Style Graduate

Professional style on a graduate student budget.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Celadon & Silk

Freshen up your living room with some light and summery pieces from Satinbox. Cover your couch's throw pillows with these beautiful raw silk covers. Raw silk has a soft, nubbly feel, and stays cool, so it's perfect for the summer. Keep this celadon vase ($18-25) around for cut flowers from a garden (if you don't have one, hit up some friends for extra blossoms from theirs). Satinbox has $6.50 flat rate shipping, and orders over $150 ship for free.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Grad gifts

Unsure what to get a recent graduate? Check the sale section at RedEnvelope. I like this trio of good luck paperweights ($18.99) or this chess and checkers travel set ($10.99). If your graduate merits a bigger outlay of cash, go for this lovely Buddha necklace ($68) or money-clip with built in watch ($44, engraveable).

Look at the lovely freshwater pearls on the necklace:

Figleaves on sale

If I wore a size 10, and looked great in yellow, I would buy this suit. At $117.50 it is on the richer end of my price range, but it would certainly be worth it. Snap it up if you are the right size and can pull off the color. Otherwise, check the other great suits on sale at Figleaves.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

There's a method here!

I love Method brand products; they smell great, they're biodegrable, and they work really, really well. The fact they they are good for the environment is really just a bonus. The smelling great thing is good; when did it become normal to feel like things are only clean if they smell toxic?

They're sold at, but when you look there, note that the pricing is often for cases of six or eight. For an individual item, Method isn't any more expensive than other cleaners.

My favorites are the super-concentrated laundry detergent (there is baby laundry detergent too) and the cucumber household cleaner (it also comes in lavender and pink grapefruit). Go forth and be green.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Carnivale of the Movie Don'ts

Fashion is a Verb wants to know: What movie do you credit with being responsible for the biggest Fashion Don'ts? In other words- Which movie started off clothing trends that never should have been.

Well, this is an easy question to answer! Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) started a number of unfortunately long-lived fashion trends. Rotwang's strange overcoat was bad enough, but his wild hairdo was even worse, but his most heinous contribution was the raccoon eye makeup, still championed today by Rachel Zoe.

The real Maria's shapeless dress started off a trend topped only by the false Maria, i.e. the robot. Her full body armor with mask was an instant hit, and Vogue even released patterns for housewife/blacksmiths. This fad was ended only by the shortage of metal caused by World War II. Here in the U.S., many women tearfully donated their suits of armor to Lady Liberty, thankfully ending one of the most heinous fashions ever to conquer the world.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Light hiking - footwear

Serious hiking require serious equipment, but light to moderate hiking requires only
comfortable shoes and socks, a water bottle, and some energy. Here are some good footwear options for the family:

  • Women: New Balance WW603 ($63.95) or WW625 ($43.95). Both are rugged, supportive shoes, and New Balance makes a wide range of sizes and widths. Women can also go for the Tiger listed below for men.
  • Men: Onitsuka Tiger ($40.95) by Asics. This shoe is comfortable for both men and women, and versatile enough for everyday use. Other colors are availabe at higher prices.
  • Boys: Gap terrain sneakers, on sale for $19.99. Sizes run big, and in fact I often wear shoes from Gap Kids.
  • Girls: Gap cross trainers, also $19.99, or the terrain sneakers above. I'm big on the unisex thing today.
  • Babies: A Maya wrap or a Hotsling. Many slings can hold children up to 40 pounds, if the adult is willing to tote a child that big around. My personal preference is for hotslings, but I know women who swear by Maya wraps or other baby slings. Find one that works for you.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Poor directions to the Carnivale....

Evidently I didn't give clear enough directions to my place, because a few people got lost on the way. If you are lost, or late, just let me know. We'll be partying all day and all night!

I can forgive Ali of Papierblog for coming late, though, seeing as she brought food!

Susan over at Counterfeit Chic is that awesome partygoer (there is one at every party) who knows something about everything, so she fills us in while surrounded by handsome bamboo toting men.

Halloween Party!

I have the great pleasure of hosting this week's Carnivale of Couture. Last week I asked my fellow fashion bloggers to let me know what runway outfits they would wear as Halloween getups. I am amazed by the response; people found some incredible outfits. So who came to the party?

