Happy New Year friends! As another year passes, it’s only natural to look back on the year before at everything that’s come to pass – the good, the bad, the crazy. And I am forever grateful each year for my personal slice of web space, which allows me to return to a time in my life instantly. Where I just have to look at a certain dress and be transported back to exactly how I felt at that moment in time.
So, in my pensive mood, as I did last year, I took a bit of time to go back through the posts of 2017 and write up little retrospective. To dig up some of my favorite outfits, most memorable moments. To close the door on 2017 and welcome the new opportunities that 2018 will bring. With a bit of fanfare and New Year’s stardust, here’s a year in the life of 2017…
January was definitely a very difficult, stressful time for us. A lot of major things happened – including the arrival of our shipping container from Australia (which had been at sea for 3 months), the loss of our dear Willie, and the start of my first semester of a new job. I’m not sure there’s any way to plan for that kind of madness. When I look back, I’m just amazed we survived it all. Losing Willie was definitely the most difficult blow, and the hardest part of turning the corner on 2017 for us was leaving behind the last year where there was a part of it when he was still with us.
My first semester also started with a bang – living in a sea of boxes while frantically writing lectures and trying to navigate my way around a new campus and a new Department. Madness doesn’t even begin to describe it. I guess it’s never really about finding stable ground. It’s about finding your balance regardless of the terrain. Usually in heels.
Once February hit, I was slowly starting to find my groove with teaching. It wasn’t quite as terrifying as it had been, and I had managed to find a place on campus that served good coffee and the admins who would always kindly answer my zillion panicked questions.
I also published what turned out to be one of my all-time most popular posts: The Secret. About the ways we talk ourselves out of beautiful things. About how we set arbitrary milestones for ourselves in order to be worthy of The Dress. When in fact, it’s the dress that has to be worthy of you. Every now and then, whenever my own self doubt creeps in, I go back and read this post to give myself a much needed kick in the bum.
This was a month of some really fun collaborations. I had the chance to work with Cut Out & Keep again to put together a collective of DIY projects that would help readers emulate Coco Chanel. And then I featured a handmade necklace from Bregje’s Design – who creates amazing jewelry out of broken pieces of vintage ceramic and porcelain. It’s like contemporary jewelry with a nod to the past – and ended up being part of one of my favorite looks.
It would have almost certainly been the winner for this month, though that crown had to go to my birthday look, because the best part of March is always my birthday! As is my MO, I had to wear a very special dress for the occasion, which I had gotten from Sweet Bee Finds. Mr. Dressed took me out for a night on the town (and as usual, I had to take care not to knock things off tables. This dress has POOF!).
March is also special, as it contains my blog’s birthday – it was crazy to find that I had managed to curate this space for two years. I’ve got a lot of affection for my little corner of the interwebs. And I am so grateful to all of you for popping by, traveling on the adventure with me, and sharing bits of your own lives.
April was pretty exciting, because it marked the end of my first semester as a fully fledged Professor! It was one of the craziest experiences of my life, but pretty exhilarating to prove to myself that I could do this. That I could run a lab, teach my classes, and do it all in fabulous heels.
I was also super excited to get to try out Orchard Corset for the first time. They were an amazing company to work with – and I was SO impressed by the quality of their corsets! I tried out both the Steel-Boned Longline Underbust Satin Corset (in white) and the Steel-Boned Underbust Mesh Corset. I am now officially an underbust corset convert. You can read all about my experience here.
After the semester ended, the Mr. and I got the chance to finally start to explore this new city of ours. It was insanely freeing not to be writing lectures all the time, and we definitely took advantage of it. New restaurants, relaxing weekends, it was definitely the first time all year I found myself taking a breath.
Thanks to all of this free time, I got to work with one of my very favorite handbag companies, Vendula London, and awesome vintage-inspired retailer Voodoo Vixen. My mom also visited Wilmington for the first time, which gave us the opportunities to take city-exploration to a new level (why is it you only manage to do the touristy things when someone visits?)
My favorite look of the month had to be this floral silk stunner from Sweet Life Vintage. It was a good reminder that I dress for myself – and that confidence should never come from someone else’s validation. We’ve got to claim our beauty and wear it proudly. And dress only to impress ourselves.
By the time June came rolling round the bend, I was definitely in relaxation mode. I went on a spa weekend with my sister, where I had an awesome time, but managed to get food poisoning and threw up in the middle of a restaurant. Apparently my “go big or go home” mentality extends to embarrassing moments as well. The month was also noteworthy, because I wore pants (gasp! It really was a Moment), had my annual cathartic closet cleanout, and had an insanely fun collaboration with one of my favorite online retailers, Unique Vintage. As a blogger, it’s always exciting when you get to work with a company you really love.
