It is that time of year when the highway exits back up with cars packed to the gill- full of parents, their college-aged children, and excited anticipation for the coming school year. We here at the Scholars are excited to report back about our summer adventures, our own hopes and dreams for the coming school year, and what we’re loving (and hating) in back-to-school looks.

For our inaugural 2016-2017 school year post, we each are going to share what we are loving and wearing these days.

*Featured pic from Alex’s going away party, where a rare 3/5 of us were assembled! Taneem is still #SSS (Sartorial Scholars Squad) but will be taking a break as she begins a new tenure track position!


This fall is the first in 24 years that I haven’t gone ‘back to school’–either attending or teaching classes. It. Is. So. Weird. No, I haven’t graduated–this semester I’m out of funding and finishing up my dissertation. As many of you may know, I’m doing this is Ye Olde Big Apple! After 8 years together, 6 of them long distance, and 1 of them married, I am shacking up with my husband to get this thing done. So in the Great Geographic Scholar Shakeup (Cindy’s the only one of us in the same place as last year) I’ll be reporting from NYC.

How I Spent My Summer

after finding out I had blood clots…in five veins. whoops.

At the beginning of June, I danced a little too long and too hard at my favorite dance night in Cbus, knowing it would be my last. I boogie-oogi
e-oogied til I just couldn’t boogie no more–I ruptured a tendon and tore some calf muscles, and shook up my MCL. Then I developed blood clots, and…it was a mess. So I’ve been on crutches the whole summer, and not leaving the house too much. Not to mention packing up my apartment in filthy clothes with my sainted mother. Now that the NYC apartment is set up and I’m recovering, I’m looking forward to a little more mobility and with it more dressing up! Which brings us to:

Fall Fashion Inspiration

To be honest, I don’t have a vision for this fall at all. I don’t have much structure in my life broadly speaking, my body is differently shaped given injury and new meds, I don’t have much spending money. and I’m out of outfit composition practice. So, if our dear readers have any inspiration they want to pass on to me…I’ll take it!

New Maybelline ‘Loaded Bolds’ Clockwise from L: Violet Vixen, Gone Greige, Midnight Blue. So creamy.

What I do know is I want to wear these new lippies^, and I’ll be rocking my ‘tattooed’ compression stocking, which I did with fabric marker. My precious patent leather chucks were sacrificed to this summer and having to wear only sneaks, so I’ll be looking for replacements soon.


A new school year and a new university and a new college and a new department and a new program! I have a Visiting Assistant Professor split appointment at the University of Iowa in the College of Education (Department of Teaching & Learning: Language, Literacy and Culture; English Education; Elementary Education) and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (English). I have no idea how I’m supposed to fit all of that on a business card!

tl:dr version: I’m at University of Iowa and am teaching Children’s Literature this semester.

How I spent my summer

I traveled. A lot. After 8 months away from my husband due to the dreaded two body problem, I joined him after the end of his research trip in Turkey, visiting Istanbul, Kütahya, Ephesus, and Izmir.* A layover night in a resort town near Athens, Greece, then onto Milan, Florence, and Rome. My husband surprised me with a trip to Paris, and another layover night outside of Dublin. We also visited Chicago twice, and made it back home to Niagara Falls, NY, and visited friends in Buffalo, with day trips to Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake. I have kicked my suitcase to the bottom of the basement, and I don’t want to see that bag for a long time.

*We left Turkey (as scheduled) the day after the attack in Ataturk airport, but before the attempted coup of Erdogan, and the subsequent “university purge” (that is, the suppression of college professors, teachers, and other thinkers who might dissent, in addition to the crackdown against journalists and media). We visited during Ramadan and were wonderfully treated by university professors, who invited us into their homes for feasts, and now many of them are suspended, fired, or forced to consider changing careers or relocating to a different country. I have no idea how to support those disenfranchised colleagues.

Fall Fashion Inspiration

For so many obvious reasons, I’m loving the ruffles, velvet, dark florals, and other gothic, Victorian/Edwardian, and Renaissance details I saw all over the Fall 2016 catwalk. No minimalism here. Layers and layers of prints and colors and textures–oh my! (As an example, here’s a great collage from InStyle of what they are referring to as the “Mad Maximalist”:

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Colleen’s First Day Back Look (inspired by Alice in Wonderland #ThematicDressing)


I’ve actually been at the university all summer, aside from when I was traveling and taking my requisite ten days off. Here is a compilation of pictures that accurately depicts my beautiful summer, which included a lot of gorgeous skies, beer, and Beyoncé.

Oh, and I’m blonde now. Here’s my progression from bleach no. 1 to bleach no. 2.

Jury is still out on if I’m having more fun, but it’s been interesting finding my new color palette. I no longer look good in orange, guys. So bear with me as I try to relearn how to style myself.

Cindy’s First Day Back Look


This is my first semester back in the material classroom in a year. Last year I taught online while I conducted my dissertation field research in Belgrade, Serbia. I cannot wait to get back to teaching in person!

How I spent my summer

  • Getting to know my sweet baby niblet who was born at the beginning of summer
  • Readjusting to life stateside
  • Dissertating
  • Attending a million weddings (or least it felt like a million)
  • Snuggling with my corgis

Sonnet’s First Day Back Look (Gracie is the best accessory)

Fall Fashion Inspiration

In addition to binge-watching Stranger Things, GOT, The Bachelorette, and Supernatural, I’ve been on a mega Star Trek Voyager kick lately. Thus, this fall I am taking inspiration from 1990s Star Trekkian futuristic garb (think Kes, Seven, and Captain Janeway).

Additionally, I’m channeling mid-series Denise Huxtable. I LOVE Lisa Bonet with short hair (pre-Hillman and Olivia and her hot dad). TBH, though, I love Lisa Bonet in all her style iterations. That being said, when I’m not doing structured tailored looks, I’m doing oversized layers, power clashing, and (of course) menswear.

We hope your summers were excellent and your semesters are off to a good start. We are pumped to be back, and looking for guest contributors and Reader Roundups! Send us your back to school outfits with #SSBacktoSchool on Insta, Twitter, or Facebook, and tag us in your fall inspiration! (Or, write us about your approach for this year! If it’s about you, and clothes, we want to see it. You can always reach us at