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Dressing the Part . . . for Girls!

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Maybe I missed it, but does anyone have suggestions for comfortable for walking but also dressier shoes?

Heels and those cute little ballet flats are out for me since I have to use orthotics (it's hard plastic so doesn't fit in heels and pops out of flats if the backs aren't deep enough)

My mom has the same problem! Have you checked out Land's End?

I have a pair of Mary-Jane-esque shoes that are Land's End brand but bought at Sears and I LIVE in them. I can wear them with or w/o socks, get away with them with skirts, and are more professional than tennies but just as comfortable and quite sturdy for walking around. I've had them a few years, and I can't find mine on the website; these are the closest I can find on Land's End's site: http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-chalet-mary-jane-shoes~225225_253.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::DCT&CM_MERCH=search-_-mary+jane&origin=search

... and these are the closest at Sears: http://www.sears.com/i-love-comfort-women-s-charley-casual-shoe/p-05487475000P?prdNo=6&blockNo=6&blockType=G6

Good luck!

http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-chalet-mary-jane-shoes~225225_253.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::DCT&CM_MERCH=search-_-mary+jane&origin=search

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My mom has the same problem! Have you checked out Land's End?

I have a pair of Mary-Jane-esque shoes that are Land's End brand but bought at Sears and I LIVE in them. I can wear them with or w/o socks, get away with them with skirts, and are more professional than tennies but just as comfortable and quite sturdy for walking around. I've had them a few years, and I can't find mine on the website; these are the closest I can find on Land's End's site: http://www.landsend....e&origin=search

... and these are the closest at Sears: http://www.sears.com...=6&blockType=G6

Good luck!

http://www.landsend....e&origin=search

I think my mom has a pair very similar to what you posted from sears. I never thought of lands end either (I usually just think of them for backpacks) Thanks!

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Just spent the last week amassing my grad school wardrobe, which I've been having a ton of fun with. Starting my master's in a month has provided the perfect motivation to start dressing more like an adult, while still maintaining my style and personality. I found the blogs What Would a Nerd Wear (whatwouldanerdwear.blogspot.com) and Academic Chic (academichic.com) particularly inspiring. What worked for me was to look through these blogs and make a list of the things that I needed- versatile boots, scarves, cardigans, tights, skirts, etc.- and then to shop the sale racks at all of my favorite stores as well as places like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls (which I appreciate so much right now). I'm splurging on a great pair of boots (eyeing these ones, in multiple colors: http://www.dsw.com/s...tegory=cat20173) and a great messenger bag (just bought one from here: http://www.etsy.com/people/chicleather), because I know I'll wear them every day. Looks like my daily apparel is going to consist of knit tops, scarves, cardigans, leather boots or flats, and nice jeans- can't wait! Focusing on looking the part has helped me to put my anticipation about school starting toward a worthy cause- it's easier to set aside the nerves and antsy-ness when you're busy getting ready.

Anyone else have favorite stores to find grad school clothes at?

Edited by rockandroll

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Anyone else have favorite stores to find grad school clothes at?

I was having an impossible time finding clothes that fit this year so I ended up spending most of the summer sewing. It definitely gave me something to focus on until the puppy came and the packing started. Aside from getting a pair of trouser jeans, I think I'm pretty well set for the fall. Just picked up a great shirt at the Campbell & Kate sample sale the other week for 1/5 of what they normally go for, so I even have a white shirt that I don't feel frumpy in! (may even wear it for the first day, it fits that well)

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I'm splurging on a great pair of boots (eyeing these ones, in multiple colors: http://www.dsw.com/s...tegory=cat20173) and a great messenger bag (just bought one from here: http://www.etsy.com/people/chicleather), because I know I'll wear them every day.

Boots are my #1 splurge, and I have several pairs that I have splurged on. I wear them ALL THE TIME so it's not uncommon for me to drop $300 on a pair.

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Boots are my #1 splurge, and I have several pairs that I have splurged on. I wear them ALL THE TIME so it's not uncommon for me to drop $300 on a pair.

Boots are the only clothing item I can spend decent money on, without feeling guilty, because they are so versatile. I wear boots pretty much from September to June. The same pair can work for fall, winter, or spring depending on what I wear with them.

I'll wear rubber boots if it's really raining, and I have a pair of big stompin' Sorel boots for snow/slush walking.

But a nice pair of leather or suede boots are good for everything else.

I've been able to get some good deals (50 - 70% off) on pricey boots from DSW by shopping during the "off" seasons (spring and early summer usually). As expected, the clearance selection tends to be limited, but I've gotten lucky a few times.

