Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Dress Like a Gentleman and a Scholar

Greetings Readers!

I love featuring friends on this blog. What can I say- I have great friends, and I love bragging about them to the world. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you all to my friend Eric. Eric is a public speaking instructor, graduate student, entrepreneur, gentleman, and the best dressed man in St. Louis (in my opinion).

Yesterday morning, I photographed Eric in his office and classroom and later interviewed him about his outfit, style, and his website. Here is the interview, followed by Eric's retail details:

Laura (me): First of all, you are one of the best dressed people who I know! How do you do it? (ie: Where do you get your inspiration? Where do you like to shop?)

Eric: Well thanks! I'm pretty simple when it comes to clothing, I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else. I just make sure those pants are Citizen's. To be totally honest, a lot of my inspiration comes from my sister. I had no fashion sense growing up and she took me under her wing and she still picks out a lot of stuff for me. So I've learned quite a bit from her. I typically shop at J. Crew, I get lots of shirts and sweaters from them. Jeans are typically from Nordstrom's, Citizen's are the only jeans I've found in a long time that are long enough for me, and I've got a thing for Cole Haan shoes.

L: How would you define your style? (This can be a few words, sentence/s, however long you chose to articulate this answer)

E: I think my style is pretty simple. I try to be pretty classic. I don't wear a lot of "trendy" stuff (no jeggings). The biggest thing with guys clothing is just wearing things that actually fit. I really don't feel like I put tons of effort into what I wear, I just make sure the stuff I buy is the right size. A proper fit and a little color go along way.

L: Does being a public speaking instructor influence your style? If so, how?

E: I think teaching plays a role in my wardrobe. I need clothes that I can teach in, but I can't afford to buy a whole separate closet full of "teacher" clothes. So over the last couple years I've combined my personal style with my work attire. Lots of button downs and sweaters.

L: What kind of story/narrative do you tell through your style? Through this outfit?

E: Hmmmm, I typically strive to convey a look that gets people to think, "Hey, he looks friendly and I bet he could find Monaco on a map".

L: Speaking of stories. . . tell me more about the website you recently launched ( Why is it important that airline passengers are able to have a place where they can voice their stories?

E: I think a lot of people have issues with pat-downs because they have to give up control in a sense. They don't have any power in the situation, so by creating a space that allows people to share their experiences, I hope that gives people a little bit of that power back. Maybe they can't do anything about it in the moment, but afterwards they have a place to speak their mind.

L: What advice would you give to other guys about style and fashion?

E: Wear clothing that fits. Don't be afraid of shirts that have color or patterns (that doesn't mean run out and buy some Tommy Bahama stuff) but try something other than a basic white dress shirt. Also, I usually like to have two layers, so if I have a button down I typically like a sweater, vest, or jacket over it. Also, invest in a decent pair of shoes. I think shoes say a lot about a person.

L: How do you find clothing that is long enough? I know that it's difficult for taller women to find clothing- what is the world of shopping like for a tall man?

E: Oh man, finding clothing that fits is a challenge. I tend to befriend places that do alterations. Brooks Brothers alters my shirts when I buy them, because typically to get them to fit in the arms they need to take in the waist. Jeans are even harder, when I find a jean style that fits I usually buy as many colors as I can at that time because I never know when I'll find a pair that fit again. Usually only happens every couple of years haha.

L: Is there anything else you would like to add?

E: Find good deals on clothes. I have expensive tastes, but I use sites like to get really good deals. I've purchases two pairs of Cole Haan's through them for over 50% off. You gotta be quick (like a few seconds after they go on sale), but the it's worth the effort to get a $200 pair of shoes for $95. Thanks Laura!

Retail Details:

Navy Blue Blazer: J. Crew
Blue Checked Shirt: Ralph Lauren
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity
Watch: Fossil
Shoes: Cole Haan
Shades: Mosely Tribes

Thanks for the interview Eric!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Button Down Shirt. . . .

Greetings Readers!

This is what I wore on Monday, with shoes of course. This was not my favorite outfit, nor was it my least favorite outfit- but it is a great example of business professional and I had a really good hair day!

