Monday, June 17, 2013

Mint Green Dream

Way back in May, my friend Meg and I got together for a photo shoot around Harvard, followed by some Pho, and reminiscing. I opted to wear this quintessentially 50s circle skirt dress with a full petticoat because, well, why not? This is one of those dresses that makes me see the world through rose-colored (or perhaps more fittingly, mint green) glasses. Everything seems so much sweeter, more hopeful and it just makes me feel--to quote Fitzgerald-- “a heightened sensitivity for the promises of life.” For me, getting dressed is my favorite part of the day and I love that I can literally alter my disposition just by throwing a dress over my head. Life can be so hectic and discouraging sometimes, I think it's important to indulge ourselves in doing little things that make us happy and hopeful.

For me, getting dressed up is my way of mentally preparing myself for each day. Thankfully I have a job that is different everyday. I never know what subject I'm going to be teaching or what students I'll be working with, and that's kind of exciting. Looking back on the past nine months, I’m in awe. Subbing has taught me more about what it means to be a teacher than my master’s program ever could (no offense, Lesley!). Looking back on old posts, and reflecting on the last year, I'm in such amazement at everything that's happened. I've had the chance to work alongside so many inspirational teachers, build relationships with such insightful students, and naturally do it all in variety of fun vintage frocks.

So, if I’ve been a bit of sporadic blogger, this is why. Between working full-time in a high school, teaching ESOL part-time, advising two different clubs, going to grad school, working 2-3 part-time jobs, volunteering as a tutor, and trying to have some semblance of a social life, I don’t have nearly enough time to complain about how busy I am. But even on the more challenging days, when adolescent boys are doing everything in their power to push my buttons (e.g.,“Ms. Stevens, he threw my pencil out the window!” “Ms. Stevens, when are we going on that date? “Ms. Stevens, how many tattoos do you have?”) and thwart my every attempt to actually teach a class, there’s always something that reminds me that becoming a teacher was the best idea I’ve ever had. A couple weeks ago, I received a thank you note from a couple of students after chaperoning an event, and in it one student thanked me for brining in a poem I wrote because it inspired her to start writing again. Those seemingly miniscule details are the silver linings of my days, my driving force.

But enough of all that sentimental sappy wannabe-teacher hullaballoo—this is a fashion blog for crying out loud! Well, on that note, I must report, that something truly amazing recently happened to me. Now, I was always under the impression that my two loves, education and fashion, were just too different to ever come together in a happy—though admittedly odd couple-ly—marriage. Students always ask me where I get my clothes and why I dress the way I do, and I love having the opportunity to connect with them over something fun and creative, and not really academic—but, seeing as fashion has not yet been added to the state mandated curriculum, I figured I’d be holding my breath a long time if I wanted to actually teach fashion. I would even make offhand jokes about establishing the fantastical Sara Stevens Academy for Fashionable Young Women. HA! C’mon, girl, keep dreaming!

Then, after months of job hunting, and sending out throngs of resumes for positions I was either under-qualified for or under-interested in, I stumbled across a posting I was convinced was too good to be true. The title of the ad read: Hiring Awesome Fashion Instructor. I reread the ad about a hundred times determined there had to be some kind of catch. Did they want me to have doctorate degree in the fine art of thrifting? Perhaps, I’d need to teach the class while wearing eight-inch stilettos? Once I had recovered from the shock and convinced myself this was a real position and not a practical joke or a hallucination, I wrote the most genuinely giddy cover letter ever in existence. I gushed and gushed and gushed, and somehow, after a phone interview, a whole lot of wishing and hoping, and a tiny bit of moping around convinced I didn’t get it, I got it!

That’s right, this summer I will be teaching DIY Fashion at an all girls summer camp in Northampton. I get to talk about fashion, play around with different fabrics and accents, tackle my ever-expanding Pinterest DIY tutorial board, and help a group of creative teenage girls make their fabulous fashion design dreams a reality. What’s more, I will be living on the gorgeous campus at Smith College for the duration of camp, and orchestrating a fashion show as the culminating event. This can’t be real life! Someone needs to pinch me because I’m pretty sure I’m living the dream.

Outfit Details:
1950s Mint and White Striped Dress with Eyelet Details ~ Vintage Revenge
Vintage White Beaded Gloves ~ a gift from my mother
1950s Gold and White Basket Purse ~ Garment District
Vintage Double Strand Pearls ~ a gift from my mother
Pearl Bracelet ~ a gift from my mother
1950s Pink Tulle Petticoat ~ Ebay
Alice and Olivia Retro Heels (DIY spray-painted mint green) ~ Urban Renewals

Photography by Meaghan Moulton


  1. Sara A, I couldn't agree more. I was a sub for six long years through college and then three years after that before I got a permanent position as a teacher. I went the unconventional route and didn't major in education. I met a lot of teachers who went to Bridgewater, of Framingham, or Lesley and got the Rolls Royce of teaching educations, but put them in front of a classroom and they were clueless. Substitute teaching is a baptism by fire, but when you come out the other side you'll be a damn fine teacher! Congratulations on this new step in your career, you earned it!

  2. Baptism by fire, oh my god--that be might the most concise encapsulation of what it's like to be a sub! I couldn't agree more about the extreme disconnect between the idealism/theory taught in most educator prep programs and the actual practice of classroom teaching. I think the most significant advantage of my program has been connecting me to other teachers-in-training. Collaborating with and learning from other would-be-teachers has been the most rewarding and useful part of my program. I've gained way more practical advice from them than I have from my professors. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience. Comments like yours always brighten my day!