October 16, 2019 – Air, The Element of Freedom (OOTD #566)

I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have an October where it doesn’t snow at least one day.

Living at Notre Dame has completely messed with my conceptualization of normal weather.

October 14, 2019 – Pumpkin Spice (OOTD #565)

I know spooky season is long over, but I still have spooky season outfits to post about.

October 11, 2019 – Celebrate Good Times (OOTD #564)

Completing a six hour-long midterm exam counts as a “good time,” right?

It took me a while this semester before I starting having much of a good time. That’s not to say I wasn’t still enjoying myself and beginning to get acquainted with people and getting a lot educationally out of my internship — I was — but there weren’t a lot of moments I could really categorize as “fun” either. Everything I did was either work or school. I like my work and I (mostly) like my school, so no complaints there, but for a semester spent away form campus in a brand new city, I felt like I was still missing something.

I think this is the case of any short term program where you move to a new place and have to meet a whole new group of people, but it takes a long time to establish a friend group. This semester especially, I feel like it took longer than usual to figure out what I was supposed to do on weekends other than sit in my apartment and study. I got lucky my freshman year at Notre Dame in that I made friends so quickly, and I had very little of that awkward “getting to know people” phase before I had at least focused in on the people who were most worth getting to know.

It reminds me a lot of my time in Rome. In Rome, I didn’t really make my group of ND friends until about the midway point of my time there (and in the case of my friends from the Lay Centre, until literally a week before I left). It just takes so long sometimes to get settled and get acquainted with people sometimes that by the time you’re both settled and acquainted, your time’s up.

My point in discussing all of this is simply because these photos were taken on my first weekend outing I think in almost the whole semester, a celebratory dinner after the six hour midterm was over. This was the day after I took that midterm — so that just goes to show how long it took before I started doing fun stuff. I think before, I had been out with my roommates one night and then to a little alumni get-together and a movie afterwards, but otherwise, I kept mostly to myself. That was my own choice, of course. There was a group chat where people would propose plans or invite people to do things there in the beginning, so there were opportunities for me to have been more involved in a social life earlier on, but it slowly fizzled out as people established their friend groups.

But even if it took me a long time, I eventually got around to doing fun stuff. Hopefully, you’ll get to see pictures of some of that stuff in the upcoming weeks’ blogs. Stay tuned.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Coat: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

October 10, 2019 – Fifty Percent (OOTD #563)

These photos were taken immediately after I took a six hour-long midterm.

I hope it doesn’t look like I had just spent hours suffering, hunched over my laptop and wrapped in a blanket, though. I made it a point to try to look nice, despite knowing I was going to have a rough day ahead of me. I don’t know if that actually helped me to get through my six hour midterm, in the end, but it made me feel better afterwards, at least.

I don’t know if I believe completely in the concept of “dress well, test well,” but I like to do it anyway. I doubt it actually helps me to do well on exams. But it does help me to ignore my exam anxiety in the morning because it forces me to focus on putting together a nice outfit and applying my makeup instead.

It was also just…kind of cathartic to get to wear something that wasn’t “work appropriate” for the first time in what felt like ages? I’ve discussed this before, but being restricted to wearing business professional attire every single day has taken me a while to get used to. As a college student, I’m used to being allowed to wear whatever I want. Going to work in a traditional office environment takes away some of that autonomy.

So, ironically, though spending all of my day working on a case brief was hardly fun, my outfit got to be more fun than most normal days. I literally hadn’t been able to wear a mini-skirt and thigh high socks on a weekday in a month and a half — and surprisingly, that was something that mattered to me.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Sweater: Aeropostale

Skirt: American Eagle (thrifted, Goodwill)

 

 

October 8, 2019 – Khaki (OOTD #562)

I’ve talked about my first job as a grocery bagger (official title: courtesy clerk) a lot on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my uniform.

“So then what was your uniform, Meilin?” I’m so glad you asked. Every day I went to work at this particular grocery store, I wore basically the same thing: a black t-shirt with the grocery store’s logo on it provided by the grocery store, a pair of khaki skinny jeans (wait…are they still jeans if they’re not made of denim?) and my white Converse.