So what is business professional? Well, my concept of this term is borrowed from what I used to wear when I sold malpractice insurance to attorneys before graduate school. Here you will find: a sensible (but sweet) button down shirt, a cami for modesty, and wool blend dress pants. While this outfit is anything but spectacular, I do like it because of the colors. Often colors like black and beige (and even my dear friend, grey) can wash out my fair complexion, so I've learned how to wear colors that compliment my UV Ray resistant skin- like this pink button down shirt.

I purchased this shirt during one of the final days of Banana Republic's latest sale with the hope that someday this spring or summer I would be able to wear it with a suit to a job interview. Besides the color of this shirt, I appreciate the fit (fitted, but not too fitted), the price (just under 21.00 with my teacher discount, and the fact that this is a no iron shirt (hooray!). I think this shirt may be more spectacular than I originally imagined it to be. . .

With less than a semester left of graduate school remaining, job applications, hope for job interviews, and the dream of starting my career- everything related to the career process is currently on my mind. I'm searching for jobs (mostly) in two markets: (1) instructor positions at community colleges and small colleges in the field of communication and (2) internal communication/public relations jobs. There seem to be a few openings out there, but not as many as I hoped to find- but maybe more positions will open up as the year progresses. Does anyone have any advice?

Retail Details:

Gold (colored) and Grey Dangling Earrings: St. Louis Art Museum
Cool Pink No-Iron Button Down: Banana Republic
White Swiss Dot Cami: American Eagle Outfitters
White and Black Cross-hatched Wool Blend Pants: Banana Republic
Grey and Purple-Polka Dot Socks: The Gap
Sparkly Bow Ring: Banana Republic

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now Open for Business. . . My Etsy Shop!

Greetings Readers,

I have very exciting news. . . my Etsy shop, EclecticAndElegant, is now open for business! As of today, I have 2 items listed in my shop, but there will be more listings in the near future.

Until then, please feel free to browse the current listings in my shop and send any questions or suggestions my way! I am still very new to the Etsy experience, from the perspective of an Etsy seller- but I am so excited to be a part of that lovely community!

Here is a little preview of my listings:

shoe clips

red suede Escada heels (vintage)

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Speaking with Confidence and Conviction. . .

Here is a YouTube video that I showed my students on Friday. . .

I'll let the video speak for itself!

The Smiling Outfit

Hello Readers,

So, I still don't have a complete picture of my outfit from Wednesday (the one that gave me a permanent smile throughout the day). . . BUT I did take a few pictures with my DSLR (which thankfully is not the broken camera) of some of the outfits sweetest details.

So. . . here they are!

soft cashmere and lace

mixed media



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First Day of Classes!

Greetings Readers!

Today was the beginning of yet another journey of teaching Public Speaking. I wasn't as nervous today as I was at this time last semester- but I did have a few small fears. Last semester, both of my classes were filled with outstanding students- 36 amazing individuals who made me laugh, taught me interesting facts, and who touched my lives. As I prepared for this semester, I thought "Is it possible that I could have another batch of students like that again?"

Well, today was only day one- but I can already tell that the 40 students I met today in my classes were also a wonderful batch of students! Today we read the syllabus, went over the schedule, watched a youtube video of a kid with stage fright, AND did brief introductions. I learned my students names (okay, I'm still learning those), their hometowns, majors, year in school, interests, and interesting facts about each student.

While I wasn't very nervous, last night I still had a few butterflies in my stomach. So. . . I did what I (almost) always do before an important day- I planned my outfit. I think this outfit was one of my favorites so far- I couldn't stop smiling while I was wearing it! After teaching, my friend Megan took a picture of me in the hallway- but a few hours later I accidently dropped my camera (my little pink canon) and it broke. So. . . it may be a few days before I can get that picture up on this blog. So, to substitute the picture I've collected a few shots from the web to give you a sort of picture of this outfit.

Since this is an unusual format for my posts, I'll start these retail details from the bottom and move up

Here are my shoes:

(available here for $20 at

My tights were a color similar to the shoes, and I purchased them from the aerie store in Peoria, IL. I think the tights are available in some stores, but not available online. Here is a link to a similar pair in black, for just under $10

My dress (the leading cause for my unstoppable smile today) is from Anthropologie and it is from Tracy Reese's Plenty collection. I think we might see more of this dress in future posts!

