Choices and Changes, Part 1

If you are a person who posts outfits to a blog – and especially if you make money off of said blog – here are some of the things that are generally expected of you:

• That you be normal and approachable, but also look wrinkle-free, perfectly lit, and impeccable in every single image. (Without ever using Photoshop.)

• That you avoid wearing the same things over and over again, but also avoid spending lots of money acquiring new things or wearing too many items that were sent to you for free.

• That your clothes fit perfectly at all times even though you are subject to bloating, weight gain and loss, and unexpected dryer shrinkage just like everyone else.

• That you be unashamed of your curves and bulges and natural disproportionality, but also that your figure be perfectly balanced and traditionally flattered at all times and by all outfits.

• That every outfit you post be unique and inspirational, but also re-creatable and accessible. Normal but not boring, innovative but not weird.

• And, above all, that you be receptive to all forms of input and critique of your personal style, yet also remain “authentic” to your own style and sense of self.

These are not accusations being leveled at you as an individual, but rather observations gleaned from years of reading comments, participating in communities, and having discussions with fellow bloggers. You may not think or say these things yourself, and you may not see them everywhere you look and read. But they are being thought and said. Constantly.

Much has been written about authenticity or lack thereof in style and lifestyle blogs, and I am loathe to re-hash that body of rhetoric here. But let me say this: A blog is a tiny window into a single room in someone’s life. If you expect to see the entirety of that person through that tiny window into that single room, your expectations are unreasonable.

This blog is now entering its eighth year. It has been through many changes and so have I. And after all these years of pouring my time and energy and passion into this website, I have become quite weary of the bizarrely contradictory expectations laid at my feet, and at the feet of all bloggers who post outfits.

Like all people, I am influenced by the comments and critiques I receive. I am, after all, a person – something I always feel ridiculous writing, but also something that seems to be frequently forgotten or overlooked. For a long time, I heard readers saying that they loved how I wore color and how boldly I combined various shades. I have enjoyed wearing and playing with color for years, so I took this tidbit and ran with it. To extremes at times.

jewels_outfit

2012

When I quit my day job and became self-employed three years ago, I heard readers saying that they wouldn’t be able to relate to me anymore since I could suddenly wear whatever I wanted. I enjoyed dressing up every day and wanted to be relatable, so I made sure to keep wearing dresses and heels and blazers and office-worthy attire.

lott_outfit2

2014

And now? Now, friends, I need a change. Over the past year, my work has become much more active and mobile, so the high heels are no longer practical. And somehow those heels have become more irritating or I’ve become more sensitive, because these days I am in flats nearly all the time. Although I will always dress up for speaking engagements and press appearances, I do not work a regular office job and therefore do not need to wear office-friendly attire on a daily basis. Instead, I am gravitating towards denim, neutrals, leather, and all things casual rocker. It’s a facet of my personal style that has always been present, but now I find myself wanting to let it dominate.

newlook

I have donated or sold more than a third of my wardrobe this summer as I’ve moved toward a revised aesthetic. I’ve picked up a few new pieces that will fill in gaps, but am relieved to have downsized somewhat. Especially since I want my new look to be more pared-down and simple. And although badass, rocker-y looks aren’t unfamiliar to me I’ve never attempted to focus on this style alone. So I’m sure I’ll put together some weird outfits with a few items that have been held over from my more formal, retro looks as I experiment. I’m sure it’ll take some time to find my groove. I’m sure this will be a rocky, uneven, fits-and-starts learning experience.

And I’m also sure that some of you will miss me wearing gobs of color. Some of you will find my outfits un-relatable. Some of you will feel like I’m not highlighting the “best” aspects of my figure as much as I used to. Some of you will get bored. But it dawned on me recently that I was no longer dressing for myself. I constantly encourage all of you to wear what makes you happy, but I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. I was wearing stuff that I thought would make YOU happy … but that no longer aligned with my own dressing desires.

So I’ll still do the occasional retro frock and heels, trot out the full skirts and cardigans once in a while. But I may style them differently. And overall, you can expect me to look considerably more muted, casual, and comfortable. And just so you’re warned: I may wear the same things over and over because I want to make the most of my wardrobe. I may look wrinkly because I actually wear the outfits I photograph, and worn clothes don’t look freshly pressed. I may wear things that look too tight or loose to you because my weight fluctuates and sometimes I’m not acutely aware of those changes. (See above re: personhood.) I may wear outfits that fail to balance my figure or conform to traditional flattery maxims because I am more focused on feeling good than looking tall and thin and balanced. I may wear things that you hate or don’t understand or would never in a million years wear yourself.

And I hope that you’ll stick around because I have worked hard to make this blog much, much more than a chronicle of my style, my outfits, my looks. I have worked hard to make this a space for questions and answers and exploration and sharing. I post outfits because, as a reader, I draw inspiration from the outfits of other bloggers, and because I know it helps to have a visual to go with a voice. But I have worked hard to create a blog that isn’t all about me. And since many of you have told me over the years that you don’t like or get most of my outfits, but still love and value my advice and writing – something that humbles and honors me every time I hear it – I hope you’ll stick around through this change. If you do, you’ll get to see a conscious, active evolution of personal style.

And if you don’t? I completely respect that and I wish you well. But knowing what I know now, I need to focus less on conforming to expectations and focus more on being who I actually am.

Originally posted 2014-09-08 06:29:43.

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123 Responses to “Choices and Changes, Part 1”

  1. Zaianya

    I can’t imagine how challenging it must get, on a DAILY basis, to try and promote style authenticity while feeling bound by reader expectations.

    I’m so excited about the coming casual / rocker outfits! Can’t wait to witness a personal style evolution 🙂

  2. Pam Armstrong Greer

    I loved this post! I am not a fashion blogger – kind of attempting to add that to my list of blogging things, but it’s not a priority. I work from home and dress more casual. I am thrilled when I find someone who dresses more casual that I can get ideas from.

