counts right? Chore coats are trending pretty hard right now, everybody from J. Crew to Huckberry (really cool men’s versions!) are carrying one now, and I can’t blame them.  I kind of want a real one in addition to this long wannabe one. I’ve been eyeing ones from Urban OutfittersEverlane and Stussy (I love the bone white color) and Topo Designs but really I am holding out to get one from Carhartt WIP.  I love the 4 front pockets and you really can’t go wrong with the durability of the real thing (work clothes that is) even if you’re just getting it for the fashion. I can’t wait to check out the store in NYC when I go this summer.

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earrings: unbranded, but picked up from a small shop in nashville over spring break – jacket: cos – tshirt: jockey via costco – belt: gap from more than 10 years ago – jeans: uniqlo – boots: madewell

 

 

Cusp of Spring

It’s warming up here in Denver, but it’s been a rocky spring.  Our garden was first pummeled by a late spring snow storm, only to get ripped to shreds by a hail storm a couple of weeks later! This set of photos are from the start of the month, in the thick of the weather see-saw that is spring in Colorado.

This shirt dress is from COS, picked up during my spring break trip to Toronto. It’s roomy, edgy, fun, and it HAS POCKETS! I wore it out to a girl’s night dinner, and I was asked exactly 4 times if I was headed to Denver Fashion Week after dinner by servers and strangers. That MUST mean something cool – right? The leggings are from Costco (they have heaps more than just food!), and they are the softest, warmest, leggings ever. More to come from Costco in the future. None of it is particularly fashionable, or glamorous, but very, very, practical.

On a side, note, B and I got engaged! more to come on that later.

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THLT COS shirtdress blundstone2

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sweater and dress:cos – leggings: costco – boots: blundstone – bracelet: julia szendrei

Day of Silence

Last week the Gay-Straight Alliance at my school organized a Day of Silence, to represent the marginalization of LGBTQQ youth and the silencing of their voices. As part of the day of silence we wore black as a symbol of our support for our LGBTQQ students. I’m not too crazy about this outfit, and there isn’t really much to say about it, except for the fact that this new sweater of mine from COS has extra long sleeves, and thumb holes.

Instead, I’ll tell you about my nightmare of a morning, and how glad I am for not flipping out. As a teacher, there are a lot of things worse than technology not working.  A fight could happen, a kid could lose it and cuss you out, you could lose your shit and cry in front of a class. Today though, it really felt like one of the worst mornings, ever. In retrospect, it wasn’t even close to being the worst, but it sure felt that way by the time I got a breather from students.

So…there is this cool new documentary called Before the Flood out about climate change. The 9th grade bio teacher who told me about it said her kids really got into it, and she even had a worksheet ready to go!  I was all set for a chill day of watching a documentary and discussing the juicy bits. I bought the movie on iTunes, and watched it myself last night to prep. Come 1st period this morning, I was hit with a High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) error when I tried to play the darn movie.

It was like dead air on the radio station as I scrambled to troubleshoot the Promethian Board and my laptop display settings. No luck. I could feel my blood pressure rising as the kids stared at me blankly. One kid decided it was cool to yell “just play it already!” or something to that effect. I told the kids to work on their homework while I tried to figure it out, the stress constriction forming in my chest and throat. For the rest of the period, I tried to trouble shoot. As the bell rang, I found the same movie, the full version, online for free. OMFG. As I’m recounting my morning story, my stress levels are going up again. So I’m going to stop here and go be one with my couch. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

THLT cos2

THLT cos

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glasses: warby parker – sweater: cos – belt: banana republic (old) – jeans: f21 (old) – shoes: target

I’m No Expert on Cat-Calling

I just finished up sexual health week in my bio class, where we talked about STIs, contraceptives, and I answered a hundred burning questions from teenagers about sex (both as a noun and as a verb). We ended the week with consent as the discussion topic of the day, and it spilled out into a whole new can of worms that I’ve been mulling over for the past few days — rape culture in high school.

A few disclaimers to start with: I’m not an expert on anything.  I’m not an expert in teaching, not an expert in science, not an expert in rape culture, not an expert in sexual health, not an expert in psychology, not even an expert in fashion (which is what this blog is all about). I’m also not intending to make blanket statements about any groups of people. I may inadvertently do so in this post, but please know that it is not my intent to create nor perpetuate stereotypes about any groups or communities. So, take this for what it is – a teacher who is struggling with how to approach a sensitive topic with her teenage students.

I started the lesson with a warm-up, asking kids to respond to this comic I found from an old Huffington Post article. Responses in my  first period class (non-honors Bio) ranged from “some of the things being said aren’t bad at all” and “she’s getting complimented”, to “she looks angry”. Responses in 3rd and 5th (Honors Bio) were more what I expected to hear, such as “she’s being cat-called and it’s gross”. Following the warm-up, we watched this video about a woman walking the streets of NYC for 10 hours and getting cat-called a ridiculous number of times. The conversations exploded the moment the video finished in every class, but the difference in the tone of the classes was striking.

