The Next Phase

Well, friends, the time has come: I need to step back from this blog.

Before I delve into my reasons, I want to take a few moments to express my gratitude and heartfelt thanks. If you are reading this right now, I owe you a debt that can never be fully repaid. I decided to be a writer when I was in third grade, chased that dream through high school, earned a creative writing degree, then found myself in a job market that had no interest my my dreams and dumped me into marketing and communications jobs for more than a decade. I wrote on the side – an album review here, an artist interview there – but never got any traction … until 2007 when I launched this blog. I rediscovered my voice, uncovered an important personal mission, and connected with readers (like you) who believed in me. It was utterly transformative. Continues to be so. Because of this blog and the amazing people who read it, I finally became a writer. A professional writer with a portfolio and clients and books and – perhaps most importantly – renewed confidence in my talents and abilities.

So thank you. Thank you for reading for years, and thank you for just joining us recently. Thank you for commenting regularly and thank you for lurking. Thank you for expressing your enthusiasm when you felt I hit the right notes, and thank you for piping up when you felt I was off the mark. Thank you for educating me on what diversity really means, and on the importance of being truly and consistently open-minded and inclusive. Thank you for supporting me with your words, your clicks, your dollars, your willingness to help spread the word about this website. I am forever grateful. Truly.

Unfortunately, I am also weary. This blog turned nine years old in September of 2016. Nine years is a very long time to do anything, but I’ve come to believe that it’s an especially long time to do something as emotional and vulnerable and personal-creativity-reliant as blogging. I wish I could stick it out a while longer – reach a nice, even 10 years by pushing myself through September of this year – but I can’t. I am tapped out and need to make a change now. Here’s why.

I have said everything I need to say. I have said most of it twice. At this point, although I can still rely on fun and thought-provoking reader requests from you folks, my own creative reserves have run dry. This blog is supposed to be about the intersection of style and body image, and when it comes to body image, I’ve expressed just about everything I think and feel on the subject. I feel uninspired and like I’ve been phoning it in for a while now. Not a good feeling.

I am exhausted by the in-fighting. Debate and discourse within the body image community are vital, and lively arguments keep everyone from getting lazy. But as Internet culture becomes more click-competitive and traffic-driving efforts become more cutthroat, I feel like some sectors are becoming lax about allowing unnecessary combativeness. To assemble the weekly link posts, I pore over hundreds and hundreds of blogs. The feminist and body image sources I read – and they are friendly and positive ones, comparatively speaking- are comprised of content that is 90% call-outs and/or exhaustive lists of ways everyone is doing things wrong. The main message I hear now is, “You may think you’re being body positive, but you’re really just making things worse.” I hope that’s not true. But at this point, I can’t even tell for sure. And pouring my heart and soul into an endeavor that’s meant to support women and shore up their confidence only to be told that I’m tearing them down? It saddens and exhausts me.

I am ready to be a private citizen again. In an age that encourages everyone to be public about everything, I find myself retreating. I don’t want to share my every decision, outfit, meal, purchase, and errant thought with anyone who’ll listen. Actually, I never did. But now, in order to play the social media game, I’m told that failing to do so actively hurts my standing as a blogger. In reality, what hurts me is failing to be present in my own life, to breathe into moments instead of scrambling for my phone to capture them for Instagram.

I don’t like the direction social media has taken. A big statement, I know. But my first few years of blogging involved lively discussions in the comments sections, connecting with like-minded bloggers, and corresponding with engaged readers. Now comments are few, images are valued over writing, bloggers are required to spread themselves across half a dozen social platforms (and incorporate any new ones the instant they gain popularity), and anyone with an Internet presence can expect to be trolled relentlessly. The climate has shifted to the point that blog advertising companies are folding and going bankrupt, forcing professional bloggers to push more and more affiliatized content, perpetuating the cycle of urging people to buy stuff they don’t need.  I understand that I may sound like a whiner or a luddite, here, but I assure you that I’m not pining for the “good old days.” I think I’d probably have reached this point even if the blogosphere had remained a more supportive and less dynamic place. I do feel, though, that social media is something I’ve become relatively good at … but that isn’t good for me.