  3. Anamarie

    Fashion changes constantly. I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with your personal style changes. The look you’re moving towards seems natural, and looks great with your hair. Last Friday, I wore jeans and grey wing tips to work, and you would have thought I had my face tattooed by the reaction. (As an aside, why is it OK to say to someone’s face, “what are you wearing??”) Yeah, I don’t usually wear jeans and flats, but the jeans fit! And the shoes reminded me of something I would wear in high school, but more sophisticated. Sometimes you just have to try something new and to heck with everyone else. I’m looking forward to seeing your style evolve!

  4. Jennifer

    I read this blog not because we’re style twinsies, but because every time I come here I learn something new, and maybe see something from a new perspective. I appreciate what you do and I look forward to the next chapter of your evolution.

  5. lauren_church

    Wow. This is a facet of being a style blogger I never really thought of. Keeping *your* style in your style blog. Maintaining what the masses expect from your style while trying to stay authentic. A challenge to be sure.

    But you are a person, not a product. The old posts will still be there, for us to peruse and consider. And this evolution is an important part of your identity. Knowing you were hiding a part of that identity for your audience would make me uncomfortable… So I appreciate the heads up, but really, I think this blog is at its best when YOU are you.

  6. Caitlin

    Yay for evolution! May we all be blessed with the same ability to be who we are.

  7. Mary

    Go Sally! It takes a lot to put yourself out there and be subject to constant criticism, which is why I generally avoid the limelight myself. You can’t be all things to all people, so good for you for putting your own happiness and self care first. Love the blog, and I will continue to read it for a long time.

  8. mendotawaves

    Dear Sally– I came to your blog a few years ago and was entranced by the colorful styling, and even more drawn to the wonderful thought provoking articles about self perception, self love, and presenting and expressing ourselves thru clothing. Recently I’ve been reading your archives and have been delighted to see the journey you were on, both personal and professional. You have always been growing and changing and it is appropriate your style should reflect that. Nothing like damned if you do, and damned if you don’t and other perfectionistic expectations–a person with a public presence gets even more of that than the average bear. It’s such a human thing to want things and people to stay the same way they were when we first discovered and liked them, but most know, there will always be change. I am glad you have decided to follow your own star and am looking forward to seeing the ongoing changes in style, and continuing thought provoking posts and links. Best wishes!

  9. Londyn

    You can’t believe how thrilled I am with your post!! Yes, I think all of us bloggers feel pressure to look or dress a certain way, but really what is the point if we’re not dressing for ourselves?!? It defeats the purpose. Especially if we’re not bloggers who have sponsors or professional photographers, etc.. that means we’re doing this simply because we enjoy it, so better make sure we’re enjoying it!

    I think your evolving look will be great and will relate to a lot of people. Keep it up!

    http://fashionistastyle1.blogspot.com/

  10. Sally McGraw

    Thank you all so much for your kindness and support. I’m so grateful and lucky that you come here to read and share and participate.

  11. Sue

    Like the others who have commented I enjoy all aspects of your blog and, though our styles are very different, I’ve used your outfits as inspiration to try different looks myself. I’m an Over 60 blogger and I have always shown outfits that I enjoy wearing (warts and all!), most of which are very casual as that is my lifestyle now that I have retired. Sometimes I deliberately seek comments from my readers along the lines of “Which colour do you think looks best on me?” and at other times I use my photos to illustrate the various points I am making. So far nobody has made any unkind comments about the way I look – maybe they are showing respect for the elderly! I am looking forward to seeing your new outfits.

      • christine102768

        absolutely grechen! I have been following you for years , as well…..I love watching you evolved….gracefully. I hope I can be as graceful with my evolution of style as both of you.

  12. Keely

    That is the way it should be! You should be wearing what you love and fits your life. If I want perfection I’ll pick up a magazine. I can relate to your new style much better anyway! I love it!

  13. Ronna Russell

    I can’t wait to see what you do next! Casual bad ass is my favorite thing and I sneak it into my work wardrobe whenever possible. Congratulations on your evolution. Go, Sally!

  14. r.s.

    I, for one, welcome your evolving aesthetic and look forward to being inspired by the new outfits! Everyone’s style evolves, and so that should be part of any style blog based on a unique individual’s own personal style.
    One request – could you do some follow-up posts on what it was like to purge your wardrobe in such a dramatic fashion? I think many of us contemplate doing something similar, but have some trepidation about the emotional and financial implications of such a purge.

    • Sally McGraw

      For sure, r.s. – I have a second part to this tomorrow talking a little more about the specific decisions and whys, but don’t dig into the purge too deeply. Will do in the future.

  15. Hannah Ball

    The whole point of fashion blogging (and why I read them) is to try to see how these clothes look in real life, on a real body, with a real schedule and a real budget. I’m so glad you’ve decided to be true to yourself and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us! so glad you’re here!

  16. Lisa

    Go Sally go. I love that photo of you in the kitty cat tee. And blogging is way more work than it appears, I know full well. If the blog doesn’t sustain the blogger as well as it sustains the readers, it’s an unfair deal. So I applaud you, and look forward to the edgier, more comfy style. <3

  17. Ruth Slavid

    Well done. I must say I do love the colour – that magenta/ mustard/ teal combo at the top is magic – but you must dress as you wish. Which I am sure will be great. As somebody who also works at home, although out quite often, I find the question of what to wear at home quite interesting. I even wrote a blog post about it a while ago http://talkingarchitecture.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/what-to-wear-freelance-post-10/
    And I must say I did look at some of your outfits and think ‘does she really wear that at home?’. Not that I didn’t like them but they looked like an enormous amount of effort. Whereas the new style looks more real. there is an interesting balance between being comfortable and feeling like a slob which I am sure you are having fun negotiating. And I bet, after a few weeks of casual, you will love the occasional excursion into colour and dresses and even heels. Looking forward to what comes next.

