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.

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

September 18, 2019 – Elle Woods Style (OOTD #564)

I feel weird even venturing to compare myself to Elle Woods — it feels almost sacrilegious.

Legally Blonde was one of the very first PG-13 movies I was allowed to watch with my mother. I can’t even remember how old I was — maybe fourth grade? But fourth grade-Meilin loved that movie — probably more than it deserved from an artistic standpoint. It’s a cute chick flick, sure, but it’s no cinematic masterpiece.

It was Legally Blonde and not Law and Order that glamorized the idea of being a lawyer for me. I’m sure both are wildly inaccurate depictions of the profession, but as a kid, I was way more drawn to the idea of wearing pink suits and carrying scented documents than I was to dramatic courtroom showdowns.

I’m not ready yet for the dramatic courtroom showdowns (I need to like…get into law school first), but, with my 9-5 internship, I have an excuse to wear cute professional outfits every day.

Herein lies the challenge — making my everyday professional outfits “cute.” It’s not hard to put on a pair of trousers and a blazer each morning; it’s hard to find a way to make a pair of trousers and a blazer unique and interesting when you wore basically the same thing the day before.

I’m learning, though. I’m discovering that the key to cute professional dressing is bright colors and fun accessories. If you’re relegated to wearing “work-appropriate” cuts and silhouettes, the best way to dress things up is to play up your color, pattern, and texture palette. I like wearing scarves and jackets to add layers to basics, like this plain blouse. A patterned skirt or sparkly necklace can help too.

I may not wear pink every day, but I at least try to dress as fashionably as possible, even for a boring day at the office desk. Elle Woods would approve.

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: Ann Taylor (thrifted)

Skirt: The LOFT

Blouse: Forever21

September 14, 2019 – Out (OOTD #563)

(I hope you don’t mind, but I’m trying to transition from blog posts every day to every other day for now. Every day was a little difficult to keep up with — and besides, now that  I’m only a month and a half behind with my posts compared to three months behind like earlier this year,I’m not as concerned about catching up on a summer’s worth of travels that I might forget)

I love to be out. I don’t so much love to be out late into the night.

I think I’m becoming my parents. They also don’t like to be out late at night, whether it’s at the movies or the mall or a restaurant. It was like pulling teeth sometimes to convince my dad to take me out Black Friday shopping when I was a kid.

But now, I’m the one whose teeth need to be pulled in order to get her to be out past 10pm. I don’t understand what happened. I’m still capable of pulling a late night at the office or the library if I slam coffee, but being out that late for food? Or a drink? That’s going to be a no from me.

Sometimes, though, my body and my brain can be bothered to agree, and I can manage to get myself to go out at night. As was the case here, with the “Art All Night” event in the Shaw neighborhood.

It was a cute idea for an event — basically, a bunch of shops and restaurants kept their doors open later than usual on a Saturday night so that people could come do art-related activities. A gym had a canvas painting station, and a restaurant had some postcards to decorate.

I think what excited me most of all, though, was the plant shop giving out free flower cuttings. There was only one per person, but no one else in the group wanted theirs, so I got to take them all. I was so pleased, that I even bought a succulent that I definitely don’t need.  I guess their marketing techniques worked.

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: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Pull and Bear

 

September 13, 2019 – Over the Moon (OOTD #562)

As a kid, I always liked the Mid-Autumn Festival more than Chinese New Year.

Now, I’ve never actually gotten to celebrate either of these holidays in China, so I don’t know what they’re like when they’re celebrated in the culture from which they originated, but for me, as a child in Kentucky, the Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival, if you prefer that nomenclature) was superior.

When I lived in Louisville, the local Chinese cultural association put on a party every year for the Mid-Autumn Festival that blended traditional Chinese festivities with American fall fair activities. I distinctly remember that there was a corn maze and pumpkins alongside the moon cakes and lanterns. Honestly, as a kid, I was probably more excited about the corn maze than I was about the moon cakes — I don’t actually like moon cakes that much.