Fashion is a Verb starts with a lampshade costume, and moves on to some inspired by movies and books. Go see The Chronicles of Spice World, coming this summer from Disney!

Lin from Fashion Outlaw channels Final Fantasy and comes as a White Mage. I'm not sure what powers that involves, but I'm pretty sure it means she has mad video game skillz.

Shoelover looked to her flower garden for inspiration, after ruling out Funky Fashion Trolls and The Evil One.

Shoesense, on the other hand, goes right for Galliano to conjure up some evil spirits, and unwittingly references my new favorite movie: Mirrormask!

Erin at A Dress A Day keeps J. Edgar Hoover safely ensconced in the past, but still frightens with linebackers and post-apocalyptic Scotsmen.

Clothesaholic brings a quartet of streetwalkers to the bash, no doubt accompanying the Manolo's Harlequin Pimp!

The ladies from Knickers wandered in inadvertently, dressed up as lingerie-clad storybook animals.

And Ella from Kiss Me Stace arrived late and breathless, but frankly, my dear Ella, I don't give a damn!

If you didn't send me your post in time to make it into this entry, there is still time! Later today I will post links to all those who came fashionably late to my soiree, so email your posts to stylegraduate AT gmail DOT com.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Boating & Hiking

This summer, you will hopefully have opportunities to go boating and/or hiking. Here are shoes for boating, for the whole family. Stay tuned for a post of hiking shoes!


I am sorry for not posting these past few days, I was attending a friend's college graduation. I saw dozens of lovely sundresses there, and was inspired to go out and find some beautiful bargains. Here we go!
Go forth and be sunny!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Carnivale of the Costume!

As The Manolo has shown us, runway styles can be sublime (just look at that coat!), they can be surreal, they can be silly, they can be downright scary. Runway styles, therefore, would make wonderful Halloween costumes! For this week's Carnivale, I want to know what runway look you would wear as a Halloween costume. And no cheating; it has to be an outfit actually sent down a runway by a designer! So go forth, fashion bloggers, and find photos of your costumes!

You can email your link to stylegraduate (AT) - I am looking forward to seeing all of them!

Graduation duds

The season of graduations is upon us. If you will be attending or participating in an outdoors graduation this year, you should look appropriately dressy, but still spring-like. Guys could go with khaki pants, a button down shirt, and a blazer. Ladies might opt for wide-leg linen pants or a cotton or linen skirt or dress. You can top off either with a knit cardigan or shrug. Spring heels will finish the look.

Here is a lovely dress ($49.99) with charming coordinating shoes ($29.99) from Ann Taylor Loft; the blue/white combo is perfect for May or June. This dress would look equally lovely with the lilac shoes I featured a few days ago.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Date night (pour les femmes)

A lovely, chic, ladylike outfit is easy to put together from some basics with subtle details. My choice for a night out? Start with a classic pair of tab-front pants, which can easily go from day to evening. These ones come in a rich mocha brown, camel, or white, and are $48 at Gap. Definitely worth the price, they'll give you a long, sleek look. They are also available in long and petite lengths. With the lighter colors, you can do a strappy sandal; with the dark brown I'd stick with closed toe pumps or a pair of high-heeled boots.

Add a lovely halter top; this comes in seven lovely colors and is only $14.95. The details on this are delightful, and the empire waist is universally flattering. I'd pair the lighter pants with a brighter or darker shade on top, and vice-versa.

It may get chilly, so you'd best cover up. Here are two options: a casual linen tunic, or a shawl-collar sweater, both $29.99.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Manolo's suggestion

The Manolo recently suggested this lovely blue strappy sandal from Charles David, with good reason. Unfortunately, at $120, it is a bit much for the lowly graduate student. When looking for cheaper alternatives to the shoes you desperately want, keep in mind that a cheaply-made shoe will not save you anything in the long run (unless you just need something to bum around in on the beach). Stick with brands known for quality. I like Kenneth Cole Reaction, whose shoes are well-made and comfortable, and they have a blue metallic strappy sandal you can snap up for only $39.95, although I'd skip the blue and go for this lilac number instead; at $57.95 it is less than half the price of the Charles Davids. All these shoes are at Zappos, which has great return and price-matching policies, and free shipping, to boot.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Carnival of the Bargain!