I don’t like how blogging has changed me. OK, I LOVE how it’s changed me in many ways: I shop more sustainably now (finally), I have a deeper understanding of inclusive language, I know how to advise shoppers who wear specialty sizes, I see beauty everywhere in everyone. I am smarter and wiser and better in many, many ways. But over the years I’ve also found myself buying stuff I didn’t need because it helped me feel like I was “keeping up” with my blogging peers. I’ve made progress in my own body image struggles, only to be bumped back by an unexpected stream of borderline-thinspiration images on Pinterest. I’ve stopped even attempting to be funny for fear of triggering someone’s anger unintentionally, and made my writing less engaging in an effort to please absolutely everyone who might ever read it. I’ve started to think about how I dress in terms of outfits that are “blog worthy” and ones that aren’t, instead of just enjoying the creative endeavor of dressing. I am re-wired in some negative ways, and eager to un-do that damage.

I don’t feel as excited by or connected to style and fashion. And further, I don’t feel like I’m able to express a key concept without stating it in some sort of disclaimer at the end of every single post, and it is this: I don’t care what anyone wears. Ever. I don’t care what anyone looks like. What I care about is how people feel about themselves. In my mind, dressing and style are a means to an end, and that end is confidence. If dressing differently can give you self-confidence you currently lack, it can be transformative. And, of course, style is also a marvelous tool for self-expression. I still believe it has real, significant value. But it can be expensive and competitive and a game of diminishing returns. I look at my fashion magazines now and just feel shouted-at to buy stuff. I look at blog posts about trends and just feel shouted-at to keep pace. I want women to look good so they can feel good, and I want that for myself, too. But that message gets buried. No matter how many times I try to revive it.

This has all been happening for a long time. And I did my best to keep going because I continued to get amazing, supportive, heart-rending emails from readers who told me that Already Pretty helped them, changed them, made their worlds feel less bleak. I didn’t want to stop or change gears or shut it down because it was clearly providing a valuable and important service to people all over the world. But now, I think and hope I’ve figured out a way to do what’s best for me AND continue to help them (and hopefully you).

Here’s what you’ll continue to find here every week from now on:

Refreshed topical posts from the archive

Again, nine years is a long time. I’ve got a pretty astonishing archive of posts that many of you have never read. I’ve begun the process of going through them all  – every single one of the 4,000+ posts that have been published here since 2007 – and updating them so they align with my current views. (I knew less and felt differently when I was 30 than I do now at 40.) Several refreshed archive posts per week will pop up on the front page here. If you happened to miss this post announcing the change, there’s a very real possibility that you’d never notice any change at all. I hope to keep the site up for many years to come since its rich backlog of topical and tutorial posts make it a valuable resource to readers.

Contributor posts

I am honored to say that several Already Pretty contributors have agreed to continue posting new or repurposed content here, too. You’ll see Joi, Nadine, and Kristine on a regular basis. Understandably, they may choose to withdraw eventually, and Gracey, LuAnne, and Aarti have opted out. (Gracey has stopped blogging altogether, as you may know.) But Joi, Nadine, and Kristine are sticking around for the time being, and I’m unspeakably grateful.

Link roundups … and cats

I will continue to assemble and post new Lovely Links posts every Friday since I know those are reader favorites. Weekly Kitty pics, too. Not sure this will continue indefinitely, but it will into the foreseeable future.

The full archive will also be accessible at all times. Certain topics and groups of posts won’t be recycled back to the front page, but you can find them by searching, by using the drop-down in the right rail, or through topic categories in the top navigation.

You will no longer see:

  • New topical posts
  • New outfit posts
  • New sale picks posts
  • The monthly email newsletter, though you can still receive blog posts via email
  • Anything on Twitter or Instagram as I have stopped posting to both. Facebook will remain active, at least for now.

I will also be closing comments permanently. Since I truly need to step back, I will be shifting this space from a blog to an informational website. There has been rich and enlightening discussion in the comments section of this blog for many years, and I have appreciated it all along. I simply do not have the bandwidth to moderate or respond to comments any longer. I will leave this post up for a week or so with comments open since I know many of you will have questions and thoughts to share. I’ll do my best to keep up and respond. Once the archived posts begin to cycle, comments will be turned off. (You should be able to view old comment threads through the archive itself.)

What will I be doing with myself instead? Well, as many of you know I’ve stopped taking style consult clients and begun to shift away from much of the style-centric content I once created. I’m focusing on editing and ghostwriting, activities that allow me to exercise my creativity and help others express themselves clearly and eloquently. I am currently working on a memoir for a 50-year-old man who grew up in and escaped from Sierra Leone, a book about business practices for healers and yogis, blog posts for a variety of clients on a variety of topics, and a handful of fun web copy projects. I’m always on the lookout for new writing and editing work. Although I will continue to write under my own name in a few other places like GoDaddy and the Star Tribune, I feel very ready to write and edit in the background now.