The big moment for my closet, however, was stumbling upon one of my vintage Unicorns. Thanks to my amazing friend Kristina (who also has her own vintage shop now, Siglovintage!), this Marjorie Montgomery beauty finally found her way to me.
July definitely marked a little more frenzied activity. My in-laws paid Wilmington a visit (where we all explored, ate, and napped in equal measure. It pretty much rocked). I got to feature one of my very favorite vintage stores and friends – Amanda of ButchWaxVintage – and consequently drooled even more than usual over the vintage she somehow seems to magically source. I also hopped on a plane to Austin to spend a week hanging with my fellow shark researchers – to most people, a conference might sound like work. To me, it’s like summer camp for shark nerds.
I also found this green dress from When Decades Collide (that still sort of makes me gasp when I look at it). Through a lovely twist of fate, this dress also lead me to an amazing new group of friends here in NC. Which just goes to show – all kinds of good things come from vintage.
And then there was August. The summer seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye, and before I knew it, the fall semester was starting and I was back to frantic nonstop lecture-writing mode. Time had somehow managed to soften the stress around the edges of the previous semester, and I’d forgot just how crazy it was.
On the positive side, Mr. Dressed and I also celebrated our 7-year anniversary, which I knew was the perfect time to bust out the Dress of Dreams. There were a LOT of amazing looks in August (case in point here & here), but none quite so amazing as my Fairytale dress, which was perfectly befitting such a special occasion. I had never worn a dress quite so magical…
I feel like September passed in an absolute blur of teaching and coffee. By this point, though, I had fallen in love with my marine bio class (who were all for the most part, hard working, eager marine-biologists-to-be). And speaking of marine-biologists-to-be, one of my absolute favorite moments this year was my trip to Boston to work with the Gills Club. Although it might not seem as exciting to some, getting to dissect a shark with 6 year olds was absolutely one of the highlights of my entire year.
This was also a bit of an introspective month – I definitely got on my soapbox a bit about the millions of small ways we tell women in the workplace the ways in which they don’t belong. I realized the longer I wrote, the more I had to say (turns out, I have a lot to say). I also stepped outside of one of my fashion comfort zones and fell in love with my first basque waist dress from Jess James + Co. Trust me when I say this dress is never leaving my closet….
One of the coolest things to happen in October was participating in my very first vintage trade! I acquired stunning Marjorie Montgomery dress from the amazing Rose of Not Falling But Flying. I traded her another vintage piece she was in love with, and voila! New vintage in your wardrobe without needing to spend a cent! It was completely virgin territory for me, but my eyes are definitely open to the possibilities of finding beautiful things by passing still more beautiful things on in the great warm, fuzzy circle of vintage life.
November saw still more travel – I flew off to DC for a neuroscience meeting (and froze my butt off – turns out, I’ve gone soft in North Carolina). The meeting made life a bit more hectic when I got back, as I had to scramble a bit to catch up, but it was amazing to see old friends and my old boss from Australia, who was (and still is) an absolutely amazing mentor and friend.
This was a good month for fashion – I discovered the world’s best crinoline’s (they have seriously changed my life) and also got to work with Unique Vintage again take the Pretty Dress Company Hepburn dress for a twirl – I’d had my eye on them for ages, and it did not disappoint. I also got my hot little hands on my very first bespoke piece from Prettie Lanes. This daisy-print beauty definitely turned a few heads….
At last it was December! I gave my final exam, submitted grades, finished a book chapter and promptly collapsed. It was another tough semester, but I was so darned proud of myself for managing to survive my first year as a new professor. It was every bit as crazy as everyone warned me it would be, but I’m looking forward to charging into 2018 older, wiser, and a little less fearful of the unknown.
Of course December also meant Christmas! My mom came down for the holidays, and we cooked up a storm and tore into presents with relish. It was a fantastic holiday season, and Santa was definitely good to me. Stay tuned for some amazing new pieces that turned up under my tree this year…
It was a tough call, but my favorite look of the month had to be this stunning, couture-quality skirt, handmade by Maison Murasaki. Every time I look at it (which is often), I almost can’t believe how gorgeous it is. Maki also became a good friend through the process – and I can’t wait to see what wonders come out of her imagination next!
New Year’s is always a time of reflection. I feel as though this blog manages to be a place of creative expression, but also an archival of the day to day – the things we wear, the big milestones, and the smaller moments. Even flipping through old posts and picking favorite looks brought back all kinds of memories of the adventures we had this year. I hope you similarly had some amazing adventures in 2017 and are taking away with you many more happy memories than not.
And how fitting that as I am closing the chapter of this book labeled 2017, today marks the start of a new semester. And I can feel myself (unwillingly) switching gears. Moving from holiday mode to work mode. Mentally making lists, planning out the semester, starting to set things in motion for the new batch of students that are about to come barreling through my door.
Okay, 2018. Ready or not, here I come!