My belt is also from Anthropologie. I'm not sure who made this belt, but on the website it was listed as the "Windmill Bow Belt." What I like most about this belt is that it is navy blue AND black- which means I can wear it with almost any color, including black and navy.

Since the weather outside is still rather frightful, and because I'm not sure if Public Speaking instructors should wear sleeveless, lacy dresses. . . I paired the dress with my favorite cardigan- a deep lavender cashmere delight that's nearing retirement. I've worn it so much that it has a small hole in one of the sleeves. This cardigan is from Martin & Osa (tear. . . if they were still around, I would buy more)

I also wore the necklace from Juicy Couture that I've worn in a few recent blog posts as well as a grey feathered headband from aerie.

I hope everyone had a very wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My very own. . . Etsy Shop!

Hello Readers!

A few posts ago, I mentioned an interest in opening an Etsy shop. After talking about this idea with my parents, and a few other people, I decided that this would be a lovely little side project. Nothing too big or time consuming, at least until May 21st (graduation!), just enough of an endeavor to provide a pleasant diversion from the stressors of grad school.

I'm still not ready to "open" the shop officially, but I am happy with my present collection. Three skirts, three dresses, and a hot pair of vintage shoes. I still want to find a few pieces of jewelry, maybe an assortment of accessories, more shoes. . . I'm not really sure- but I look forward to expanding my stock of eclectic and elegant stock!

So far, my search for stock took place within a 30 minute radius of my parents' house in Peoria- but yesterday I returned to St. Louis and I am wildly hopeful about the possible finds that await my discovery in this locale! St. Louis here I come!

I will let you all know when my shop is officially open! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Fresh Start

Hello Readers!

2011 is here! I don't know about the rest of you- but I am happy to leave 2010 behind. Yes, many good things happened in 2010 (teaching Public Speaking), but it was also possibly the most intense year of my life as a student and perhaps the most overall stressful year. So. . . with a renewed sense of optimism and focus, I welcome this New Year with open arms!

Yesterday, as many of you will know (you probably even wrote on my facebook wall or sent me a message), was my birthday. The BIG 2-5. I don't think that I've ever really been a fan of milestone birthdays- my 10th birthday, my 16th birthday (when I convinced myself that my parents were going to surprise me with a car, and there was no car), my 21st birthday (I went to Greenville, so I couldn't drink alcohol), and now my 25th birthday.

This birthday was by no means a let down, but it was much more quiet than birthdays of years past. Maybe it was because I'm getting older (25 IS a quarter of a century, after all), but I am going to claim wisdom teeth extraction recovery as the reason, and a mid-week observance of my birthday. . . yes- those are the reasons.

My birthday began with a trip to The Fresh Market with my mom to pick out a cake (we chose a Coconut Cream Layer Cake). Usually, I get a cake from Trefzger's Bakery, but last year we changed things up a bit with a cake from Hansen's Le Bakery, and this year I decided to try something new again. I'm not sure how many of you have ever visited The Fresh Market before, but it is like the Anthropologie of grocery stores. It's a place of tranquility, well-organized shelves, and a calming interior.

After The Fresh Market, we ate lunch at Panera. This is another place I love, and I was glad to include their tuna salad sandwich to my mild-mannered birthday celebration. Thank you mom for the delicious lunch!

For dinner, my dad took me to Basta O'Neill's where he had Pasta Carbonara (one of his favorite dishes) and I had the lacquered Atlantic salmon over whole wheat pasta and green beans- delicious! Sometimes salmon can be a bit of a risk in the Midwest (especially from an ocean)- but this was as delicious as the salmon I remember from my days in the Pacific Northwest. My compliments to the chef!

After dinner, my dad and I went home and then almost everyone in my family (minus Grant) gathered around my lovely coconut cake and sang happy birthday. Thanks guys! After I blew out the candles, my mom presented me with an unexpected gift from Grant! At the ages that my brothers are, it is quite uncommon for them to buy birthday presents- but he did!

Sometime during Christmas break, I mentioned a book that I wanted to read- and Grant remembered and even ordered it from Barnes and Noble! (Inside a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz). Good job Grant! I look forward to reading this!


Hopefully this book will help me understand my dog, Meeka (pictured below)