I will continue to pursue my stated goal of empowering women through volunteer work with LOTT and the MFBT. Both causes are close to my heart, and both do important and life-changing work that impacts women in my community and beyond. And in the current political climate, I will be engaging at a local level to support women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, and other marginalized communities as best I can. I want to be on the ground doing this work, not in the ether.

And I will do lots of things as a private citizen that I will never document or announce online. I will do my best to re-learn enjoyment as an analog activity.

I know this will disappoint many of you, but I feel like it’ll surprise few of you. I hope you will temper any disappointment with the understanding that I’ve given all I could for as long as I could. Now it is simply time for the next phase.

Thank you again for reading, for supporting, for making this all possible. Thank you for understanding that I need a change. Thank you for an incredible journey.

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166 Responses to “The Next Phase”

  1. Nique

    Dearest Sal,
    I’m so sad to see you step back from Already Pretty, as you have been a part of my morning routine for so many years, although I completely understand your reasoning. I have learned so much from you. Thank you for all you’ve done, and best of luck for all of your future endeavors.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, lovely Nique, for this and for your wonderfully probing questions and insights over the years. I appreciate you!

  2. Mercy Morris

    Very sad to see you stop, you have been inspiring and interesting me for years. I understand completely your reasons for doing so though. Best of luck and enjoy yourself.

  3. Deb

    Congrats on being true to yourself and doing what YOU need to do to make yourself happy. Most of us do not consult our extended friends and family or the internet when we want to make a job or career change and you don’t need to either. I’ve been here for a few years and almost stopped checking in when you changed your style only because it wasn’t my style and I was trying to cut back on blogs. But then I watched The True Cost on your recommendation and you became my go-to on ethical and fair-trade clothing links. Thank you for your positivity, acceptance of everyone and informative links. Best wishes in your new endeavors…I’m sure you will be just as successful at them.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you Deb! And I’m seriously so happy to hear you watched “The True Cost” – it’s a total life-changer. And huge thanks, too, for your support and understanding.

  4. Bridget Wall

    It doesn’t make you a luddite to know what you do and don’t want in your life. Best wishes as you move forth doing more things you love!

  5. nickyp

    I have been reading your blog for most of those 9 years and will miss it very much. But you need to do what’s best for you. Thank you and best of luck in your future endeavors.

    • Sally McGraw

      Oh nickyp, thank you for sticking with me for so long! I wondered if anyone has been here from the start. I’m humbled to know you have. Thanks for your well wishes.

  6. cryptdang

    Well, it’s sad to see you go, but completely understandable. It sounds like this blog has filled its purpose in your life (and the lives of many others!), and it is time to move on to the next thing. I have only commented a handful of times, but wanted to say that your blog has had a big influence on my thinking and feminist consciousness. So for that, thank-you. Congratulations and good luck on your projects!

  7. Sue

    Heartfelt thanks for all you’ve done for your readers, for me personally, and for all those you’ve influenced secondhand through us.

  8. Megan Gann

    A good chunk of what you have expressed is exactly why my blog went defunct. After ~6 years, I wasn’t enjoying the blog anymore. You certainly took things quite a bit further, up and out, with alreadypretty, and I’m happy to have been a long time reader.

    But I’m definitely echoing most of your sentiments. The public face, the desire to ‘keep up’, and the sheer amount of ‘stuff’. I have pared down extensively, and find myself happier.

    It’s a big weight to let go of, and I hope you find the same relief I did.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thanks for sharing this, Megan – I wonder if we’ll see more bloggers stepping back in the coming months and years for similar reasons. Glad you feel you’ve made the right choice!

  9. AmeliaMN

    Another reader who has been here since the beginning (I just went to the Wayback Machine to take a look at the old version!). Thanks for everything you have done. The blog and book were instrumental in me changing my style from shlubby grad student to someone who feels professional and put together when she gets in front of her class. I completely understand the need to do something else, and I’m so glad you get to move on to something that inspires you more! Sending positive energy and best wishes for the future.

    • Sally McGraw

      Oh Amelia, you’re such a star! Thanks for reading for so very long and for letting me know that my writing has been helpful to you. It warms my heart.