  18. Gisele

    Sally, thank you for your courageous honesty here. I had not dreamed of the emotional and sartorial tolls that fashionbloggerhood could take. I am so happy that you’re taking these steps, and hope you enjoy the heck out of the next phase.

    I’ll be riding along! Your blog is like a shot of sisterly joy in my life each morning. I get 100% of the satisfaction from 5 minutes on your blog that I used to get from 60 minutes with a fashion magazine, but without the soul-sucking, self-image-destroying, misogynistic consumerism.

    It’s a gift! And I’m so relieved you’re not bailing on the whole thing!

  19. Brenda Marks

    YAY, Sally! I’m staying.

    I get weird comments about what I wear, and I don’t even have a blog! I get,”Why are you so dressed up today?” when I am wearing what I normally wear- -a dress. I have to look approachable but professional. People have vastly different ideas on how I should manifest that, but screw them. I’m doing the best I can.

    Yay, Sally! You be you, ’cause that’s why I’ve been reading for years.

  20. Monica H

    Sally, I am one of those readers who loves your blog precisely *because* you are a real person, not in spite of it. The world is already full enough of the other kind of conventional inspiration. We don’t need more perfection, we need more reality. We don’t need more outfits, we need more humanity. I don’t read your blog for the style inspiration, as my body type and personal style are so different from yours. I read it because, for lack of a better way to describe it, YOU are here. I read it because I relate to YOU and you’ve been so generous in sharing yourself with kindness and love, sharing your struggles and triumphs and presenting ways to consider breaking away from convention in ways that exist practically nowhere else. Whatever you do that strengthens yourself and your personal direction can only add to your blog, and I am sure I will find much to ponder as you share your experiences through this transition.

  21. Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    You forgot the part where you should be as you used to be but you never seem to evolve and are stuck in the past! 😉 Sal, you are a human, and a multi-faceted active one at that so an evolution of style is necessary and expected, and I think likely welcomed by your loyal readers who have seen your personal evolution. I look forward to this style evolution! <3

  22. christine102768

    I , for one, have been following your blog from the beginning…..through two pregnancies….several kids later and I still love to hear what you have to say more than what you wear. I love your evolution. Its good to see that someone cares enough to be so honest. thank you for all of your past wisdom…looking forward to the future…:)

  23. Easterlily241

    Rock on girlfriend 🙂
    I do work in an office and loved seeing your dressy outfits, but I’ve been finding myself with in flatter shoes recently as well (for entirely different reasons). I’m looking forward to seeing your more casual but still polished and interesting looks!

  24. LeeK

    Dear Sally,
    Six months ago I googled “how to pronounce ponte” and discovered your blog. Ever since, I visit here every morning and have been catching up in your archives too. You have introduced me to other wonderful style bloggers, and while some of the gals in your lovely links have spoken my own style language perhaps more than you have, I always hit your site first for the thought provoking posts and discussions. As other commenters have noted, I too am looking forward to witnessing your style morph, and for all the new topics change can inspire. Just wanted to chime in, today of all days, to say “Here,here!” to being true to yourself and perhaps also to being surprised that so many of your regular readers “get it”. See you tomorrow. Lee

  25. Alex

    Best wishes for success and enjoyment!

    Your new-vibe outfits are awesome. (All-white maxi dress outfit = looove). I’m a conservative (maybe boring) dresser and have learned so much from you. I credit yoru lovely writing with pulling me out of a nasty bout of PPD-induced body hatred: following your advice about decorating my body went a long way towards making me like it better.

    I look forward to reading future posts! Regardless of the sartorial direction you take, your authenticity, excellent writing, and continuous focus on kindness to self and others–these are the reasons I keep reading your blog every day.

  26. katy

    I’m a long-time reader but rarely comment. I just wanted to say YAY to this post! I’ve been enjoying your style evolution lately, as it’s mirroring things I’ve been going through myself. As someone who used to dress modern-50’s every day and now longs for minimal, greys, black,
    and neutrals, I’m loving the toned down color palette and edgier looks. It seems the more stressful my life gets, the more calming and simple (but still special) I need my clothing choices to be.

    I, too, can’t wait to hear more about the closet purge – I know I need to do the same but just get overwhelmed when I try to start!I look forward to your posts, and appreciate your honesty/truth in the face of the falsities of the fashion world.

  27. Cynthia

    Yay for you! Having read this blog for a looooong time, I could, I don’t know, sorta tell that your heart wasn’t in your whole aesthetic in some way lately? Go your own way, I say. Of course, for me, going my own way sartorially and paring things down has kind of led to not wanting to blog anymore, but I hope you can manage to find a good balance.

  28. Stasia

    Oh Sally! As a new style blogger myself (I started my blog in June), reading this made me say YES YES YES!! I live in a small community in rural Vermont, and there is an expectation that I will ALWAYS look put together because I’m a Personal Stylist – with a Style Blog (www.thriftmepretty.com). I had these very thoughts this morning as I rushed out of the house to get my kids to school – without brushing my teeth, combing my hair or washing my face! I did throw on a cute hat (I have short hair so SOMETHING needed to be done to tame the THING 1 look I had going on) and some tinted chapstick, so I wasn’t a complete wreck – but still, I value my sleep more than pretty before 8AM! Going back through your pics, you’ve always infused the badass rocker chic into your look – just more formally. So to see you rock a pair of black ankle boots with a rocker tee is just a lovely and more casual version of YOU. Lovely post. Thank you for sharing! xo

  29. Jennifer

    You’re an amazing and inspirational person! There will always be naysayers tripping over each other in the blogosphere, but your messages rise above. You are compassionate, insightful, daring, and you offer some good advice. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Claire

    +1 and cheers for you. I hope you’ve kept your boots and will keep rocking them, because I love them. Pls also keep: Weekly kitten. Insomniac sales picks. How-to articles.