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For the boot ladies- these are possibly one of the most comfortable all-weather boots ever but I'm concerned if I wore them in the city, even switching to nicer shoes once indoors I'd get very weird looks. Thoughts?

http://www.doversadd...oot/p/X1-38762/

http://www.doversaddlery.com/middleburg-all-weather-boot/p/NA-3854A/&re=viewbuyrec/ (better idea of how they look on, they wear so beautifully too)

(I've been trying to find justification for these for the last 10 years but never had the budget to spend 150+ on tall boots I couldn't show in but I killed my teal paisley 15 dollar rain boots this year so...).

Edited by GreenePony

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You guys make me feel better about eyeing boots that cost $250. It's true- if I find a pair that I like, I will wear them every single day from fall to spring (which is like, September to May in Boston). I'm being more frugal with clothes because they just don't need the same ability to take wear and tear that shoes do- my school is a hilly campus, and I know I'll be doing a lot of walking. Also, pretty sure that I just found an eBay seller that sells my boots for about $100 less than DSW, in almost every size and color... SCORE.

And GreenePony- good for you for sewing things yourself! That's impressive.

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Any thoughts on bags? I used shoulder bags all through undergrad, and have a great goldenrod one that is starting to fall apart. I would really like to get a new one, preferably also in a goldenrod-ish color (it has become one of my favorite colors!) or something else that is a little fun but can also go with everything, that also has a zippered top to protect against rain. I've been looking around but haven't found anything I really like. I don't want to switch to a backpack, but I also need something that has room or can grow a bit to accomodate several books, laptop, etc. What do you all plan to carry your stuff around in?

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Any thoughts on bags? I used shoulder bags all through undergrad, and have a great goldenrod one that is starting to fall apart. I would really like to get a new one, preferably also in a goldenrod-ish color (it has become one of my favorite colors!) or something else that is a little fun but can also go with everything, that also has a zippered top to protect against rain. I've been looking around but haven't found anything I really like. I don't want to switch to a backpack, but I also need something that has room or can grow a bit to accomodate several books, laptop, etc. What do you all plan to carry your stuff around in?

I bought mine from here: http://www.etsy.com/people/chicleather. Mine's just plain leather, but I was looking for a really sturdy, professional yet stylish messenger bag with room for my laptop.

This person has some yellow ones: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Adeleshop?ref=seller_info

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For girls with orthodics it just depends on the thickness of your orthodics. Mine are medium thickness and I love me too shoes. http://www.zappos.com/me-too-womens-shoes~yThe best part is they have memory foam inserts which keeps my feet comfy all day long. Though the inserts can be removed if you need more room for orthodics.

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Ugh, the handbag issue is so annoying. I'm still using a Le Pilage, but I don't know if that's going to be comfortable enough. I dislike all-leather bags for some reason, so I can only hope to dream of figuring out what to do.

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I've got to ask -- is there a male version of this thread? Or would that be too hopeful.. The Big Bang Theory doesn't exactly showcase the best PhD attire for guys in the sciences (oh Sheldon).

Read through what some of you ladies had to say (great stuff), and I also worry about having to dress down in the sciences with the fear of coming off like I care more about my appearance than my actual work (not the case). I've been in an office environment for 3 years and have acquired quite a bulk of what I consider wonderful business casual pieces.

Don't want to dress down to a t-shirt and jeans routine (at least not until I've got a good dissertation beard going).

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I've got to ask -- is there a male version of this thread? Or would that be too hopeful.. The Big Bang Theory doesn't exactly showcase the best PhD attire for guys in the sciences (oh Sheldon).

Yep! Here it is:

I agree; Sheldon doesn't offer much guidance. Howard is the stylish one, so you better take his lead and stock up on tight pants and loud belt buckles.

The nice thing with the sciences (well, from my experience as a physics undergrad, at least) is that the people who look like they don't care about fashion aren't making a statement -- they really do not care about fashion. So if you're dressed a bit nicer than they are, I don't think they'll care. The profs might notice, but at my school the young assistant profs wore ties, even in the land of physics where socks, sandals, jeans, and a Pink Floyd shirt make up a perfectly acceptable outfit for the tenured -- so I think it can only help to reflect your relative maturity (in a positive way) to those that matter. (Just my 2 cents.)

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Ugh, the handbag issue is so annoying. I'm still using a Le Pilage, but I don't know if that's going to be comfortable enough. I dislike all-leather bags for some reason, so I can only hope to dream of figuring out what to do.