  10. DJK

    Hi Sally, I’ve been one of your faithful lurkers since the beginning. Mission accomplished. I’ve learned so much from your writing, from the content on style and feminism and diversity, and also from your reflections on your personal evolution over the past nine years. I, too, will miss the blog; but you’re right; after you posted a couple of times that you had enough clothes and were getting pedicures, instead, the writing was kind of on the wall. 🙂 Good for you, though; and best wishes for all of your future endeavors. I’m grateful that you are in our Twin Cities community, working for what you believe in. –Donna

    • Sally McGraw

      Donna, how funny that the pedicure post was the tip-off! I’m thrilled to hear you’ve been with me since the beginning, and truly appreciate your support.

  11. mendotawaves

    Will miss you so much. Thank you for this great blog, and for allowing it to continue in another form. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your decision. Good luck with your new life, hope it’s everything you wish and more.–Ann

  12. Lina

    I found your blog 4.5 years ago and loved seeing your regular posts in my RSS feed. While I’m sad to see you go, your thoughts about how social media has been changing the internet and the blog scene particularly resonated with me. I blogged briefly on-and-off for a few years, I had a twitter account, an IG account, a FB account… and I’ve enjoyed taking a step back from all of these endeavors and try to live my (analog) life more fully and in the present.

    I’m excited for your next plans! People change, and if the blog doesn’t fit into your current life then that’s fine 🙂 thanks for leaving it up, though, for others to discover! I hope your 2017 is off to a good start!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, Lina – I do hope the “new” format will mean that people will still find the support and information they see here! I appreciate your longtime loyalty and kind words, my dear.

  13. Sally McGraw

    Monica, you are so kind – thank you for this reminder, and for letting me know that you’re struggling with some of the same issues. I feel like many of us are, but the conversations about how to cope are only starting to percolate. Hugs and love to you, too!

  14. Sally McGraw

    Dianne, I’m honored to hear that my blog was helpful to you during a time of struggle and transition. And thrilled to know that you’re now consulted for fashion advice yourself! Kudos to you! Thanks for your support and well-wishes.

  15. Sally McGraw

    I appreciate you, Elizabeth! Thank you for sticking with me all this time, and more thanks for your support as I move on to the next phase.

  16. Sally McGraw

    Alison, thank you for this compassionate comment and generous praise. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling burnt out, too – I hope you’re able to find your own way through the ever-changing social media landscape!

  17. Sally McGraw

    You’re so welcome, Darlene – thank YOU for creating a space where women who are so often overlooked can find real resources and helpful information! I’m here for you if you ever want to talk/vent.

  18. Sally McGraw

    Thank you, dear Susan – and thanks for creating a blog that is inspirational to SO many women! I’m proud to know you, beautiful.

  19. Sally McGraw

    Thank you so much, Divers and Sundry – commenting can feel daunting, so I totally understand! I’m glad to know you’ve been reading, and will continue to do so.

  20. marsha_calhoun

    I think you are right to proceed as you indicate that you will, but of course, you will be missed. Best of luck in your endeavors – a good writer must work harder than most to maintain standards and honor self, but I believe that you will succeed! I have always appreciated your careful communication and heartfelt honesty. Thank you for all you have done and accomplished in these many years.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you Marsha, for this and for being such a smart, engaged, insightful member of this community. I appreciate you.

  21. Fat White Cat

    Your blog was one of the first ones that I started following when I became interested in fashion. Although I didn’t always see myself in your aesthetic, something kept me reading attentively. It wasn’t until after I had some of my breakthroughs and epiphanies about my own issues with self-image (former dancer/actress) that I realized how much I needed to hear what you were saying about loving yourself in a smart way and how that could include caring about how you dress. My life is honestly different because of your work here. Thank you so, so much.

    • Sally McGraw

      Oh, Fat White Cat, this means so much to me. Thank you for reading, and for letting me know that this blog has been helpful to you in your own style and body image journey!!

  22. Nebraskim

    Thanks for your thoughtful efforts Sally. Good luck in your next stage.

  23. juliana

    Sally thank you so much for all that you’ve contributed here – you’ve introduce me to so many things – a broader view of feminism, body positivity and writings by marginalized communities – and fashion, something I never thought I’d care enough about to actually read about! You’ve expanded my horizons in amazing ways and I truly appreciate it and you.

    I appreciate what you are saying here and I am thankful that you are expanding into areas that I enjoy and that you again get to be a private citizen! You are continuing your message to us all to respect and love ourselves by respecting and loving yourself.