    • Natalie

      Yes, please, re: weekly kitten, sales picks, and how-to articles. 🙂 Especially weekly kitten.

  31. ArizonaRain

    Sending lots of love your way, Sally! It’s saddening to hear the unreasonable expectations and trivial gripes people throw your way. It’s heartening, though, that you’re persevering on and staying true to your style. You’re so brave and we’re thankful for you for showing us a glimpse of your life. You’re an inspiration and I look forward to seeing your new posts!

  32. Vivienz

    I’m looking forward to seeing your evolution. I became self-employed about 2 1/2 years ago and from having to be ‘booted and suited’ every day, I now only need to have the corporate look once or twice a week. Comfort reigns (and I don’t wear heels very often) and I prefer my non-client days to be smart casual and bicycle friendly (heels are surprisingly bicycle friendly, but not walking-friendly) so it’s been quite a journey. The best thing to come out of it is my increasing supply of non-business jackets – just love ’em. All power to you, Sally, and keep the wrinkles – they add character IMHO.

  33. Kate

    I am really excited about this! I have a similar style and can dress similarly casually from day to day, looking forward to seeing your new and evolved style.

  34. Heather Stritzke

    I’m not a blogger, style or otherwise, but I find that if your style is somewhat out of the norm (more dressed up, more unique, etc) and it evolves, everyone has an opinion. When my kids were first born I wore the “mom uniform’ of jeans and a t-shirt and nobody EVER commented on it. When my kids got a little older I started wearing far more skirts and dresses, which I’ve always found blissfully comfortable, and everyone had an opinion. Then I abandoned my beloved Danskos after realizing that while my feet liked them, my hips back and shoulders did not. I now wear minimalist shoes, ballet flats and some darling ankle boots for regular use and trail runners for very casual and more physical wear. And everyone has an opinion. I still love my dresses and skirts but they’ve become far more pared down both style-wise and color wise. For the first time in years I wear pants regularly… and everyone has an opinion. I think that in many ways, when people find someone who’s style they admire or share, they feel like it’s a judgment on their own tastes or style when that person’s evolves, and perhaps also a sense of betrayal. I notice that when I see someone wearing something that particularly resonates with me I feel almost like we’re in a special club together. If you were someone who was particularly attached to a style bloggers style at a certain point I can see how you might feel left out or disappointed. I tend to see style bloggers as a jumping off point for my own style and welcome the evolution of their style for the very reason that it emphasizes their personhood.

    • Sally McGraw

      For sure – I’ve talked to at least three women this week who deal with constant commentary on their looks. It’s fascinating how our choices can cause others to feel so uncomfortable with themselves. And we’re so hard-wired to feel that discomfort!

  35. Sabine

    That totally gels with my wishes as a reader at the moment. Following some fashion or fashion-related blogs was fine for a time but I realised some time ago I do not come back for the fashion, it’s the tone, the subjects, the writer that keep me coming back.
    I have of course profited from bloggers’s style experiments but there has always been the nagging thought of “Shouldn’t we all focus more on doing awesome stuff instead of trying so hard to look a certain way?” (Which is not meant to belittle body image writing).
    I went camping in Denmark with my sister and her kids this summer and found myself in mascara-free territory. Clothes were utilitarian, sporty, with a little edge if you wanted to add some. People were friendly, helpful, interesting, from all walks of life. Absolutely great and there was no need to project anything. It was ok to just be and do.
    So go for it at your discretion! I’ll come back to your blog for sure.

  36. what not

    I’m a longtime reader. A couple years ago my style took a sharp turn toward edgy/arty and neutral with flats, so I’ve been skipping your outfit posts for a while now and yet still very much appreciating your style, figure flattery, body acceptance, and TV segment posts. That mismatch in (evident) personal taste hadn’t dissuaded me one bit–and, ironically, your evolution seems to be bringing you closer to my own preferences. So on two levels I’ll remain a loyal reader 🙂

    ETA: And since I’ve done my own purge-and-rebuild, I very much respect anyone’s growth toward a more current and authentic personal style. And mine was without the pressures of a style-blog-based career! Big props to you.

  37. Celynne

    While I am a colour lover, I also really enjoy these changing outfits! My style slowly changes and evolves and it would be weird if you were still dressing like you did 2-3 years ago too. Style is ever changing and evolving and I really like seeing your progression and this different style side of you. Carry on with the awesome!

  38. wonkyone15

    I have loved this blog since I discovered it over a year ago. I have pretty eclectic style, and although I tend to wear mostly dresses, cardigans, leggings and boots (making your old style more similar to mine), I also like to mix it up with skinny jeans, vests and jackets sometimes, so I will continue to be inspired by your outfits! Plus, who wants to copy a blogger exactly? I’ve always considered fashion blogs to be the place to get inspirational ideas that I can use with my own pieces- so it is more conceptual than literally copying. I will always love your crazy color combos, and I hope that you know you have the freedom to please your own current style, including not being afraid to throw one of those old color combos or styles into the mix of neutrals some days. We don’t have to stick to our signature styles, whatever they may be, on an every day basis. Because some days just call for neon pink! I look forward to seeing the new outfits, especially how to manage to work with the smaller wardrobe, because the creativity of wearing pieces in different ways is very useful to see!

  39. Starling

    De-lurking for this one…I’ve read your blog for many years, starting with when I was a grad student starting to teach for the first time. I think you’ve done an admirable job over the years of negotiating those often impossible binaries we audience members often impose on bloggers. I think it’s part of the problem of simply existing on the internet and, even more, having a definable, recognizable editorial voice. One sector of the audience wants something that another hates with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. You can’t be all things to all people as a writer here, and that’s ok, even a very good thing. I’m glad you’re exploring style that feels true to you in this moment, as it feels so much more joyful (at the same time as it is badass), and I’m willing to bet the majority of your audience will be right there with you for the exploration. I will.