I still own all three of those pieces. I actually wear the white Converse a fair amount because they’re white Converse and they never go out of style, but the t-shirt and khaki pants have been sitting in my chest of drawers for years. I just can’t bring myself to put them on again — I associate them with too many bad memories of having to go out into the dark, creepy parking lot at 11pm right before close to bring in all of the carts that customers had left in the farthest corners of the lot.

In the case of the t-shirt, who cares? It’s a t-shirt. I get those for free with every event I attend. The khakis, on the other hand, are technically still perfectly wearable.

But there’s something about wearing the same pair of gross Macy’s trousers two to three days a week for an entire summer when you’re 16 that renders them cursed. I just can’t bring myself to put them on again, even though they’d probably fit (or who knows? Maybe they wouldn’t. I did eat a lot of pasta in Italy). In fact, I bought a whole new pair of Banana Republic trousers in the same khaki color (pictured here) to replace them.

Recently, I went back to my old grocery store, and I realized that the cashiers and baggers no longer have to wear the uniforms. In fact, they can even dress up a little on special occasions, like UK football games. Honestly, given the struggles I’ve had navigating the world of professional fashion, maybe I should go back to being a grocery bagger. I may very possibly have more freedom in my choice of clothes in that position than I do now as an intern at a think tank.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Blazer: Banana Republic

Top: Zara

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

October 7, 2019 – Hitting the Books (OOTD #561)

Here’s another blog title I can’t believe I’ve never used for any of my many, many library photo shoots. 

It seems so obvious, right? Take pictures surrounded by books, come up with a book-related blog title. How many book-themed idioms are there anyway?

Apparently, not enough for my stupid idiot brain to remember them — hence, the need to “hit” the books so hard. Gotta study to make up for my general lack of brain cells.

But if this is a library photo shoot, what library is this? It’s not the familiar Club Hes or architecture library. I’m miles and miles from those. This is the library at my workplace — much smaller than any of the libraries back on campus, but honestly, maybe I like that. It’s almost never crowded, and I never have to fight someone to get a table like I do around midterms and finals at Notre Dame.

The downside, though, is there are a lot fewer places to take photos given the smaller location. I have 24 hour card access to the Brookings building (yay!) but there aren’t a lot of places that make for good photography backgrounds. There’s a nice lobby, but there’s always a security guard there, so it’s not a good place for photos. Otherwise, there’s the small library featured here and then just a bunch of offices.

What do you think — should I do a cubicle photo shoot? Pose with my landline telephone that I don’t know how to use? My broken roller chair? The leftover bag of trail mix that the last intern who had my desk left in the drawer?

Actually, maybe there’s a way I could make it work — kind of like the trendy unconventional photo shoots in laundry rooms or Hobby Lobby floral departments. Let me think on that.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Zara

Turtleneck: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

October 4, 2019 – Work in Progress (OOTD #560)

I thought for certain I would have used that blog title before, but I guess not.

I think I’m finally getting into a groove with creating interesting but work-appropriate outfits. It took me a while to figure it out, but I believe I’ve got it down pat at this point. I’m finding that the key to success is good accessories, like this bolo tie-style necklace that I got for Christmas from Forever21 years and years ago.

I find it interesting to think about the pieces in my wardrobe that have wound up being enduringly stylish, especially when I didn’t expect them to do so. Like, I knew when I bought this maroon blazer that I would probably have it for a while — blazers take a long time before their design starts looking dated. Same goes for the black button-down. The bolo tie necklace, on the other hand, could have very easily been something that I ended up giving away a year later.

But it didn’t, and I still have it and like it. Sometimes, you never know.

And sometimes, things you thought would be in style for years become unwearable. I may or may not have three pairs of Uggs hidden in my closet that I purchased as a middle schooler and I now feel too guilty to give away (I spent a lot of money on them! At least in my sixth grader mindset). I thought for certain that they would be a worthwhile investment for years and years to come — guess not.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Blazer: Forever21

Trousers: Zara

Shirt: Banana Republic

September 26, 2019 – PentaGONE (OOTD #558)

See, as I’ve now gone to the Pentagon, I can say that I’ve Pentagone. 

I’m so clever, what can I say. I need to be hired as a junior staffer on the Hill just so I can make up titles for bills; it seems like they all have a fitting abbreviated name, and someone’s got to come up with them. It’s almost a prerequisite for getting a bill passed — like you think the USA PATRIOT Act was gonna get passed if it was called something like the Hastily Passed Privacy Abuse Act?