    • Sally McGraw

      Oh Juliana, this is such a lovely note! Thank you and you honor me with your words. I’m thrilled to know that you’ve made new discoveries and connections because of what you’ve found here!

  24. antislice

    Thinking about it, I’ve probably been reading this blog about as long as you’ve been writing it. 9 years, wow! Thank you for your voice and letting us in on your style transitions – I’ve especially appreciated the last couple years since at some point I decided to embrace the urge I felt to go back to my emo days, or to use a term I borrowed from a friend, “cozy punk.” So there’d be times when your blog came up in feedly and I’d think “that’s it, that’s what I’m going for.” Thank you also for letting us know what’s happening, even though you don’t need to. Happy New Years!

    • Sally McGraw

      Cozy punk! I love that, antislice! Happy new year to you, too, and thank you ever so much for following along for so many years.

  25. Mary McGreevy

    You’ve made such an impact in my life and many others! Best of luck to you!!!

  26. JB

    Over the years I have been continually impressed by your brave choices, whether it was quitting your office job, being photographed in a bra or without makeup, sharing details of your health issues, or making a fairly drastic style change – not running-into-a-burning-building bravery (although I suspect you’re more than capable of that too), but bravery on a personal level that we can all relate to. This most recent decision is yet another example. I will truly miss my regular visits to your blog, but I feel very lucky that you’ve been a small part of my life for this long, and I will welcome the Lovely Links for as long as you’re able to continue them. I wish you all the happiness in the world, no matter what direction life takes you!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, JB – I don’t think of myself as all that brave, but to hear that you think of me as such is a tremendous compliment. Thank you for reading and for your well-wishes!

    • Alexandra Preis

      JB, thank you for putting it so well – this is exactly how I feel about Sally and Already Pretty. It made such a difference for me.
      Sally, I am grateful for your work and your openness and bravery – and I wish you all the best, whatever you decide to do!

  27. Michele Winship

    Sally, I have been following you from almost the beginning, and let me say thank you for all the years of service to the body pos community, and…I am so happy you are choosing self-care. It is a crazy world we live in these days, and it is easy to lose in the madness what matters most to us. Blessings on your new journey.

    • Sally McGraw

      My gosh, I’m so amazed to hear how many of you have been with me all this time! Thank you for your loyalty, Michele, and I’m so grateful for your support.

  28. essellgee

    Sally, thank you for all your years of writing in this blog. I’ve been reading you since almost the beginning and have really loved reading your blog. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it, how you can almost feel close to someone through their blog? But while I will miss you a whole lot I hear you loud and clear about your reasons for stopping. You’ve weathered a lot of storms and I can see that it is just plain hard to go through that continuously. Be well, be happy and be free XOXO

  29. Hannah Davis

    Sal, you were my introduction to the world of style blogging, and you’ve been such an inspiration (hair, style, and life-wise!) over the years. Thank you so much for all you’ve done! It sounds like this will be a really positive step for you. Best of luck in everything you do <3

  30. wonkyone15

    It seems that many of my daily reads are folding at once! Thank you for everything, Sally, I have truly enjoyed your writing and photos over the years. I am appreciative of the fact that you will still be posting things from the archives, since I’ve only been a reader for the past few years. I wish you nothing but the best! -Emily Stowe

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, Emily! And yes, I sure hope the archived posts will be interesting and helpful to newer readers like you. We shall see!

  31. Cheri

    Hey Sal – Go you! Thanks for the reads and the support and the thoughts for so many years. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and I really understand the need to step back from such an enormous undertaking – in fact, I’ve been in total awe of your ability to keep-the-hell going for so long and doing it so well.

    I wish all the good things possible for your next steps on your path and I salute you. Ave atque vale!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, Cheri – it’s been a wild and wonderful ride! I had to google your Latin, there, and I adore it. Hugs to you.

  32. Anamarie

    Sally, thank you for blogging as long as you did! I’m pretty sure you were one of the first style blogs I ever heard of, and the first I read every morning. I have learned a lot from you, and I’m surprised and grateful for the many ways you have touched my life. I’m happy to hear you will remain active in LOTT, as that organization is also close to my heart, all because of you! Love and best wishes! ARK

  33. Maryśka

    I’ve been reading your blog for about two years now, learned a lot about myself and widened my view of the world. Being able to see your style transformation was a great pleasure for me and taught me a lot about how I can introduce some changes to make my style more adequate to what I feel I am.
    I appreciate all the effort you put into creating every post, I totally respect your decision and understand it. I hope you will find more balance in life, without this overwhelming pressure of social media. And thank you, you did a great job.