  40. Natalie

    I think one of the (many) things I love about your blog is that you rock amazing outfits that I can’t imagine wearing myself. I often find inspiration for my own style, however, in your style choices, even when the overall outfit doesn’t speak to my personal fashion, lifestyle, or clothing needs. For example, I almost always dress more casually than you, but I still find inspiration and joy in seeing your dressy style choices. I can’t imagine that will change with your evolving style. Due to different constraints unrelated to style – different body types, different work environments, different logistical issues (my outfits almost always need to be bike friendly and walk-several-miles-in-a-day-friendly), different climate, etc., – I never expect to completely relate to all outfits you (or anyone else) post. But almost all of them speak to me and inspire me in some way. So thank you, Sal, for your wonderful, inspirational blog. I look forward to continuing to see how your style and career evolve.

  41. Jo Walker

    Sally, I love your site. I have followed for years and found invaluable advice. It doesn’t matter that your style is nothing like my own – you have helped me to develop my style to more accurately reflect who I am and how I want to be perceived. From a devoted, daily reader – I know that taking the time to explore your own style and do what fits your life is really only going to make you happier – it sure has done so for me. For what its worth – I encourage you to dress as you like! I’ve watched your style and site evolve over the years and I think the value has only grown. Brava to you exploring and evolving as you always encourage us to do!

  42. Lisa Wong

    Oh, Sal, THANK YOU for this heartfelt and articulate post. I completely relate to your observations about style bloggers! Reader expectations can weigh heavily, but at the end of the day, it’s your blog and your life, and it’s reasonable to expect both to evolve. Looking forward to following your sartorial journey for many more years to come!

  43. Veronica

    This is awesome! I’m really looking forward to seeing this evolution. I myself have been seriously considering changing mine. I’m gravitating towards ‘comfort’, not yoga and sweat pants but just more relaxed clothing.

  44. OneGirl_Jess

    I’m in! I feel like I never can stick to one style for very long! I went through a retro vintage stage, a preppy stage and a very very casual hippie stage. I love the rocker look and would really love that more in my life as well! I am excited!

  45. walkercreative

    Wow, thank you for sharing yourself with us. More power to you! I ham happy for you, albeit a bit crushed for my own selfish reasons. My season was reversed from yours — since reading your blog I have gone from drowning in neutrals to a bold colorful closet that makes me happy every day. You empowered me to embrace the color and changes I wanted. I won’t be going anywhere – your blog has much more value than the specific outfits you wear. I have learned a lot about body image, fat shaming, proper fitting and accessorizing. I appreciate you taking the time to share rather than shock . . .I was wondering why I was pinning fewer outfits, but I thought it was a seasonal thing. You don’t owe us anything . . .but we very much appreciate the parts of you that you choose to share. Keep up the good work Sally. Blessings!

  46. taylor

    I look forward to it! I found your blog several months ago, I think maybe through Wardrobe Oxygen (I miss Allie and her posts). Your writing style and philosophies towards body acceptance really appeal to me, which is why I read your blog (also I like your weekly links).

    Actually, my style is very different than yours was – I hardly ever wear skirts (only pencil skirts), never dresses, and rarely colour, although they looked great on you – so really, it was your personality and writing that kept me reading, not the style inspiration. This isn’t about what I want, but it sounds like your style evolution brings it closer to what I already wear, so I am looking forward to even more of a connection with your blog!

    I also really appreciate the humanness of your blog. How some bloggers keep their clothes wrinkle free is beyond me – I always thought if I were to start a style blog, my clothes would be wrinkled and covered in dog hair, because like you, I actually WEAR my outfits!

    And as a little sidenote, as a femme lesbian I really appreciate the diversity of your links and that you often include queer and non gender normative sites/posts in your weekly links.

    Looking forward to your evolution!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, lovely Taylor! And I’ll try to reach out more directly, but wanted to say that Allie is still posting – she dropped our of my Feedly for months, too, when she redesigned but she’s still there!

      • taylor

        I had no idea! It disappeared from my feedly! I have an evening of catching up to do – thank you for letting me know. 🙂

  47. Moira @ Hearth and Homefront

    You look so happy in the outfits that are more representative of your own style! I will still be here, regardless of whether we have the same style aesthetic, because I love your writing and the welcoming and supportive atmosphere you create. I’m so glad you can take things back in a direction that will bring you joy! Cheers to you!

  48. Amy

    Good for you, Sally! My style is very different from yours – I intentionally wear neutrals, clean lines and simple accessories. However, I read your blog every day! I have never re-created one of your looks for myself (nor would I care to), but I am completely inspired by your essays and commentaries on body image, culture, feminism and the like. I will read your blog no matter your style.

  49. Erin N.

    Rock on, girlfriend! I’ve enjoyed your blog for years and I’m sure I will continue to do so for as long as you keep on writing! Your outfits are always creative and inspiring, your advice is always spot-on, and I especially love your conscious efforts to be inclusive of all body types/figure flattery priorities. I’m glad you’re re-focusing on dressing for yourself first and bringing us along for the ride! 🙂

  50. YourzTruly

    I found your site a few weeks ago because I’m in the middle of a transition myself. I would be sad to think that the very person who provided inspiration for me to change would be forced to stay the same. Good for you! I’m looking forward to more. (Black and olive green are one of my favorite color combos!)

  51. Kate K

    On one hand, it makes me sad that you felt such pressure to dress and be a certain way for such a long amount of time. On the other hand, I’m so happy and excited that you’re doing this and that you’re going to share it with us. I’ll definitely be sticking around. You’ve been a huge presence in my life for years and I can’t imagine that changing. Hurray for you, Sally!

