The Goddess offers fashion advice...and I love the results

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgA while back I sent the following letter to my dear friend Dr. Isis at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, because we all know who wears the hot shoes around ScienceBlogs.

Dearest Isis,

Though we may not always see eye to eye on the practicality of footwear, I adore your sense of style. Both your writing and your wardrobe choices are hot! Your Letters to our Daughters project has been blowing my mind with its awesomeness. You are truly a goddess of style and substance. I implore the goddess to spend some of her time to help me with a fashion challenge.

The academic year is finally over, and just as I am turning up the heat on my science, the climate is turning up the heat on me. In Mystery City, it's HOT and humid in the summer. But in my building, the AC runs on overdrive. So I've got to balance sweating on the walk in to work with freezing as I sit at my computer, cranking out papers. Most summer days I don't interact with many people, aside from the daycare teachers, so I tend to go pretty casual. Last summer, I wore sandals, capris, and a plain colored t-shirt. But I usually ended up frozen by mid-day, and threw an oversized cardigan over the whole thing for the afternoon. And sometimes, I'd end up in a meeting, feeling a little sloppy.

So here's my plea: Please, oh goddess of style, recommend a blazer or sweater that will be versatile enough to see me through summer work sessions in a frigid office and impromptu meetings across campus. Ideally this is something that I could hang behind my office door, pull it on as needed, and it would coordinate with almost anything. Does such a blazer exist? Because if it does exist, surely La Isis can help me find it.

Your adoring Scibling,


I included the following photo with my letter
Sciencewoman pic.jpg

Figure 1. ScienceWoman and Minnow showing off their typical 8 am apparel. Both models picked their own outfits. Minnow is the one still in her jammies, and who has yet to learn about mixing patterns and colors appropriately. ScienceWoman is the one wearing sandals of which Dr. Isis is not likely to approve.

The goddess has deigned to answer the mere mortal's request, and you just have to click on over to her place to see what she recommends...and what's she's done with my feet!

More like this

But I like your sandals! (I prefer Chacos, mostly because mine have lasted for 10 years and still don't stink. But yours are cute.)

(I might order one of the cardigans that Dr. Isis suggests, though...)

All you need now is to win that coral necklace.

By Female Enginee… (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

as you know, I have the same sense of style that you do... the question and advice are both great! I haven't thought of denim jackets since junior high, but now I can see the appeal again... and I want one :) I think I'll look for the cardigan at Target too. now if I could just figure out how to shop for clothes with a 2-year old....

By soil mama (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

For oh so many years, I kept a complete "appropriate" outfit or two hung up behind my office door and the related shoes in my file cabinet or under my desk. On a couple occasions, caught off guard by a suddenly scheduled meeting, I arrived in a long lab coat covering my too casual clothes, and was greeted with "Sorry to take you away from the lab, but this is important!" Other times, I put on my muddy field clothes (boots and jeans), arrived slightly late and disheveled looking, which also elicited a similar response.

Soil Mama,
Re: shopping with a 2yr old at Target

This one is easy. You buy a pretzel/icee/muffin at Target or you bring a stash of whatever is your kid's favorite snack. You want somethin that isn't too sticky and takes a while to eat. Warning: when the food runs out you've got about 5 minutes to get to the checkout. Maybe more if the kid is well rested, and definitely less if it's naptime.

By Female Enginee… (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink


I have a courdoroy (sp?) 'jean' jacket that I got a few years ago from Eddie Bauer that I love for something-better-than-a-sweater also. Mine is a port-wine color so it adds some 'umpf' to my basic tan cropped pants and t-shirt...

I love those shoes. I may have to find some here.

Love the shoes... I have them in a lighter color. Maybe its a PNW thing? Can't beat Merrills for comfort or quality. Just move over to a little less teva style sandal if you are worried about formality.

I'm the queen of a cardigan or chunky cable knit but structured sweaters in grad school. Pre grad school when I worked for an (informal) industry company, I had two stylish, fitted, cropped black and brown blazers in my office for these issues. I've been lusting over this fun summer jacket for some time now... pretty feminine, but fun.

Right now, in my location and in grad school, tshirts do the trick. But my one other fashion suggestion - also done when working in industry - is to trade out over time your t-shirts for light, short sleeve cotton sweaters with nice details.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, and for the support of my footwear choices. :) Those are timberland sandals, btw.

To the Target shoppers: The cardigan appears to only be available on-line. Which makes the 2 year old problem moot. Also, right now if you spend $50 on, you get free shipping. I ordered two cardigans and couple t-shirts and I was good to go. (It helps that I had a $50 gift card left from a while ago.)

DRD: I agree with the replacing t-shirts with sweaters suggestion. During the academic year I don't wear t-shirts and have switched them out for a variety of 3/4 and short-sleeved sweaters. Subtly, but noticeably, more professional. By the time summer rolls around, I'm ready for a break from the sweaters. By the way, Ann Taylor Loft is my favorite spot for sweaters.

Lab Lemming: I've got a full wall of windows that cannot be opened.

I've ordered a couple of things from Isis's list. When they get here, I'll show them off.

If you know where the thermostat is, can you leave an ice block on top of it?

When I was an undergrad on the East coast of the USA, our building was so air-conditioned that when the fume hoods drew in outside air, the humidity would condense on the glass and fog it up. As if people actually be able to see their experiments...