Dressed for: A Change-up

Already Pretty outfit featuring sheer floral blouse, skinny jeans, orange pumps, J.W. Hulme tote bag

Blouse – courtesy Kokoon
Jeans – Zuma Twill courtesy Karen Kane (also in plus sizes)
Pumps – Easy Spirit (no longer available) – similar
Bag – J.W. Hulme
Earrings – courtesy Bionic Unicorn
Bracelets – Goldy + Mac – similar

I feel a little like someone has flipped a switch inside my head. Suddenly, the heels and fit-and-flare dresses that have been my wardrobe staples for years seem … done. Not done for good, but definitely in need of a little break. Lately I’ve been living in skinny jeans and floaty tops, or slouchy pants and lightweight jackets. And although this outfit features a fun pair of (thankfully comfy) heels, I’ve been all about flats for weeks. I’m still processing and exploring, but once I have a bead on where this desire for change came from and what spurred it on, I’ll share more.

Anyone else feeling the need for a personal style change-up? Are the shifting seasons monkeying with your dressing desires, or is something deeper at play?

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25 Responses to “Dressed for: A Change-up”

  1. Lady of Style

    Love it! That look suits you so well, it has a fresh vibe and I beautiful colours.
    I love my elegant dresses but also feel I need to step out of my comfort zone from time to time and discover that I feel good in a moto jacket!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  2. Rebecca Forster

    you look lovely. I too am in the beginning stage of what would be a big change if I could afford it 🙂 I have been in love with maxi skirts for the last few years, But I love a wide range of differing looks, and sometimes other things move the maxi out and demand to be worn instead, But lately all I have wanted to wear are slouchy trousers, vests, tweed blazers and anything made out of suiting material. I really love the menswear inspired looks, and am considering chopping my hair short again. All of this is making my husband quite uncomfortable and irritated. Not sure what Im going to end up doing as a lot of what i am in love with right now probably wont look good on my 5’2″ 260lb body.

  3. Ronna Russell

    Very pretty without being prissy. I am interested in the sporty luxe look, pairing graphic tees with pencils skirts for work; must keep it professional and not too-young looking.

  4. Sara B

    I’ve been having a similar experience! Suddenly I want more layers, more details and depth than I get with my wardrobe of dresses. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

  5. Gisele

    You look beautiful, Sally! I love the boho vibe with the earrings and the colors.

    I’ve been on a dressier kick lately. Have long had a split personality, half Alaskan free spirit, half respectable academic. Since turning 40 I feel less at home in banged-up, slouchy clothes, utterly un-myself in shorts particularly, and gravitating toward skirts and dresses that are still comfy but more refined.

  6. Shelley

    That’s me this summer, too – I usually opt for dresses. I love dresses. I wore them all winter, even when it was below zero. And somehow, once summer got started, I kept reaching for my keds and denim pedal pushers. It’s all I’ve wanted to wear! I’m not sure what’s behind this shift, but I guess we’ll see what autumn brings…

  7. Sabine

    I am having a similar experience myself. We are enjoying the end of summer here with a more laid-back vibe, tan still going strong, still enjoying many outdoor events, dressing in layers for colder evenings. I find myself wearing pants and nice tops, too as well as comfy shoes.
    Maybe it’s because there are dressier casual tops available? Also I’m doing a lot of writing on the go and somehow being a little more casually dressed is both timesaving in the mornings and seems cool somehow …

  8. ballewal

    Yes, but mostly because I moved and my wardrobe feels “wrong” now.

  9. E.W.

    I feel you, and I, for one, think this looks spectacular on you. You’re taking this shape and making it look like YOU. Which is marvellous.

  10. Claudia Gray

    Although I think a lot of it is IS the change in seasons — I live in skirts and dresses all summer and so am very ready for trousers and jeans come fall — I also think the more forgiving current fashions are helping. After eons when it was “skinnies or else,” we finally have boyfriend jeans and straight-legs looking more fashionable, and finally we are seeing cuts for tops in the middle ground between “body-con like a second skin” and “hugely baggy.” The combination of style and comfort will always draw people in!

  11. Kacie

    I am fascinated by this, Sally, because I have followed your blog for years and years and I remember the pant rants. I’m not sure if I can link here without it going to spam, but on your blog in Feb 09 there is “The Pants Rant” and there is a rant part 2 in 2010.

    In those posts, you describe the pants you had, and you described them as ill-fitting and requiring special circumstances to pull off, in a nutshell. You also said that pants just didn’t flatter your figure.

    But. Here we are. You looking FANFREAKINTASTIC in pants. Maybe it’s the fit? And the style? I don’t know if skinny jeans were A Thing in 2009-2010? Maybe they were; I have no idea. I only recently bought myself a pair and I am waiting for the temp to drop a little, because I can’t wait to trot them out.

