2013 Outfit Duds

Since I only post three outfits each week, I end up photographing many more than are seen on the blog. (And, of course, I wear plenty of stuff that I don’t have the time or inclination to photograph OR post! Life and blog do, in fact, diverge.) Some of those photos end up in the newsletter, but many more end up in a purgatory I’ve called “seconds,” which basically means, “I don’t think I like this … but I’m gonna come back to it later and decide.”

I don’t think a single outfit has ever made it from the “seconds” folder onto the blog. I should just re-label it “duds.”

And since I’ll be publishing a list of my favorite posts from the past year in a couple of days, I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you how frequently I wear things that just don’t work. Here are some of 2013’s outfit duds:


This falls under “looked SO cute in person …” That drapey metallic top is wonderful in motion, but wow does it look weird here. Also will probably work better when it’s warm enough to wear with a tank instead of sleeves that peek out awkwardly.


I love that necklace so much, but man it can really look like a lei sometimes. A glowing neon lei.


I’m not sure if I grew several inches or just got older, but this dress was given to a friend after I saw this outfit shot. It’s so cute, but it’s so SHORT. Passable with tights, but still shorter than I’d like for modesty and proportional reasons.


Still haven’t mastered the curly look for my short hair, and it can look extremely poofy on day two. Oh, so poofy and strangely heart-shaped.


I saw this combo – cornflower blue, leopard, and dusty red – in a J.Crew catalog and became obsessed with re-creating it. Somehow their version seemed less blocky, more seamlessly related. Also that bag isn’t quite right, methinks.


So close! But I got really hung up on the green legs. GREEN, GREEN LEGS. That sweater got donated shortly after this for being seriously hard to style. Too short to wear with pants, and just a wee bit too boxy to work with most skirts.


This outfit eventually became this outfit, which works far better. The blazer is a bit too long and loose to work here.


I have a pin of an outfit with pale yellow, mint, and gray that I kept coming back to … and yet this was as close as I came to making the combo work in real life. Proportions are a bit off – if the cardi was longer it would have been better.


I can’t really put my finger on what’s wrong here. I love the colors, but something is just slightly off. Might be the boots, which seem somehow incongruous color-wise.


So cute in person! Somehow slightly prom-like here. Also my right hand looks kinda … missing.


I wanted to make those capris work, but they hit at just the wrong spot. And pairing them with sandals that cut me at the ankle didn’t help matters any.

There wasn’t anything in the “seconds” file that was so hideous and embarrassing that it made me truly cringe. The vast majority were outfits that didn’t photograph as well as they wore, had one element that was somehow out of whack, or that looked slightly wrong but for vague, unidentifiable reasons. And lest you misunderstand, this is NOT me beating myself up. This is me showing you that I don’t know everything, that I am still learning, that I have “off days.” Just like you. And everyone.

But I still have fun getting dressed. And I aim to keep it that way!


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41 Responses to “2013 Outfit Duds”

  1. Maya

    I’m actually finding myself quite fond of a couple of these- they give you a somewhat more varied presentation than I usually see from your posts, and I really like that. It seems more organic. In particular, I liked the drapy metallic top, and the dress and shawl combo that you described as somewhat prom-like, with the bright blue blazer over yellow coming in third. I’m glad I got to see them.

  2. K-Line

    OK I love those blue dress and burgundy tunic outfits. I don’t think the dress is too short at all!

  3. Michelle

    I also own a ‘glowing neon lei’ similar to yours. Do you have any pictures of this necklace in previous posts? I would love some inspiration as I am yet to wear mine. Many thanks.

  4. Allison

    Sweet Sal – I think you’re fabulous no matter what! Happy New year, dear.

  5. Shanna

    I love that gingham dress! I know you gave it away, but I don’t suppose you remember where you go it?

  6. une femme

    I actually really like some of these (especially the top photo, and the maroon dress with the fuchsia wrap), but totally get what you mean about outfits that look good in person not photographing well. Some things just don’t translate well to two dimensions.

  7. Rija

    I truly like the plaid shirt and cropped jeans outfit, adorable! Happy New Year!

  8. Anamarie

    I agree with you on all of these, except for the first one. I like the futuristic/Matrix vibe. I get that the shirt probably moves around a lot, but I really like this outfit!

  9. Spacegeek33

    Sally, thank you for sharing these. It is really gratifying to see that even someone as aware as you can have a few duds at times. Makes me feel less inadequate. So really, thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. shebolt

    I kinda love the one with the pale yellow cardi and think the proportions are just perfect. It’s funny how it really is all in the eye of the beholder.

    Most of your “duds” are better than most of my daily outfits. But I guess that’s why you have this fabulous blog and I am merely a follower of this fabulous blog.

  11. Krysta

    I found myself loving a lot of those outfits! The colorblocking on the leopard, cornflower, and red outfit is one I would do myself. And I’m with shebolt and can’t see anything wrong with the proportions on the outfit with the yellow cardi.

    And on a funny coincidence, I happen to be wearing the same tight/shoe color combo as the maroon dress today! I was hoping the tights would be a bit closer in color, but there’s a slight blue undertone in them that’s not present in either my shoes or the top I’m wearing.

  12. Elsa

    I like most of these, and love a couple of them, especially the tunic-and-leggings look that comes first. I’m sure it looks even better in person where you can see its fluidity.

    I got unduly excited over the leopard-and-blue outfit because I had what might be my first-ever belt-wearing insight. (That might sound like nothing, but I almost never wear belts and was beginning to think I’d never really get them, y’know? So reading style blogs appears to have paid off!)

