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Edited/Introduced by Sonnet

Last week we gave you a little teaser about our new bi-weekly round-up. Black and white Wednesday began in October 2015, when the five of us, living in three different states, and three different countries, wanted an excuse to share fly and thematic outfits. It was also a way for us to feel connected to one another and give us a sense of belonging. While we all have great support networks where we live, we are also displaced from our loved ones and friends due to career pursuits.

Since black and white is a color scheme that we (1) all have many items of clothing, and (2) look good on all of our differing skin tones, it was an obvious choice. As Colleen mentioned last week, Sartorial Scholars is not just a collective of young women scholars navigating the politics of dress and embodiment in academia, but has also developed into a sisterhood* of young women scholars surviving and thriving in the academy. I realize I am biased, but I must say, our black and white game is on point. Seriously, it’s like we’ve been doing this for six months.


hullo or buh bye

I actually have more to say about this outfit (these outfits) than I normally do. This week, for me, has been about—and I’m sorry (or not sorry) about the imagery—”peeing all over things”.

I do not take up very much space in this world. I am constantly aware of how much space I occupy, actually: I sit in window seats pressed against the window on planes, legs crossed and elbows drawn inwards. I am only loud when I am also drunk, and even then “loud” pretty much means “at a normal volume.” I cross my arms at concerts and I move away from people when they move into my space.

There are times, however, when the best therapy is to demand as much space as possible. When I am angry at a club (say, when someone has just grabbed my arm and twisted it, or when someone has solicited me for (the receiving of) oral sex), I will find the space where I can spread out and dance as violently as possible. This week, I claimed my space: I peed allllll over the place in style. I’m going to pretend that this metaphor comes from our well-timed post about black & white pets to bring this full circle. So in the spirit of peeing all over things that are mine, just like my black and white GUS, I wore black and white three times last week ( … though possibly NOT on Wednesday).

Outfit 1: Feeling hot is its own reward, or: how to style a crop top and a mini skirt for the office.

specs: Zara collared crop top, Zara mini skirt (plus leggings and tights to be more profesh), necklace from promod (?), bocage boots

Outfit 2: For when you are walking around Brussels all day. I copied one of Colleen’s signature poses in my mirror shot and went with some texture and pattern-mixing in honor of Kate’s post.

specs: crop top from somewhere I don’t remember, shorts from Francesca’s (originally bought for a swimsuit cover-up), cardigan from … somewhere, fancy earrings from a secondhand store in Budapest, and my comfortable grey Reef boots.

Outfit 3: Friday wear, do not care: phasing out black and white with some blue jeggings.

specs: shirt that shrunk and now shows my belly (gd it, I’m not ALL about crop tops) from…somewhere I don’t remember (probably Forever 21), Uniqlo jeggings, Happy Socks socks for more #patternmixing, and an art deco style necklace from a cute shop in Brussels.

Apparently, I pee all over things with crop tops.


Dress (Old Navy); Tights (H&M); Winter Coat (Old Navy); Cardigan (Target); Boots (Target)

I really love this dress. It has a high gathered neckline, a key hole closure with two buttons in the back, and it has an all over wild print of flora (acorns, twirling branches and tendrils, leaves and florets) and fauna (rabbits, songbirds, and owls). I can wear it loose as today so that it’s a shift dress, or I belt the waist (which hikes up the skirt a few more inches). It is very short, even when unbelted, so I do  wear black tights or leggings.

SOTD: I layered Elizabeth and James Nirvana White, then Nirvana Black, and then once more with Nirvana White. The perfumes can be work separately  (I prefer the smokiness of the Black) or layered. Makeup: Urban Decay Pulp Fiction palette. It’s basically a version of their “Naked” collection, with a How-to for smoky eyes. And it’s covered in quotations from the film.


Today’s outfit is another conference chic look, although this was just for a workshop, so I decidedly did not need to look profesh, just put together. I’ve been gravitating toward darks and neutrals all winter, and this is the culmination of that. Hopefully my psyche will adjust to pastels for spring.

Specs: “Blazer” is from H&M, jeans and shirt from Old Navy (shirt is so old and has a hole in the back, but with this outfit, no one’s the wiser! #brokegirltips), Report shoes (as I said here, I love them, and they are currently on sale for 20$!!!), necklace from F21, and the bag is Raj.


Last week was a busy one for this writer/activist/academic/teacher. I had meetings and interviews in the mornings and student conferences in the evenings (since I am six hours ahead of my students in the U.S.). Thus, I wore two outfits last Wednesday. The first is my field researcher look- a bit more casual, but more reflective of “Sonnet in every day settings.” The other look is my best “teacher look.”

Early in the day- me about to go do an interview with an informant. I call this taking power clashing/pattern mixing to the max.

My pattern sweater is Target, sleeveless collar blouse is an OLD Forever 21 top, scarf is vintage, leather jacket is Michael Kors. Sunglasses are from a street vendor in Knez Mihajlova.

Since I only *see* my students a few times in the semester (online class and all), I try and dress up for these one-on-one meetings. These pics were taken late in the day and you can see how much the light changes in my sitting room.

Blazer is H&M, black sleeveless blouse is Zara, my go-to burgundy treggings are Terranova, and my best friend loafers (Cindy and I have matching) are Zara.


I have A LOT of black clothes, white(ish) clothes, and black-and-white(ish) clothes. I had a number of ideas floating around in preparation for Wednesday, but when it came time to get dressed I picked this shirt off the floor and held it up to this skirt, which I had just tried on to see if it still fit. Inspired by Kate’s post on pattern mixing, I went for it! It’s pretty bold, even for me, but I think it works because of the shared ivory background color and the connecting/grounding work of the longer black sweater and the black tights and boots. I kinda love it.


Specs: Shirt is J. Crew factory, skirt Target, fleece lined tights, Blondo boots, TJ Maxx cashmere/wool sweater. New lipstick! It’s slightly less neon than it appears here. It’s Maybelline’s Electric Pink in the ‘Color Sensational Creamy Matte‘ line. A+


While wearing this outfit, I saw another trailer for Zootopia,  one that included Assistant Mayor Bellweather. I freaked out a little–we have the exact same style! From the large glasses to the full skirts, patterns, and down to wearing a bangle! Not to mention our top knots!

Like Cindy, the Black and White theme stuck in my mind all week, so here’s a quick look at Thursday teaching outfit (L) and Friday library outfit (R).

Join us next week! 

Be a part of Black & White Wednesday! Send us your fave black and white looks with a short description of what you’re wearing and we’ll share it next week. You can send to or tweet us @sartorialschols or tag us on Instagram @sartorialscholars.

Compulsory MJ track for Black and White Wednesday

*Note: when we use the term “sisterhood” we are employing it in a colloquial way. We are fully aware of the historic connotations of the term “sisterhood,” and its connections to second wave feminism and the language of “global sisterhood” that developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Hence this disclaimer. For more on the critique of global sisterhood rhetoric and westocentric universalization of women’s experiences I highly recommend reading Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses” and “Under Western Eyes Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles.”