  52. Anna Carrasco Bowling

    Style is an ever changing thing, as is life. I like seeing the changes in others’ style and hearing the stories behind them. Today, I recommended this blog to a friend looking to rediscover her own style, which makes the changiness come at a very good time. You do you. Style is an outward reflection of the inner person, so of course there are going to be changes. Sometimes big, sometimes subtle, and sometimes old things get reinterpreted in news ways. I think that keeps things interesting.

  53. Seeker .

    Hello Sally, it’s been a while since I write something here. I’ve been on a break, but still managed to be around more or less.
    Anyway I couldn’t skip this post to congratulate you, for being YOU!!!!
    I understand all the pressures, feel related to them and maybe (thinking of all) that’s why I’m on a break. But you’re brave enough to step forward. We all evolve and our style goes with our evolution.
    I’m sure you will continue to inspire and be an inspiration for many women and all your readers will continue with you.
    All the best your way Sally.
    xoxo

  54. Kathy

    That was one bad-ass, rocking post. Do what you want, wear what you want. It’s all good! 🙂

  55. fashionforgiants

    This was a wonderful post, Sally. I’ve actually been struggling with a few of these same things this summer as I was dressing differently, more experimentally and with less of an eye to figure-flattery and worried that I was letting my readers down. I don’t want to wear what my readers like, I want to wear what *I* like, but it’s tough sometimes because, like you, I too am human.

    Anywhoozle; enough about me. You’re fab and I’ll always read AP, forever and always.

  56. Karen B.

    Let me chime in with a huge “You go, girl.” You not only have my utmost respect for what you do — and have been doing — with this blog, but also my complete support for keeping it authentic and true to who you are. Like many have already shared, that’s EXACTLY what makes this blog so appealing and worthy of our time — your presence and personality. I’ve bounced around with a lot of different fashion/lifestyle blogs in the past 5-6 years and yours is the only one I return to nearly every single day. It’s like checking in with a close friend via email or text — I’m always glad I did it. Your style, no matter how it evolves over the years (as it should! we’re not fashion robots), is always accessible and relatable. And it’s not just the outfits — you provide so much other great content, like the thought-provoking posts about body acceptance, image, self-confidence and the like. Bottom line: I love your blog and what you bring to it each week. And I’d keep following it even if you said you were going to wear nothing but scuba gear from now on!

  57. Kris

    Good for you, Sally! I would much prefer to read the site of someone who is honest and happy in his/her garb than one who is putting on a show, even if the latter features more pieces I might covet. I look forward to continuing to read your blog and applaud you for maintaining it despite those negative and contradictory messages you receive. You are fabulous, and I love that you are continuing to model (pun somewhat intended) real style by showing how circumstances and preferences can lead one to change one’s style. I, for one, look forward to seeing how your style continues to evolve and how my mental image for “That’s a Sally outfit” evolves, too.

  58. Kacie

    This is me, standing on my chair and cheering for you! You have my full support. I imagine it’s tricky and exposing to constantly be on display in such a public format.

    Also, I think your change just reflects natural human tendancies to, you know, CHANGE and grow as time goes on. Style is always evolving, just as you are showing.

    I may not want to try to copy an outfit as-is, but I may see a color combo/pattern combo/etc. that I haven’t considered, and can play off of that. Just for instance.

    Plus, you go so much further with your blog, about body image and much more. Love it.

    Keep on rocking it, lady!

  59. ballewal

    I’m actually finding your new wardrobe more relatable to how I dress on a daily basis. But I will miss the gobs of color! But that’s what archives are for, right?

  60. JB

    This new direction reminds me a bit of Lorelai Gilmore, who fittingly cared very little about what most people thought of her or her style. Looking forward to seeing how it evolves!

  61. Allison

    Oh Sweet Sal…coming out of hiding to post. I will ALWAYS read this blog. You’re the real deal. I’ve met you in person and I’ve been meaning to reconnect with you as I find myself in the Twin Cities often. You’re dynamite and are still an inspiration to me.

  62. Sandie Friedman

    I am so glad you had this realization, and you are going ahead with your plan to wear what makes you happy and comfortable. I always learn from your posts, and will continue to follow you, however your own style evolves. Go, Sal!

  63. Beth

    I read your blog everyday because I like your writing style. You’re funny, witty, sarcastic and fun. You know a lot about fashion, and you put it out there like a menu; take it or leave it. You don’t apologize for what you do, and I think you’re a great role model. I heard you on a Twin Cities radio station years ago as we drove through on our way north for vacation. Good thing, for me, your blog name was at the beginning of the alphabet. I couldn’t remember the name when I got home but started looking through a blog directory and alreadypretty caught my eye! Thanks, Sally!

  64. Sally McGraw

    Holy moly, friends! I am overwhelmed and honored by this outpouring of support, understanding, and excitement. Thank you all for coming back here to read and participate, and please know that I’m eternally grateful for YOU!

  65. Kirsty

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with all these pressures and felt you could not be true to yourself.

    I’ve always loved looking at your outfit posts even though most of what you wear is not particularly ‘me’. I don’t believe your new style direction is very ‘me’ either but I am sure I will still enjoy looking at what you have put together. It is interesting to see well dome outfits that are NOT to my personal taste for myself. It would so boring if we were all the same.

  66. Carol Norris

    I’ll enjoy coming along for the ride, Sally. I’m finding myself at a crossroads in life where I do not need as many ‘work style’ clothing options either and will be purging my closet soon so I’d love to hear how you decided to do that. I’ve also made the decision to just concentrate on a few of my favorite neutrals instead of trying to corner the market on ALL THE COLORS in my wardrobe and simplify my life. Plus I truly enjoy your view on more than just fashion and the fact that I’m pretty sure I won’t see you in pretensiously torn jeans with just the front of your shirt tucked in and high heels on every day.

  67. Janet

    I love your new style! I was losing interest in the outfit shots, but still loved your links. It makes a great deal of sense to me looking on the outside. You look refreshed and more focused and authentic.