    I suspect that part of your pant loathing had to do with the styles that were more fashionable at the time, and they just didn’t work well. Like i don’t really remember seeing you in bootcut or flare pants on here much? Perhaps those styles suck on you.

    But these skinnies? SO MUCH WIN. And yet, this look still has a Sally feel to me. Perhaps the print in your top reminds me of a dress or skirt you might wear. And the shoes are oh-so-Sal.

    Anyway. I could be off by a bit.

    • Sally McGraw

      Kacie, first off THANK YOU for sticking with me for so long! Yes, I think I wrote at least two pants rants, and I think my perspective on them has changed for a number of reasons. The main one was that I hadn’t really found any high rise styles at all, and mid- and low-rise pants are super uncomfortable and unflattering on me. Other reasons have to do with figuring out more about balancing my proportions and yes, becoming more comfortable with my figure! I’ll definitely write more as soon as my thoughts are more crystalized. Thanks for your incredibly kind words, and for reading for all these years!

  12. Kacie

    Oh! And one more thing. Perhaps you are loving the body you have more, now vs. a few years ago?

  13. Cynthia

    I already had my big change a while back. I felt like it was when I really stopped listening to “shoulds” and went with what feels good. You look very relaxed and natural in this as opposed to the tight-waisted dresses.

  14. Kate K

    Sal, I’m waiting patiently (ish :)) to hear your thoughts on your style shift. In the past year, every style rule I thought I had is kind of getting thrown out the window in favor of pursuing clothes that I’ve always loved, but thought I (as a 5’10” plus sized woman with big feet) I shouldn’t be wearing. I’m feeling a bit lost and worried about the image I’m projecting to the outside world, but it’s also been a joy tracking down pieces I love and then finding ways to wear them.

  15. fashionforgiants

    I feel like I’ve moved away from the fit-and-flare silhouette lately too. All of the skirts I’ve thrifted lately have been column midi skirts, instead of full midis. And I wore slouchy pants! I think I’m less worried about figure flattery lately than before.

  16. TheLibrarian28

    I don’t even own a dress and I am pretty much a jeans person. I’ve been wearing only skinny jeans for the last 2 – 3 years, and last week I broke out a pair of Wit and Wisdom (Nordstrom) bootcuts and am very comfortable wearing them. I also bought pair of Gap bootcuts and some Gap legging jeans which, because I have thin legs and thighs, are more like straight legs on me. Almost forgot, I also bought a pair of Gap boyfriend jeans which I had to have taken in because they were just too baggy. But now they look great, and I enjoying wearing them. Who knows why but things just change and sometimes suddenly!

  17. LaPriel

    Sally,
    You look wonderful.
    Seasons definitely affect my style. I have also noticed that different phases in my life beg me to change my style choices.

    This picture brought up a question I have about prints. I see really cute tops or dresses in prints and florals that I would like to wear. But, I often find it difficult to pick a print that doesn’t looks like I raided my mom’s closet. ( I am 47, she’s 77). It also seems that if a person is young and thin, they can wear anything and not look frumpy or that they have no clue about style. Or, I put on a print or floral that looks good on me, but find myself thinking it looks like what my daughter calls “tylpical middle aged” clothes. If it helps, I could come up with some pictures.

    Thank you,
    LaPriel

    • calikancab

      This came up for me, too. Sally, this blouse looks great on you. I’m 60 and more adventurous than I was for years, and I’m afraid this blouse would look old-lady on me. (The rest of the outfit would work, although I wouldn’t be wearing heels.) What’s the secret?

  18. Reilly

    It’s the hair! I used to run a vintage lifestyle and sewing blog. I curled my hair, strapped on the heels, and pulled a petticoat on beneath my dresses. The change wasn’t immediate when I got my first pixie cut, but it didn’t take long until my 50s dresses were 70s flares and now, well, whatever my style is now. Comfy minimalism that toes the line between preppy and edgy. Some of the changes for me also came with having a busier schedule.

  19. Texas Aggie Mom

    Love this entire look on you – the fit, the fabrics, the colors! In Texas this would make a great transitional outfit, and I would wear it exactly as you have styled it. Just because you don’t feel like dresses lately doesn’t mean you can’t go back to them if you have a change of heart. I think we all need a break from our “uniforms” occasionally!

  20. Chalkdust and Boots

    I, too, found my style changing this summer – I used to be all about summer dresses, all day, every day, but this year I lived in shorts and loose pants. For me it had to do with environment (I usually travel a lot over the summer, but not this year) and lifestyle – I started biking more and more every day… I do love this look on you. A little change-up every once in a while is good, no?