By Colleen

It’s wintertime. Due to ice storms, classes were cancelled on Monday night and all day Tuesday, and that meant I had to reschedule a world of student conferences.

I love meeting one-on-one with students, but 50+ freshman comp students X 20 minutes each (plus, rearranging Thursday and Friday to reschedule the ice storm conferences) and still teaching my four regularly schedule classes–and I’ve got the Student Conference blues. I decided to dress accordingly, wearing my sea of richly saturated blue pieces. 

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Oliver Sacks in blue, too

A few thoughts on this shade:

I kept thinking about Oliver Sacks–whose medical writings I adore and I hope to one day to interweave my love of the early modern macabre, medical, and scientific with such an ease of prose–and his fascination with the color blue. He took LSD once and saw indigo (when he demanded a white wall to produce the color):

Luminous, numinous, it filled me with rapture: it was the color of heaven, the color, I thought, that Giotto spent a lifetime trying to get but never achieved—never achieved, perhaps, because the color of heaven is not to be seen on earth. But it existed once, I thought—it was the color of the Paleozoic sea, the color the ocean used to be. I leaned toward it in a sort of ecstasy. And then it suddenly disappeared, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness that it had been snatched away. But I consoled myself: yes, indigo exists, and it can be conjured up in the brain.

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Photograph by Tina Tyrell for New York Magazine

I was also thinking about the artist/shoe designer Valeria “ValBlu” McCulloch, who has been wearing the same  shade of Yves Klein blue for twenty-five years. McCulloch explains:

Blue is a peaceful color. The U.N. has a blue flag; all the presidential campaigns have blue. It touches every realm of life, from cosmic to future.

Sure. But  cobalt blue looks good with most skin tones, and it’s bright in these dreary mid-winter days, and maybe, it will give me peace during conference week.

Monday: See post: Menswear Monday/Hermione Granger. Taught my classes and then cancelled my evening office hours due to snow. 


IMG_2589Tuesday: CLASSES CANCELLED! So, I worked from my local crepe place, and attended a book reading in the evening at my local bookstore: Whistlestop Bookshop. I also would have been football ready for Cindy’s team

The Outfit: maroon pants (Ann Taylor Loft modern skinny); chambray shirt (Old Navy); cobalt sweater (Target); orange peacoat (Old Navy); riding boots (Target, “Colleen” style!); scarf (bazaar in Turkey); sunglasses (Betsey Johnson); $2 Target cotton gloves in grey

SOTD: Juniper Sling by Penhaligon (in the morning, and then I dropped and broke my sample bottle!): It smells like a wonderfully strong British gin (so it may have been apropos that I broke the bottle)

SOTE: La Fin Du Monde Etat Libre d’Orange: This bizarro scent combines odd notes like popcorn, black pepper, and carrot seed, but it dries down to an alternating woodsy powdery finish

NOTE: I feel that wearing ALL THE COLORS is the same as wearing monochromatic. I think all the colors together means that there can be no clashing. Blue and orange look wonderful together, and maroon and cobalt look great together, so why not mix them all? (Please see J. Brendan Shaw’s guest post on his love of wearing ALL THE COLORS!) #powerclashing


Wednesday: black and cobalt skirt (Old Navy); black layered lace fringe shell (Banana Republic); black cardigan (Target); black tights (Betsey Johnson); cobalt pumps (Old Navy); scarf (bazaar in Turkey)

SOTD: Decadence by Marc Jacob: This was my first time wearing this scent and so I don’t want to really comment other than to say that it smells like a deep purple color.

FullSizeRender-3Thursday: Thursday was a long day–on campus from 8-8, and I needed to look sharp and be comfortable: taught two classes, followed by four solid hours of back-to-back student conferences, then a colleague’s poetry reading (Nicole Santalucia’s Because I Did Not Die is so good!), and finally a party afterward (so my day did not end until 11 pm). 

The outfit: cobalt pussy bow blouse (WhoWhatWear for Target); cobalt pumps (Old Navy); JAG jeans; black velvet blazer (vintage, 1970’s, Mom’s closet); blue Old Navy pumps (lots of student presentations so I did not have to do much standing)

SOTD: Miss DiorBefore class, in the crowded hallway, two of my students were discussing smelling a delightful perfume but they didn’t know who in the hallway was the source. It wasn’t until I started pass around quizzes that one of the students shouted, “It’s your perfume! I love it!”

Note 1: I love checking out the Target collaborations, but the proportions were so odd for the WhoWhatWear collection and after trying on lots of cute pieces I only left with the above blouse. I was swimming in most tops and dresses, and needed to buy this blouse two sizes smaller than my usual size. But when it came to the skirts, the waists were much smaller than the hip proportions so I would need to go up 1-2 sizes. The lengths of the skirts and dresses were also comically long on me. (sad trombone)

Note 2: I bought these dark wash JAG jeans at a boutique store, and they look like dress-up jeans: very dark wash, trouser style, bootcut, BUT… they are pull-on jeans and so they are so comfortable. I would definitely wear these to an all-you can eat buffet. I was also convinced that they were maternity jeans at first due to the stretch waistband (not elastic) but almost a cummerbund style, but I thought, “Fuck it. These are so comfy and no one needs to know that my jeans have no buttons or zippers.” BUT NOW YOU ALL KNOW!


Friday: blue and black dress, worn as skirt (GAP); black merino wool crewneck sweater (GAP); black fleece tights (TJ Maxx); necklace (handmade Ukranian); black MaryJane shoes (two decades old, but maybe Payless?); lipstick: Passion Pop by Clinique

SOTD: Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, the Elizabeth Wakefield to the Jessica Wakefield of Narciso Rodriguez for Her (NR for Her is one of my absolute favorites, but my full size is not with me in PA!), this is a wonderful chypre with a musky base, but it is creamy and woodsy like eating a flan in a fairy tale forest.