Lucy, thanks so much for chiming in! Please keep an eye out for my packing post in a couple weeks. I will leave out the spaghetti straps, but will have other questions about pushing the boundaries between “work” and “leisure”.

The rules about bags/need to check them is one of the things I love about archives and special collections: you have to set aside any distractions and go to your work space where your tasks for the day are all set up for you, often tied up in a bow. Magic!

Those are very pretty tanks!
Would not wear them to work though, even with a topper. I think it’s the combination of V- neck and delicate silky fabric that looks too much like lingerie or off- duty.

Unfrumped, got it.

Look what I found in the cellar! Winter Silks, ca 2000. All silk, no spaghetti. It does not have the bra strap holders that Ms Maven mentioned, but the straps are so wide that I don’t think that will be a problem.
Do not look at the “outfit” that resulted when I slipped it on over what I happened to be wearing and my Hausschuhe.

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Good find! I would 100% wear the Winter Silks tank on its own in a professional setting. (I realize there are professional settings where sleeveless is not acceptable at all, but I don't think social science academia is one of them.)

I've been pondering what you said yesterday about your PhD cohort's reaction to your self-presentation and how your newer, more feminine style intersects with academia. It's really thought-provoking, lots to unpack there. There's gender coding at play too, right? Rumpled khakis and a general air of not caring about one's appearance is the quintessential (male) absent-minded professor look. So when a woman adopts it, she's immediately seen as intellectually serious. I know there are some women scientists who have a VERY markedly femme style. (I can't immediately think of any specific names, unfortunately.) They tend to go all out with full makeup and hair -- almost a rockabillly look. Armor that sort of dares people not to take them seriously. But they also tend to be quite young. I think that done-up look would read differently (that is, as social conservatism) on a woman of our age. I am not sure I really have an answer for you here but just -- Semiotics! So endlessly fascinating!

There was a woman a couple years ahead of me in my PhD program who did the whole hair-makeup-manicure thing, said it was because she was a feminist, wanted people to recognize feminists were regular people too. Yes, where we were, foundation & curling irons were the norm.
Agree with you on the rumpled prof look. Hadn’t thought of it that way before. My thinking tends to be analysis first, emotional sensitivity later, which also comes across as masculine, or even aggressive.

Interesting to think about my newer more femme presentation reading as socially conservative. My feeling is that by staying RATE, easy on the makeup, and usually including juxtaposition, I come across differently, but of course reading oneself is always hardest. I might be entirely off there

"My feeling is that by staying RATE, easy on the makeup, and usually including juxtaposition, I come across differently" -- yes, yes, I think that's right. I meant to suggest that if a woman our age in academia did the hyperfemme clothing + heels + full-face makeup + perfectly coiffed hair look it might read as socially conservative. Sorry for any lack of clarity!

I got it. Was thinking of femme look in general reading conservative, was saying how/why I think my more natural version does not, in contrast to versions with more “interventions”.

Ugh. I had finally gotten my thoughts down and it failed to post. Not sure I have the wherewithal to start again right now but I will try to get back later with a condensed version.

Carol, I am grateful you are doing it! Don’t knock yourself out for me, but do know i appreciate your thoughts

I have been following these posts and have one comment:
Yes to the silk tank tops you just posted but wear the blazer over them. Knees covered is a good plan also.

Yes, some Intimissi fabrics can be annoyingly itchy - need to try them on first to see which ones work! I have silk front tank tops from them that look like the Winter Silk tanks you just posted & have found them to be fairly versatile, so hopefully that's a good sign?

I like the tie dye topper you posted, but maybe with white bottoms? I don't think it needs to be 'either/ or dark & light' so much as balancing them in a way that reflects your natural colouring e.g. your hair isn't stark white but it isn't pitch black either - so mixing up the contrast should help reflect this 'grey area' pun intended haha!

As for spaghetti straps, I generally prefer not to show evidence of my underwear in a professional setting either (even an academic one) but I may be hyperaware of this (e.g. I'll wear either slipshorts or thongs so as to avoid any VPL) so I'm probably not the best person to ask about this lol