I'm not a fan of leather either, but I'm also idly considering getting a different bag. I used a regular plain black backpack with a built-in laptop compartment this past year (and all through undergrad), but I've sort of heard that backpacks look "unprofessional" (e.g. at conferences and the like), especially for women, so…anything forumites particularly like or have found useful? (Another advantage of a backpack is that the weight is more symmetrically distributed, at least left to right, so I'm also wondering about relative comfort levels.)

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I'm also interested in knowing more about what bags people carry and find comfortable. During my master's I used a Nautica Weekender bag. It's very spacious but the straps became uncomfortable very quickly, as wasn't very professional.

There was recent discussion about the topic on the Chronicles forum. Check it out here: http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,90061.0.html

There's some great suggestions from companies such as Fossil, Kenneth Cole and Timbuk2.

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Yeah, I think I read at least parts of that thread before. I must just be really picky, because I couldn't really see myself actually using any of those. (Like one poster, I found a lot of them too "masculine"-looking, or else impractical: I know that people use briefcases, but I'd rather have something I could carry on my shoulder(s).) But in my surfing around, I discovered that Vera Bradley apparently makes messenger bags, which are said to be quite spacious and, from the dimensions, would certainly fit my small-ish laptop. That might be nice in one of the darker colours…lack of waterproofness would be less than ideal, though.

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For the past four years I've been using a Timbuk2 messenger bag that I received as a gift, and I plan to keep using it for now. It's got a variety of useable pockets, so it holds a lot, yet even when full it's not huge or in the way. Plus the back is padded so it rests against me comfortably.

I've been able to carry my laptop (and power cord), a few notebooks and folders, pens etc., graphing calculator, umbrella, water bottle, and all my purse items at once.

Mine is all black, which is versatile and professional looking, though I might have customized it with another color/pattern if I had picked it myself. It looks similar to this one (mine is probably an outdated model by now):

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/commute-messenger-2012/2238636

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But in my surfing around, I discovered that Vera Bradley apparently makes messenger bags, which are said to be quite spacious and, from the dimensions, would certainly fit my small-ish laptop. That might be nice in one of the darker colours…lack of waterproofness would be less than ideal, though.

A friend in the same program used a Vera Bradley diaper bag all through ug and I think is planning on using for grad school and it's held up pretty well. It's not waterproof but at least you can throw it in the washer when it gets gross.

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Heh, awesome. Something else to consider, now that I've been inspired by this thread to go shopping for boots. :D (I've been in grad school for a year already, but I still dress kind of like a child, which I'm slowly but surely trying to do something about.)

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I got a great Kenneth Cole leather messenger bag from Amazon for $96 (http://www.amazon.com/Kenneth-Cole-Reaction-Business-Messenger/dp/B000UN267C/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1344527710&sr=1-1&keywords=kenneth+cole+risky+business+messenger+bag) and I love it so far! Amazon has some pretty sweet deals on boots, too--I got a pair of Clarks leather boots for $90ish. Comparison shop!

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What do you wear if you are 'curvy'? I like to wear fitted clothing, but I don't want to look unprofessional. Is anybody else having this issue?

There's a difference between skin-tight and tailored. For a professional appearance you want tailored. I have a very full bust so have to walk this line carefully since I could go the easy route and buy tight jersey/knits so you can even get a hint of a waist but then I would get the strum-strum effect. Finding clothes that fit is important, even if you hate the size it's listed at (I fit anywhere from 2 to 14/16 depending on the brand and style) and then altering or having them altered to fit with the correct amount of ease. A good tailor (if you don't feel you are up to doing it yourself) is a great thing to find. Finding blogs that focus on dressing my body type helped too.

I'm not sure how you are defining 'curvy' but hourglassy's blog roll is great for covering both conventional definitions.

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There's a difference between skin-tight and tailored. For a professional appearance you want tailored. I have a very full bust so have to walk this line carefully since I could go the easy route and buy tight jersey/knits so you can even get a hint of a waist but then I would get the strum-strum effect. Finding clothes that fit is important, even if you hate the size it's listed at (I fit anywhere from 2 to 14/16 depending on the brand and style) and then altering or having them altered to fit with the correct amount of ease. A good tailor (if you don't feel you are up to doing it yourself) is a great thing to find. Finding blogs that focus on dressing my body type helped too.

I'm not sure how you are defining 'curvy' but hourglassy's blog roll is great for covering both conventional definitions.

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Edited by quicksort

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