But I was feeling nostalgic this year because I kind-of fell out of touch with Chinese culture after I moved to Lexington and, while I’ve tried to reconnect with it a little after I’ve come to Notre Dame, a college campus in the middle of Indiana is admittedly not an ideal place to do that.

And so I thought, Washington DC, a city with its own Chinatown, might be a decent place to try again.

And like, I suppose it wasn’t bad. DC’s Chinatown is small — literally, just a part of one street, compared to New York’s or Chicago’s, which are full neighborhoods. I went too late to see any of the actual festivities, but I found a little Chinese bodega where I could buy a moon cake and I got a picture with the famous Friendship Gate. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

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

Jeans: American Eagle

September 12, 2019 – Order in the Court (OOTD #561)

I almost titled this “Supreme” in reference to the overpriced fast fashion company that everyone was super into for a hot minute in 2018, but I ultimately decided I disliked Supreme so much that I didn’t even want to give it a reference in a blog title.

After our class visit to the Capitol, our next stop was the Supreme Court. We’re making the rounds to the three branches of government, meaning the White House will get a post later in the semester.

If I had to choose one of the three main government buildings in DC to work in (the Capitol, the Supreme Court, or the White House) based on design alone, I think the Supreme Court would be my pick. The Capitol is huge and rather lacking in windows, and the White House just feels too much like a rich person’s house than an office building. I feel like the Supreme Court strikes a nice balance of austerity and beauty, though it too could use some more natural light.

I know these big important government buildings have to be secure so that no one can just shoot a Supreme Court Justice through a window or something, but there must be some way for them to not be so dark and cold. Maybe they could get some of those natural light bulbs that they use on plants.

To their credit though, at least they’re not in the brutalist style of some of the government agency headquarters here in DC, like the State Department or the FBI. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a building as ugly and sad-looking as the FBI — to be honest, I think that was the designer’s intent. Sure, the Capitol building could use more plants and windows, but I would say that about every structure that’s not an actual greenhouse, and those are nitpicks in comparison to some of the buildings that look like they come straight out of 1984 (the novel, not the year — in terms of years, they look more like 1964).

The Supreme Court tour my class went on was fairly short — as is the case with a lot of these tours of functioning government buildings, they won’t let you see a whole lot. We went before the court season began, so we didn’t get to see any proceedings, but they let us into the main courtroom to sit and look around for a minute. While it’s not a picture sitting in Justice Ginsberg’s chair while wearing a powdered wig, I did get this shot from the doorway, which is more than most people can say.

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!


Top: The LOFT

Skirt: River Island

September 9, 2019 – Brooking It (OOTD #560)

First days of anything are scary.

It’s strange: in one sense, you generally don’t have much to do at all, and you’re certainly not given any responsibilities that you’re able to screw up. But it feels like you are. It feels like someone’s waiting to catch you in a mistake, so they can tell you that just kidding, they don’t actually want you to work there after all. Is that just my imposter syndrome showing?

In actuality, though, my first day at Brookings was fairly uneventful. I didn’t get fired, regardless of what my anxiety kept trying to warn me, so I count that as a win.

I spent most of the day in orientation, which I mostly don’t remember, save for random bits of trivia that won’t help me in my actual work. How to compile a literature review or compose a policy memo? I’m clueless. If you need to know where the emergency backpacks are located or where to go in the event of a fire, though, I got you.

Eventually, though, once all of the orientations are over, I’d like to learn what it like working in research on a daily basis. I’ve done short-term or semester-long research projects for my various classes, but I have never devoted myself to a single, in-depth project for such a lengthy duration. I’ve been considering academia as a potential career path, and so the opportunity to intern at a think tank will be an exciting prospect to see what political research looks like in practice.

Additionally, I’d like to get comfortable working in a professional environment and gain the respect of my coworkers. I’ve worked some short internships before, but usually just for the summer and usually for only a few days a week. I’ve never made this kind of time commitment to an internship before, and I’m looking forward to getting to know people and establishing a regular routine. I hope I’ll be able to help the people at the Brookings Institution in a legitimate and worthwhile way — also not to get fired.