In first period, the conversation was dominated by the boys (and one girl) with comments such as “well, she was walking down by the clubs, so what would you expect?” and “that’s rude! she should say thank you when people say good morning!”. Girls are already out numbered in this class, and most of them pretty much kept quiet unless I called on them.  A couple girls tried to argue back with the boys, but they ended up getting drowned out. One kid said something along the lines of “well, you know, she’s got curves and she’s wearing tight pants, you know, how can people ignore that?” The most vocal girl was agreeing with the boys – even going so far as to say the guy in the video who followed the woman for 5 minutes was “just going in the same direction, what’s wrong with that?” My jaw just hit the floor at that point.

This was when it really hit me (at 8 in the morning) how grossly ill-prepared  I was for this conversation that was happening around me. These are teenage boys (and a girl), earnestly and innocently having a conversation that essentially perpetuates rape culture in our society – victim blaming, mansplaining, and #notallmen. The saddest thing of all was when I moved the conversation on to Brock Turner, a couple girls said, “it’s sad, but that’s what we expect now”. *tears*

My 3rd and 5th periods were so different from this – girls spoke up, the boys agreed with the girls, and even expressed solidarity with the woman in the video.  *tears* One kid mentioned that a girl from 1st period had warned her that she “was going to get so mad about class today”.

In the end, I failed my kids big time on this.  I hadn’t created enough of a safe space for my girls to speak up. I assumed the kids were mature enough to tackle these sensitive subjects and I assumed they’d all agree that cat-calling was a negative thing to do. I failed to recognize and anticipate past experiences of my students (one kid told a story about when he had paid a genuine compliment to a stranger who misunderstood and cussed him out and how he’s still upset about it).  I was woefully unprepared for what happened. I should have paid closer attention and structured the lesson to give girls opportunities to share in smaller groups. I should have designed a pre-lesson that focused on empathy. I should have done a lot of things, and next year, there will be changes.

Or…maybe I should just leave it up to the experts? Who are these experts in high school? I know some of my colleagues also struggle with this. When I asked around, I heard that one year an English teacher taught A Streetcar Named Desire, and some kids said that Blanche deserved what she got (rape). Who’s taking this on and is it even our place? Is this one of those things were I’m stepping out of line as a biology/science teacher? I really don’t have an answer to this. Reader, do you?

In the meantime, here’s an outfit from this past week.  Moving through my Australian COS haul slowly. A lovely kid in 6th period (AP Bio) said that my “outfit is on point today, Miss.”  *tears*

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top: cos – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: cole hahn

Weird Teacher Dresses

A couple of things from today: I wore a weird dress, and it’s been a weird (but cool) week. This week has been my sexual health week in bio class. During this week, we talk about HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and consent. This also means that sexual health week is when I will answer any and all questions students have (submitted anonymously) regardless of how graphic or silly. Some questions are super science-y, some earnest, and some questions require a quick Urban Dictionary search.As to be expected, teenagers are very curious about “all of the sex”. I get questions about everything, and every year I try to be as scientifically open and honest with these kids as I can.  It has been an interesting, but awesome start of the week!

Now this dress, is just weird, but I really like it! I have to be careful though, since there are no actual sleeves on this dress, just holes for your arms to stick out of. So the higher I raise my arms, the higher the hemline climbs.  I kept my arms practically glued to my sides all day. I picked this dress up from COS while I was in Melbourne this past summer.  We have COS here in the states, but not anywhere near Denver. COS is weird – I think of it as the Swedish minimalist-but-architecturally-interesting-older-sister of H&M. Naturally, I looove this stuff.  Lately, I find myself weaning off of the young-Brooklyn-hipster-Madewell aesthetic and moving on to the more mature-but-interesting-natural look that I often see on (also very hipster) places like Kinfolk. It’s all very shallow, I know. But this is my shallow little hobby, and I’m ok with that.

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glasses: warby parker – cardigan and dress: cos – shoes: steve madden – watch: pebble

Keep Calm and…

Today was the first day back from our week long Thanksgiving Break.  I was NOT ready to come back – a week of lounging around the house stuffing my face wasn’t nearly enough!  It was rough getting back into the groove today and by the time my last section rolled around, my patience had gone out the window.  Normally, I love my 6th period – they’re a rowdy, noisy, chatty bunch who as a whole are an awesome group of kids.  Sometimes, their shenanigans can get to me and push all my buttons all at the same time.  Today was one of those days and I got angry…but now I feel bad for getting angry.  They’re teenagers who just have a harder time focusing on Biology after they’ve already been in school for 6 hours (kids here have 8 hour school days — I think it’s ridiculous).  I should have kept calm and…let them be teenagers.

These booties are from Zara, a few years ago.  They’re pretty bad-ass, and I got many compliments on them today from students and adults alike.  I don’t wear them that often, for no good reason at all.  My top is from COS, a H&M spin off with a store in Manhattan and is also available online in the US.  I picked this one up over the summer while visiting New York.  I love the shape since it has so much room in the belly area but is still fitted around the shoulders (a trapeze top?).  The fabric is also a perfectly drapey material.    Lastly, I got a technology hand-me-down from B, his Pebble watch.  Winning.

forever 21 high waisted jeans

zara studded boots

pebble watch

cos shirt

zara boots

teacher outfits
cardigan: uniqlo – top: cos – jeans: f21 – boots: zara – watch: pebble – gold bracelet: madewell – jade bracelet: somewhere in china