  68. Fashion Is Spinach

    I was afraid you were going to say you were discontinuing the blog. Please keep writing (and giving us Weekly Kitten–even though she’s a cat now!).

  69. ss

    I feel you are one of the most authentic fashion blogs I have read so far. And so reasonable! Of course nobody can be perfectly dressed all the time! You are welcome to wear what suits you 🙂

  70. STL Mom

    When I saw the headline I thought you might be ending your blog! Phew, you are just changing your clothes. Thank goodness!

  71. pambamboo

    Oh Sally! I love every word you say and read you (and quote you to anybody who will listen!) avidly. Your new style is, like many have said, also more relatable to me – a self-employed pink haired jeweler! But I love every outfit you’ve posted just because you posted it! I greatly look forward to continuing with you. <3

  72. Maryn McKenna

    Ohai: Longtime listener, first-time caller, as they say. I’m selfishly pleased as your new aesthetic is much closer to my own (writer who mostly works at home but has to do Public Things fairly often), so I will be fascinated to see where you take this. Regardless, though, I’ve always appreciated your forthrightness and clear self-perception, so kudos to you for speaking up for your own vision at this critical juncture.

    (Also, apropos of nothing, I discovered your blog just after I moved away from Minneapolis and it made me sad we never crossed paths.)

  73. Pat

    You go girl!! We’re all happy and excited for you…can’t wait to get some new, chic, casual, ideas from you.

    A faithful fan,
    Pat

  74. Natalia Lialina

    Bravo! You are doing a wonderful thing here. I am definitely not even nearly as known as a blogger, but I totally understand the pressure – which is mostly, honestly, in our head! I’ve been thinking lots of similar thoughts. Glad that you expressed yourself so well here. To tell the truth, I am mostly interested in the personality behind the screen. You seem genuine. I’m glad that you decided to dress more genuinely too – for yourself, not for “us”. All the very best to you!

  75. Nancy Devlin

    That’s cool that you’re simplifying and casual-izing, Sally. A lot of us are. You’re going thru a life change and the ensuing lifestyle change. Those of us who are in the process of ditching those stilettos (which make it impossible to move quickly and move with certainly of gait) understand. I’m more into “casual yet complete” looks these days – I think it’s more modern. I want to step down from the curb without giving a thought to whether I’m “tottering”, and appear “relate-able” (more real) – like I thought about my outfit for 10 minutes max – and then got on with my day. I want a stack of solid clothes and brightly colored accessories. I want to move around the world with grace, quickly, with a smile.

    And hey, check out this 2015 fashion report from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/08/28/nyc-hyperlapse-orig-cfb.cnn.html. Yeah, well, I don’t dig any of those silhouettes. So I’ll be doing my own groove.

  76. Liz

    Go for it, Sally. If we don’t change we stagnate. No reason why you shouldn’t articulate what makes you feel best–as I understand it, that’s always been the basis for your blog.
    I, for one, am looking forward to what comes next.

  77. Liz

    And as for flats rather than heels, years ago I made the switch because I was tired of wearing my feet on my face!

  78. CarpeDiemJoyOver50

    Sally, I’ve been following about 5 blogs for a few years and yours is one that I deeply admire and respect. This is my first post, ever, on a blog. From you, I’ve learned about style and fashion, but also, you’ve helped me discover who I am, as a female in this world. You’d think that a 58 year-old would know herself, after all this time! But as a girl growing up, I was always told that it was wrong (“selfish,sinful”) to have high self-esteem as a female. That it was wrong to ever think of oneself as ‘attractive’ and that to put attention into one’s clothes, make-up, or fashion was for the vain, shallow, and unintelligent. I don’t remember a single compliment from those early years and remember being 13 or so, experimenting for the first time with make-up, and being called a ‘street-walker’. Huh? Needless to say, I grew up with a warped, negative, clue-less, and sad sense of self as a female, making mistakes along the way, as I searched for the answer to, “who am I?” You have helped me ask questions that I never considered. You have given me tools to be able to look in the mirror and sincerely like that face and body, that person with the gray roots and new lines on her face. On top of that, fifteen years ago, I found a man who loves me exactly the way I am and tells me so every day and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. Your message, “Already Pretty”, should reach every female who is growing up and discovering herself. In my teens, twenties, thirties, and beyond, style for me…was searching for a look or an outfit that would make people like me. Thank you for teaching me that I was already pretty, I was ‘enough’, from the start! Please know that you are touching women’s lives in positive ways, way beyond style or fashion. You have a gift for teaching with kindness, generosity, integrity, and wit. Please continue to share with us, and your readers will be delighted, no matter the style, as long as you continue to be true to yourself! I guarantee you’ll have more fun! Rock on!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Joy, and I’m so moved to hear that this blog has helped you shift your self-image. Kudos to YOU for being willing to make big changes in your thinking patterns, and thank you again for your support and incredibly kind praise!

  79. Justine

    I’m with you Sally. I always enjoy your blog. I look forward to anything you do. Justine

  80. Cheri

    Sal, you rock – on all sorts of levels. If anything, I think I’ll be able to relate to your forthcoming journey even than I have to your awesome blog so far. You do what you gotta do, and we’ll stand by, privileged to watch, learn and be inspired. Your only real, measurable responsibility in this is to you.

  81. Mary

    I’m a long time reader but rarely comment. Just wanted to add my voice to all the versions of ‘you go girl’! already expressed below. And also to say, as some others have, that you’re moving towards a style that I find pretty appealing. So I’ll be really interested to see how you develop it.

  82. Cassie

    I was super worried you were ending the blog when I saw the headline and I was thinking many distressed thoughts (mostly in capital letters), but I am thrilled you’re still going to be writing. I agree with others: I’d love to keep seeing the Weekly Kitten and Insomniac Sale Picks.