I think my favorite class I’m in this semester is one called Public Policy Visits. It’s basically a graded field trip class. I’m going to get (likely) an A just for showing up to these cool places I would have wanted to visit anyway; it almost feels like cheating.

And one of the cool places I got to visit for class was the Pentagon.

In the list of cool places I’ve gotten to go for this Public Policy Visits class, the Pentagon probably falls somewhere in the middle. Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court were cooler, but then some of our other visits — which I haven’t even written blogs about, like a big law firm and a think tank — were definitely worse. That think tank visit was horrible. I’m not going to name names, but it might have rhymed with Shmeritage Shmoundation.

With the Pentagon, the major drawback was just that there was very little that we were actually able to see. I’m sure there’s a lot of cool stuff at the Pentagon — tanks and vintage military jackets and classified papers about Area 51 — but of course, they don’t actually let you see it.

Most of what you actually see is cafeteria restaurants and offices and pictures of old generals that your tour guide won’t even give you time to stop and look at. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but being honest, there wasn’t much I wanted my picture with. What was I going to do, pose with the Chipotle sign in the food court?

I did get to pose with a replica Secretary of Defense podium, so there’s that. Not necessarily a position I’d ever really want but…I had a cute dress on, and I wanted something to put on my Instagram story.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Dress: Vintage (thrifted, Pops Resale)

Brooch: my Pakistani friend, Haya

 

September 23, 2019 – English Schoolgirl Style (OOTD #557)

Like…I definitely don’t wish I had been forced to wear a school uniform in high school, but it’s definitely an aesthetic.

I was obsessed with the fashion of Gossip Girl when I was in sixth grade. I never even watched the show or read the books, I just loved how they were able to make school uniforms look cool and fashion forward. I used to Google images of Gossip Girl outfits, screenshot them on my iPod Touch, and then try to create outfits that replicated what Blair Waldorf and Selina Van der Woodsen would wear on the show.

And it amazes me how a lot of those outfits still look really good in 2019! For a show that premiered back in 2007, a good deal of the styling still looks modern. Sure, some of the outfits are pretty dated (all of those loose neckties and newsboy caps are definitely very 2007), but I feel like the majority of it is still wearable today.

This outfit reminded me a lot of some of my attempts at recreating Gossip Girl outfits back in middle school. Honestly, this is probably a better recreation than any of my middle school attempts.

Alternatively, I also feel like this outfit could lean rather flight attendant-ish. I feel like that’s often the case with neck scarves though. The flight attendant community has really taken ownership of the neck scarf look; I think it’s time the rest of us reclaim it. It’s not fair that they have a monopoly on it.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Chaps (thrifted, Goodwill)

Blouse: Abercrombie

Skirt: J. Crew (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

September 20, 2019 – Pro Tip (OOTD #565)

Pro tip: fashion for the professional workplace is hard.I don’t know if that’s really a tip so much as it is an observation. I struggle to come up with work-appropriate silhouettes that aren’t receptive and boring every single day. It’s so hard. What am I supposed to do if I’m not allowed to wear ripped boyfriend jeans and mini-skirts every other day?

I think professional clothing is a little unfair to women — “workplace” fashion tends to de-emphasize sexuality. You’re supposed to look plain and unassuming: dark colors, conservative silhouettes, plain cuts. You’re supposed to “not be a distraction to men” or whatever (as if men can’t learn to just…not be distracted). You wear slacks and cardigans and turtlenecks, which, while they can be made to look attractive, are not necessarily the most flattering,

Men, on the other hand, get to wear suits, which are perceived as the most flattering attire for their gender. Think about it — men wear suits for every fancy occasion. They wear them for prom, for weddings, for funerals, and, of course, for work. You see a man at work in a suit and you think, “oh, that man is dressed up.” You see a women at work in a cardigan and you think, “well, she looks appropriate.”

It goes both ways, though. Women are culturally allowed a greater diversity of styles than men are — we can wear dresses and skirts and crop tops and heels and a whole number of types of clothing that men can’t wear without looking “effeminate.” Sure, men wear suits to work, which, due to their associations with formal occasions, tend to make them look dressier, but then they also don’t get to wear wedding gowns and club wear and prom dresses.

Or rather, society says they can’t. I think they can if they want. As they say, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Forever21

Top: thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest

Skirt: River Island