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.}

#british #fashion #salvationarmy #thrifting

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