  83. Helen

    Hi Sal,
    I’m a long long time daily reader.
    Although I totally respect your right to change you personal style I have to say that I like the new style much more because it’s the way I dress :-). I’m not a curvy person and I’m quite pale so I never could carry bold colors very well. Now I’ll be able to understand your fashion ideas better.
    Thank you for being you! You’re awesome!

  84. PaulaB

    I’ve been an occasional reader, and this makes me more likely to come back more often. I prefer interesting content and individuality over pictures of outfits. Sounds like you are honoring your personal journey, and that’s worth reading about!

  85. Diana

    I’m excited to see where your new style direction takes you, Sally! I think personal style is such a dynamic thing, always changing and evolving, and that’s part of the fun of it.

    You know, it’s funny. I first discovered you years ago when our personal styles were quite similar (and we have similar body types too), and I found your outfits so inspirational and totally in line with my style. But over the years, I had a bit of a style shift (toward an edgier, harder, sort of arty style) and haven’t been feeling your outfits so much in the last couple of years (although I always enjoy your musings and links!). So I’m really curious on a selfish level too to see where your new style direction takes you!

  86. Carol

    Would a badass write this blog? Yes, yes she would. You rock Sally.

    Fabulous pair of posts. I personally have also been moving away from the ‘retro frock’ look. It completely flatters my body shape but doesn’t tell the story about myself that I want to tell, since I struggle with being assertive and respected in my professional life . I’m getting rid of some of the frilliest, most Modcloth-y dresses and am trying to figure out other ways to accessorize and layer the remaining dresses so I look more “imposing” (yet still feminine). Pants FTW although I feel you on the bloating/body changes/water gain and loss that can make close-fitting pants a nightmare sometimes. My husband can just buy one waist size of jeans and wear them constantly, he has no idea!!

  87. MonicaW

    Kudos to you! We all evolve and need to stay true to ourselves. I can’t wait to see the evolution!!

  88. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy

    I hope and suspect most of us will continue to support you. I know I will! After all, if we aren’t allowed to evolve in areas of our lives, what kind of reality is that? I personally am moving back to being a full time student rather than university office employee & student and know that my style will evolve to a more casual put together. And frankly, I’m really excited for that. While I enjoy feeling fancy on occasion, there’s nothing more I love than wearing a pair of jeans and a cozy top and just feeling comfortable.

  89. Bobbi Rubinstein

    I read you everyday, and have been for years, even if I can’t wear your style and live in LA. Your interest in women and helping them work through image/body issues is really important work. I work from home and prefer black, flats and simple outfits. But you should wear what you want. This was a great post and your voice and humanity came through loud and clear. I can’t wait to see what the new season brings for you and what kind of articles you post. Way to go!

  90. Keep Warm (Danielle)

    Who you actually are, whatever style you are drawn to, is awesome. Carry on, sweet lady!

  91. Sylvia_40PlusStyle

    It’s so important to stay true to our own style but as a blogger myself completely understand how you felt you had to please your readers. I think though that most readers will appreciate you most when you are genuine and true to yourself. I for one really like your new bad ass style and will love to go on your journey with you. But regardless of your outfits, your articles are among the best on the web so those would always keep me coming back for more!

  92. Splashing In Puddles

    Sometimes the lessons we teach others are the hardest to learn. Dress to please yourself that’s what its all about. Sally taught me that. 🙂 BTW, I think your new style is fresh and looks fantastic!!

  93. Roxane

    I read everyday via Feedly, and i’ll keep reading. As with Fashion for Giants and Ephemera, the other two fashion blogs I still read regularly, it’s your personality and writing, more than the quality of the pictures or any particular style of clothes that keep me coming back. (An the fact that the three of you have taught me the joys of thrifting.) I will be a little sad that I probably missed you selling one of your Disigual scarves that I have lusted after for years.

  94. No fear of fashion

    Hurray for you. I totally agree Sally. And I will be happy to follow you on your new way. I still have to work 6 years, which is no drama as I like working (just a bit too much, too hard the last 4 years….) but I have often asked myself: “will I still be wearing high heels and pencil skirts when I don’t have to go to work?” And I know the answer: hexx no. Of course not. So I can learn from you for later.
    I will not skipp colour in my wardrobe as I love it and it suits me very good. But if you want to explore your rocker side I suppose colour is not the first thing you look for.
    Greetje

  95. Leah

    Great post, Sally! I have been following blogs for years (since 2008ish?), and yours is one of the first ones I found. When I was first getting into personal style, your blog was SO helpful to me (and it still is), you gave tips and hints without being condescending and also inspired me to try new things. I’ve loved seeing your personal style grow and change with the years, as I’ve noticed my own style change as well. Styles I’ve used to love, I’ve grown out of or gotten sick of it. I don’t blog so I can’t really understand the pressures put on you from blogging, but yeah I think in the end, you just gotta do what makes you happy, and that definitely includes wearing what YOU want to wear everyday! We, your loyal readers, will keep coming back to read your posts on body positivity, feminism and your outfit posts, and will look forward to watching you grow and change even more 🙂

  96. Alison Boncha

    Good for you! Love the casual rocker look and can’t wait to see more!

  97. jen f.

    Hi Sal–

    It’s great to see you following your own advice and making this change that works for you! At the end of the day, it’s about what works for YOU and makes YOU feel great.

    I’ve always come to your site for the great articles and discussion about body image and the politics of style, as well as the links to other interesting bloggers. My own style is definitely more minimalist, and based in a black and navy color palette, with olive, gray and white for “accents,” so while I could admire your commitment to your personal style, it wasn’t what I came to your site for, but rather the message about appreciating your own personal beauty!

  98. Jill

    I know that you aren’t doing this for anyone else, but I actually LOVE the “new” you, though there was nothing wrong with the old. I find this refreshing and relateable, and you look damn good like this!