Meet Emma James

A big whack of my design time is taken up as an inhouse designer for a small liberal arts university. In fact, this university happens to be the place that was crazy enough to give me a B.A. Many assume working at a university and going to a university feel just the same, when the truth is, they couldn’t feel more different. For one, a 24 season-2 marathon is no longer deemed a legitimate reason not to show up, and my lunch almost never includes chicken fingers.

Most of the time, I almost forget I was ever a student there  – it’s a completely different place as an employee. But every so often, on my walk towards the water fountain to fill up my mug,  I’ll pass a class in session, and out of the corner of my eye I’ll catch a glimpse of one of my favourite profs, schooling the next batch of idealist artsy/writer types with kernels of wisdom on how art will save the world and John Keats kicks all sorts of ass, or something like that. At that moment, I have to fight the urge to smoosh against the door glass, and yell “let me in! I want to learn more about Jane Austen! I promise I’ll actually read the book this time!”

Last week, I put together an outfit that only heightened my desire to revert to a full-time student of the arts and literature variety.

It began with this Maggy London dress – thrifted, I think, by my Mom and passed around amoungst the sisters every few months. This dress is awesome. It has pockets ideally suited for tiny editions of the classics, or a pocket watch, or a mole skin notebook to write down my brilliant observations on Jane Eyre  and “I heart  Rochester” doodles. I wore it with my newly thrifted $3 “Emma James by Liz Claiborne” cardigan, which I henceforth declare the name of my British grad student alter-ego. I topped it off with my last-ever Mall purchase from Decemeber: my sweet knock-off Oxfords (which Wikipedia has recently told me I incorrectly laced).

This outfit, combined with a recent binge of the BBC Sherlock, ensured my internal monologue spoke in a bad British accent for most of the day. I also may have wondered towards the fountain a few more times than usual, in the vain hope my favourite tweed-loving professor would stop me in the hall, and we’d talk about C.S. Lewis some more. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But the pockets did provide a swell place to stash the candies I swiped everytime I walked by the Finance Department. Oops, forgive me – I mean my pockets were a swell place for “sweets”.

{If you fancy yourself a stylin’ academic, go see What Would a Nerd Wear and Elegantly Academic – both of these ladies are legit PHD students, and they dress like arty English majors EVERYDAY.}

29 thoughts on “Meet Emma James

  1. ‘I have to fight the urge to smoosh against the door glass, and yell “let me in! I want to learn more about Jane Austen! I promise I’ll actually read the book this time!”’ – that is SUCH a great visual. Love this post, Julie!

  2. Okay I’m your sister and I should know this, but where and how do you take such nice pictures of yourself? And do people give you funny looks? I feel weird shooting my products in my bay window because I’m afraid the neighbours see me and are like “There she is taking pictures of her windowsill again.” But that’s just me.

    1. Ahaha, I take them shamelessly in front of my house! Actually, sometimes I even coax Matt into helping me out. He took the ones for this post. At first I felt awkward, then I just listened to the Tyra on my shoulder and let it all out.

      1. Ha ha Julie! I was just wondering the same thing actually! Self timer, Matt, or a sister as the photographer .. and my question was answered!
        You have great writing style! Makes me want to read right through to the end without skipping big chunks (which is my way of reading the newspaper) and provide some good laughs in there as well!
        Love the red dress on ya :)

  3. I too love this dress! And while discussing C.S. Lewis by the fountain with the professor, may you also have a cup of tea? I just found your blog and scrolled through quite a few posts – love the story about the red Dior blazer and the room makeover. Now I have to go find the book about fonts. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog! A spot of tea would have completed this perfect picture, and I’m always happy to make another font-snob ;). Just paid a visit to your blog, and within the first post you used two of my favourite words: peanut butter and soup. I’ll be back!

  4. I love every part of this outfit! I should also say that your blog inspired me to finally check out a local thrift/vintage store, where I found some gorgeous leather boots and a Mad Men-esque plaid wool skirt for wayyy less than I would usually pay for such items – I think I’m hooked on thrifting!

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