This week's Carnival is hosted by The Bargain Queen, who asks "What is your best-ever bargain? Where did you find it, how much was it and why is it your favourite?"

This is a difficult question to answer, because my very best bargains were on intangibles: my education was a steal at twice the price; in exchange for just being myself, I have the most wonderful boyfriend imaginable; I've given a few moments of laughter to cement a friendship. I don't think this is what The Bargain Queen wants to hear!

If I can't give you my best bargain, I will give you two that rank up there. Several summers ago I bought a pair of Rocket Dog sandals for only $10 at a sidewalk sale. I wore them well into the fall, despite the chilly September nights here in Pennsylvania, because they were so comfortable and went with everything. Unfortunately, Rocket Dog doesn't seem to make anything like them anymore.My second one is more recent; I bought a set of delightfully soft sheets from Amazon. These are wonderful sheets to sleep in, and only cost $29.99 for the whole set. I should have bought more than one, because now they are unavailable. I love going to sleep cuddled in soft smoothness, and they are perfect for regulating body temperature. They make my bed (Ikea!) that much more inviting.

I guess the lesson is that bargains can be fleeting. Don't buy something just because it is cheap, but if it is something you want and need, and you can get a great deal, carpe diem!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Budget Boudoir

A few months ago Knickers featured a lovely line of lingerie from, surprisingly, JCPenny. The line includes a babydoll, merrywidow, bustier, thong, and g-string, and they are all 25% off original prices, putting the panties at $8.99 and the tops from $23.99 -$27.99. Very affordable. Thanks, Knickers!

Summer skin care

Take care of your skin this summer. has a summer sale on right now, with free shipping on orders over $29. Stock up on sunscreens. My favorites are from Coppertone, get a spray-on for your body, a noncomedogenic lotion for your face, and a sunless tanning cream to get that summer glow without all the UV damage.

Don't forget your lips; use a lip balm with SPF 15 or above, like this one from Banana Boat. It will keep your lips smooth and plump, and help avoid wrinkles later on in life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Night Out!

Gentlemen, now that you have time to date, you need an outfit. Start with a classic polo sweater; this one is merino wool and only $32.99 from Bluefly. Several other colors are available, so pick one that works for you. Pair this with a pair of flat-front khakis to look casual but still put-together; this pair is $49.99, by Theory, but this is a basic so you can find it anywhere. Just don't wear pleated or tapered pants!

Finish off your look with a pair of loafers, like these by Bass, $53.95 in either black or brown leather, from Zappos.

All of these pieces are versatile and classic, so you can think of them as investments. Come to think of it, you can consider a date an investment too, so go ahead and jump into the stock market.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Date night outfits!

Even if your date is another graduate, you should attempt to throw off your troglodyte demeanor (labs do often feel like caves, don't they?) and look like a denizen of the real world. So make sure you -- wait, what? You don't have time to date? Research takes up every precious moment of your day? Nonsense! There is time for everything. Here is an easy way to get more time out of your day: retrain yourself to not use the snooze button. The technique seems silly. C'mon, practicing getting out of bed? We're past kindergarten, thank you very much! But it works, because it retrains your subconcious mind, which is what is making those groggy decisions to hit the snooze button half a dozen times. So give this a few tries, and soon you'll find yourself with a little excess time every day. Enough time to date, even.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"Make a Statement with Style"

Support reproductive rights by buying one of these beautiful pieces of jewelry. Made by Artifactual Creations, they incorporate expired birth control pills. All proceeds go to Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland. Each piece is $17.50 until May 14; after that they'll be $22.00 each. (Picture credit: PPGC/Artifactual Creations)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

For the mothers in your life.

Flowers, jewelry, perfume, chocolate. Sure, if you want to be like everyone else, get your mother, grandmothers, and the mother of your children one of those. Or break the mold, and be remembered for putting some thought into your gift. My mother doesn't like Mother's Day, because she thinks it is a "guilt holiday", but even she wouldn't mind getting one of these gifts next Sunday:
Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cinema Carnival!

This week's Carnival of Couture comes to us from clothesaholic, who asks us "What movie, TV show or video featured clothes that made an impression on you? What movie, TV or video wardrobe did you try to emulate?"