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: J. Crew (thrifted, Goodwill)

Jacket: Lelarose (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

September 2, 2019 – A Monumental Semester Part Two (OOTD #559)

For part one, click here.

I think the main draw of Washington DC as a tourist destination for me is the monuments and memorials. Think about it — what can you really see in the White House or the Supreme Court? Not a lot. The average tours they give to the public only last about 30 minutes because there’s very little that they actually will allow people in to see. They have the potential to be very cool buildings, but you can’t see much of their insides, and what you can see of their outsides is pretty but not jaw-droppingly so.

So what’s left? The museums, I guess — which I absolutely respect if you were to say they’re your favorite part of DC. I’m just not a museum person. I don’t deny that the Smithsonians may be some of the best history and science museums in the world, but that only means so much to a gremlin like me that gets bored in museums. My only exception is art museums — I could spend a lifetime in those. Unfortunately, DC’s not big in the art museum scene. I guess there’s the National Portrait Gallery?

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That’s not to say DC lacks art, though — and that’s where the monuments and memorials come in. With the exception of the Washington Monument (which — I’m sorry if you’re a big Washington Monument fan — is just a giant stick into the sky), the monuments and memorials on the National Mall are really something to see.

This was my second tour of the National Mall within just a few days, though this one was a lot more thorough. Compared to last time, where we were just led around from one monument to another to explore on our own (so much on our own, that I in fact got separated from the group and never made it to the Jefferson Memorial), this time, we actually had someone explain to us what we were looking at.

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Honestly, it was almost too much explaining — it was like, a four-hour tour, and we really only saw a few things. I still haven’t gotten to see the Jefferson Memorial. Will I actually make it there before the end of the semester? 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!


Top: H&M

Shorts: H&M

August 31, 2019 – A Monumental Semester (OOTD #558)

Blog title courtesy of Notre Dame’s Washington Program tagline.

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Say what you will about Washington DC being a fake city consisting of nothing but tourists and glorified temps who come and go with every election (in fact, I’d probably half agree with you), but I like the monuments and memorials.

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I don’t know, I just think they’re cool. With the exception of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (which is my favorite) and maybe to a lesser extent the Korean War Veterans Memorial, none of them are super provocative, which to me is what makes a good memorial.  However, they’re still fun to look at. No, there’s nothing emotive or honestly really even that controversial about the Lincoln Memorial. In the end, it’s just a giant statue of a guy in a chair. But you can still marvel at the artistry and technique that went into creating the giant statue of a guy in a chair.

I think, for me, that’s what makes the difference between a cool statue and a memorial — a memorial should have some form of impact for the viewer. And that doesn’t have to be in the form of controversy in its creation or design, as was the case with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (though I do find the story behind its design to be fascinating).

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A memorial should make you think or reflect on something — in the case of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it’s to make you reflect on how terrible war is for just about everyone involved. It’s an ugly wall for an ugly war. To compare, the National World War II Memorial may have a flashy fountain and beautiful sculptures of eagles, but it doesn’t really make you think about anything but how flashy the fountain is and how beautiful the sculptures of the eagles are. For that reason, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the better memorial — even if it’s the uglier “statue.”

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Like I said, though, that’s not to say that some of the “big statue” memorials, like Lincoln or Washington or Jefferson, aren’t still fun to see. They’re just not provocative to see. Comparing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial is like comparing a Francis Bacon to a Pier1 Imports painting of a fruit bowl — yes, Lincoln is pretty to look at and an impressive display of technique, but what did it really make you think about? We all already know what a fruit bowl looks like, and we all already know that Lincon was a good president.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the monuments and memorials in DC that you didn’t ask for. One last opinion for the road — how long until a woman gets a memorial on the National Mall of the scale of Lincoln or Jefferson? And who do I have to know in order to get to design 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!


Top: H&M

Skirt: Forever21