This week, I went with Jeff to a panel discussion on campus. I'm not going to lie to you. My motivation for going was equal parts interest in the topic and interest in the reception after the panel. I've been to a few receptions since my fiancé started teaching at the university, and they're always rather impressive. In addition, I haven't met very many people in Chicago yet, so I like to go to these events as a way to meet new people.
At this point, you may be wondering: "what does all this have to do with the title of the post?" Here's the answer:
This is a fairly standard 'Emily in a professional setting' outfit. This dress, along with all the other black and white dresses in my closet, were staples of my teaching wardrobe. As a rather young professor who looked even younger than my actual age, I made a herculean effort to dress professionally even though I avoided pants and heels like the plague. The plague of discomfort, that is. I wanted my students to take me seriously, and for me, this was best accomplished by dressing the part, not by acting with a level of formality that looks completely unnatural on me. Thus, my teaching wardrobe was made up of dresses and an epic variety of black boots.
Actually, during my first two years as a TA in grad school, I did wear heels. Because I was only a couple of years older than my students, and because petite, young-looking women aren't given the sort of automatic respect that people afford to men, I felt that I needed to wear heels to look the part. I remember intentionally wearing my clickiest shoes on the days I'd hand back papers, just to make myself feel a bit more secure (and hopefully, to ward off grade complaints that attacked my competence and knowledge of my subject.) My knee injury changed all that. No heels -- doctor's orders. And truthfully, when you can barely walk for the pain, it's not much of a sacrifice to give up heels. I've rehabbed my knee to the point that I can get away with the occasional heel, provided it isn't too high, but when I know I'll be walking or standing a lot, I prefer flat shoes. But I digress. Back to the outfit!
The single most exciting part of this outfit is my new BB-8 brooch! It came this week, and I was over the moon with excitement. I basically carried it around my apartment for the rest of the day. It was my second order from Femme De Bloom, and I could not wait to wear my first piece of Force Awakens swag!
Taking selfless with an old iPhone is actually harder than just using my old point-and-shoot, because the front camera is so useless!
I've been too lazy to take photos on campus thus far, because I don't feel like lugging my tripod around in the cold, and I don't know what to do with my coat while I take photos. Today, though, I was able to dragoon my sometimes-photographer into my service and get a few shots with lovely backdrops! The architecture here is truly breathtaking. It's very different from any of the universities I've attended or worked at; it really makes me feel as if I'm at Hogwarts.
The reading room inside this building is basically the Great Hall of Hogwarts. We were running a bit behind, so I couldn't pop in and take a photo, but I will in the future!
Golden Hour is the best hour.
The panel wasn't especially impressive, but the reception was worth it. I've discovered that the fare at private-school receptions is much more lavish than what I had as a student at state universities, and I've proven myself completely unashamed to stuff my face around Jeff's colleagues. The room where the reception was held was pretty fancy, too. I think it's one of the undergrad dining halls, but it reminds me of the dining hall I saw when I visited my best friend at Yale.
Chandeliers, vaulted ceilings, gorgeous windows, and exposed beams are necessary accoutrements to the life of the mind. I couldn't get a clear shot of the portraits of former college presidents that line the hall because I was surrounded by normal-sized people and their heads blocked my way.
By the time we got home, I was completely stuffed and ready to lie down for a while, so we watched Jeopardy! and then I composed this post. I didn't feel uncomfortable in my dress, though, which was great, as it means I can add this dress to my 'outfits for face-stuffing' list.
I promised Jeff that I wouldn't put any pics of him on this blog, but you can see his shadow here. I didn't have the heart to make him retake the full-length shots, but most of the dress is visible, at least.
Dress: Banana Republic
Boots: TJ Maxx
Brooch: Femme De Bloom