Well, if you ignore my childhood dreams of dressing up like Princess Leia, my favorite movie clothes are Reese Witherspoon's in Walk the Line. She wears lovely dresses: beautiful fabrics sewn into beautiful, classic shapes that show off her perfect figure. I don't share that figure, but I'm not too terribly far off, and the style of dress is flattering on a wide variety of shapes. (I also like Joaquin Phoenix's outfits in the movie; men should take note!) I love how the movie's stylists showcased all the very best fashion of the time period.

This dress from Ann Taylor (on sale for $59.99) recreates Reese's look perfectly, as does this pricier linen dress on sale at Banana Republic ($94.99).

I particularly love, love, love this coat. If anyone knows where I can get a facsimile for a reasonable price, let me know!

Friday, May 05, 2006


Here's a cheap but delicious bread recipe. Beer bread can be made using beer that might be just past the point of drinking, and it's a great way to get rid of that last can or bottle hanging around from last weekend. The darker the beer you use, the hoppier the bread will taste.
  • Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  • Mix 3 cups self-rising flour * and 1 cup granulated sugar.
  • Pour in 12 oz. beer and mix well; the dough will be very thick and sticky.
  • Pour dough into a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake for 55 minutes to an hour.
This is wonderful with butter; some recipes even call for melting a stick of butter over the top of the loaf for the last 15 minutes of baking.

*You can buy self-rising flour, but if you only have bread flour or all-purpose flour, you can make your own by mixing 3 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 2 tsp salt.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Evenings on the beach (para los hombres)

It can get very cold very quickly on the beach. The sun goes down and the heat just disappears, and being wet doesn't help things. Try one of these tops from Banana Republic to stay warm after sunset: a half-zip pullover ($20.99, size XXL only), or a track jacket ($24.99, all sizes).

(Does anyone else find it mildly creepy that often only the lower third of a model's face is shown? Either crop the photo so the whole head is gone, or leave the darn thing in! Sheesh.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The best bargain ever: do something good.

For only $52, and often for free, you can join the National Marrow Donor Program. (The fee covers the cost of tissue typing, and is often waived for those who donate a pint of blood or are ethnic minorities.) If you fulfill the health requirements and are a tissue match for a patient in need of a bone marrow or PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell) transplant, you will be contacted and ask if you are willing to make a donation. Some temporary discomfort on your part can save someone's life. So, for a little while, don't worry about being stylish, worry about saving a life.

If you are unwilling to register as a potential donor, donate blood; it is free and you'll get cookies and juice afterwards. Helping people is cheap, and it makes the world a better place.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Beachy keen (para las mujeres)

Hopefully many of you will have the opportunity to hang out on the beach this summer (or at least by a pool). You'll need appropriate attire, of course; something to go over your fabulous swimsuit. Oddly enough, J. Crew has several summer pieces on sale already. Unfortunately, sizes are limited, but here are my picks for covering up:

Funky pink deals from Delias

Here are two great bargains on clearance at The first is a quirky pink and gold "Frak" lamp (the taller "Frik" version is sold out, unfortunately) for only $9.99. I especially like the shade, which is a metal mesh instead of fabric. The second is a throw pillow with a highly unusual design (you have to click "larger view" to see the available pattern), also $9.99. If you wanted, you could buy a plain cotton pillow and fabric markers from a craft store to make your own version of this.

Substance is style!

All the fashion sense in the world won't help you if you have nothing interesting to say. You should make sure you read good books outside your specialty, listen to quality music, and enjoy some cinema (not just "movies") once in a while.

Here are some picks in each category from
  • Book: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It won the Pulitzer Prize for a good reason, folks. Hardcover ($18.87) or paperback ($11.02).
  • Music: Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall. Strong, mellow, original songs with great lyrical imagery. The audio CD is only $9.76.
  • Film: 12 Angry Men, directed by Signey Lumet. This is a tense drama aout a jury trying to determine a verdict in a murder trial. Absolutely classic, and a great film to watch with friends. On DVD for $9.99.
All of these qualify for free shipping on Amazon if your total (from qualifying items) come to $25.00 or more; there's your excuse to buy them all.