    Here it is. [drumroll] Would a narrow belt, either in the same blue as the skirt or in the red of the shoes, pull it together?


  13. Katxena

    Thanks for posting these. I appreciate your commentary about what didn’t work for you — I don’t agree with all the comments, but seeing a bit more of your thought process is really interesting.

  14. Erika A

    I might be off the deep end here, but I like all of these outfits (with the exception of the too-short plaid dress). I adore the tuxedo-stripe leggings in the first outfit, where/what brand are those from?

    Looking forward to another year of Already Pretty! Happy New Year Sal!

  15. Heather

    Thank you for sharing your “duds”. It’s encouraging to know I’m not alone in having ‘off’ outfit days. I also see I’m not alone in really liking the first outfit. I wonder if a casual or sassy scarf would change your mind about it?

  16. Gina

    Best pic of you ever, the last one with the thumbs up. Happy New Year, Sal!

  17. TexasAggieMom

    I echo what Shebolt said – many of these are better than most of my daily outfits! But it’s good to see the process that helps you refine an outfit from ho-hum to blog-worthy, and that inspires me to give a second look to ALL of my outfits before debuting them in public. Now back to closet purging – what a great way to start the new year!

  18. Hayley

    I really like the first one, mostly because it’s SO different from what you usually put on the blog that it’s nice to see that variation (also because I wear a lot of black, that’s part of why I like it.) You rarely wear that much black without even a pop.

    I like the necklace in the second outfit, especially with the pale color of that bag. Maybe with a more neutral outfit it would look less like a lei and have a more statement necklace-y vibe.

    Too bad you didn’t post that fourth outfit, I’m digging the color combination!

  19. Aging fashionista

    I love this post, because it exemplifies what we who love fshion/style so often do–this necklace or that? Is adding a bracelet too much? Long cardi or short? Tall boots or shooties? Cuff the jeans or not? Tucked shirt or half or un? Belt or no belt? This fine tuning can make or break a look, even if only in our own eye. I love the nuances that go into putting an outfit together tho it can also drive you mad. Id love to see more of this ‘why does this work” on blogs I visit, recognizing that that these choices represent very personal tastes.

  20. Aging fashionista

    I love this post, because it exemplifies the process that we who love fashion/style so often engage in—this necklace or that? Is adding a bracelet too much? Long cardi or short? Tall boots or shooties? Cuff the jeans or not? Tucked shirt or half or un? Belt or no belt? This fine tuning can make or break a look, even if only in our own eye. I love the nuances that go into putting an outfit together tho it can also drive you mad. Id love to see more of this ‘why does this work” on blogs I visit, recognizing that that these choices represent very personal tastes.

  21. Justine

    Sally each outfit in your duds pile still looks intriguing and lovely. So much greater than many many other people passing by on the street. It really is a gift to others to take time to dress well. The metallic top in picture one looks great with your hair colour. Do you think it would be a good scarf fabric for you? It would look good with denim too. Best wishes for a great 2014!

  22. Karen

    I looked at these outfits and thought they were as cute as could be, what could possibly be wrong with them!

  23. Leah

    I’m suddenly thinking I need to photograph my outfits to get a different perspective on what I look like! The difference between the image I see in the mirror and what I see in a photo never ceases to amaze me. Now I have a new use for the camera I got for Christmas…

    PS I also really liked the first outfit but would have added a long necklace (but then I wear a long necklace with most of my outfits!).

  24. Shawna

    As others have said, I too quite like some of these and would wear them myself. I particularly like the two with the leggings, the green and brown outfit with the polka dot skirt, even though I am not a polka dot fan, is mostly working for me too. I also like your outfit with the soft autumn colours but agree with you that the boots aren’t quite right. What I want to know is, did you change out of those outfits or did you wear them all day before deciding you didn’t like them?

  25. Missy

    I LOVE the last pic of you. You really should take more fun pics like that. You look adorable!

  26. Molly

    I LOVED this post! So fun to see what outfits didn’t make it onto the blog and I loved your fun commentary under each picture. Happy 2014, Sal! xoxo!

  27. Claire

    Gosh, I really like some of these. So interesting how very subjective it all is. Really fun post!

  28. Esther's consignment

    That J. Crew cornflower blue+leopard+dusty red combo? It’s a tough one. HOWEVER, that blue skirt replaced w/ blue cigarette, pencil pants could be very, very sharp. Maybe give it another shot? ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. TexanNewYorker

    Sal, I think I have a suggestion for styling your short hair curly that might work to avoid the heart-shaped look. I, too, have curly hair that I just cut short. From what I can tell, you have a tighter curl pattern than I do; but what I discovered was that if I comb my wet curls forward and scrunch instead of parting my hair where I usually would when it’s straightened, I get a pile of curls atop my head that looks more like Meg Ryan than Bozo the Clown. Just a thought!

    • Sally

      Thank you, my dear! I think my curls need more length than I’m giving them to actually curl on their own … the times I’ve gotten real curls with the short ‘do have been when I’ve had my hair professionally done with a curling iron and stuff. I am experimenting with the Deva line again, though, and their techniques are similar to the one you are using. Fingers crossed! And glad you’ve found a technique that works for you!

  30. juni

    I think the ‘cornflower blue, leopard, and dusty red’ combo would really work with a tucked blouse -> higher waistline.
    And I really like the bag.

  31. rebekah

    Please tell me about the leggings, tunic, and boots in the fourth picture! Where do you find good leggings for long legs?