    (It’s my first and probably the last comment in here, but I don’t really like to put myself out there, so I’ve been just a silent reader.)

  34. Gillian

    I’ve loved your blog – thank you! You’ve articulated your thinking really clearly here, so I’m confident you are making the right choice for you. I’ll hold out a bit of hope that you might be back someday though!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thanks for reading, Gillian – not sure I’ll be “back,” but I’ll be “around” if not posting in the same ways!

  35. sue

    Sally, you were one of the first fashion bloggers I encountered and one of the few I have kept reading. I have enjoyed your metamorphosis. I applaud your need to move on. I applaud your honesty and integrity. I also love your kitties. Cats own the space, never care what they look like and take stellar care of their bodies. LOL.

    • Sally McGraw

      So true, Sue! I could learn much from my felines, and don’t they just know it. Thank you ever so much for reading all this time.

  36. bq

    Sally, thank you so much for your terrific blog. I have learned so much from you, especially about “current” feminism [I am a second-waver, myself], kindness, inclusivity, and beauty. Your comment about having said what you meant to say really resonates with me—-that kind of feeling helped me decide to retire from teaching. Best wishes to you as you begin your next adventure! Your honesty, talents, and lovely spirit will serve you so well!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thanks so much, bq – I’m overwhelmed to hear that my writings resonated with you as a Second-waver! What an honor. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

  37. what not

    I too have been reading for most of your tenure if not from the beginning. I’ve long felt I almost knew you, which I know is both a boon and a danger for a blogger, but it also means I’ll miss you as I’d miss a smart, interesting acquaintance who shares one of my interests and talks about it in a tone that really hits the mark with me.

    In my own circles, since the election more and more people seem to be taking their submerged frustrations and disappointments and saying “enough already”. I’m seeing job changes, an adjustment of our senses of purpose, and a desire for a different sort of connectedness; I know I’m looking for some of that myself. I totally understand why the current online culture isn’t the right fit for you right now–I suspect it’s not the right fit for a lot of people–and I can imagine why just now it’s finally time to stop.

    I’ve very much appreciated the blogging stage of your career. I may not see what you’re doing in the next phase (though I’ll keep you in my RSS feed in case you want to update us!), but I’m sure it will only add good, meaningful energy to the world. My best to you, and to all of us.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, what not – I’m definitely seeing a lot of switching gears in my friend and colleague circles, too. It’s a time of change, for sure. I appreciate you reading all these years, and am grateful for your well wishes!

  38. Anne

    Sally – I’m sad that you are wrapping things up, and I will miss the wonderful Saturday mornings I spent clicking on your Lovely Links. You introduced all of us to some amazing people and sites, and I thank you for that.
    The reasons you give are very understandable, and I appreciate the years that you have spent educating and entertaining us as well as sharing your thoughts, passion, and style. Thank you so much for that as well.
    I wish you all the best in your new endeavors!

  39. Imogen Lamport

    I completely understand – a blog is a monster that constantly demands to be fed and it can be draining too. I think your blog has been a fantastic place for the discussion of style and body image and why style is not just a shallow affair, but can completely understand where you’re coming from. I wish you so much luck in your future and what you decide to do. I too struggle with the demands of social media, and you need to do to make money as a blogger (and if you write full time or even part time, you still need an income to support the time ane effort it takes to write the blog). Hope to catch up again one day – either come and visit me in Melbourne or when I’m in the States xx

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you, lovely Imogen – and thank you SO MUCH for making your own blog an open-minded, positive place where women can ask any question and expect an answer that is equally wise and kind. I’m sure we’ll meet again over pizzas someday, my place or yours!

  40. Cynthia Peterson

    Sally, yours is the first blog I ever subscribed to, and I have learned so much from you. Thank you for all the ways you have expanded my learning about body image and style. You are such a caring and gifted person .I’ll miss you, but I wish you all the best as you write the next chapter.

  41. Jennifer

    You and Gracey have been bright lights in the blogosphere and your insights will be sorely missed. As we move forward, I hope others will rise to the challenge with similar integrity. I’m particularly concerned about over-valuing images and being image-centric, which confuses the priority of helping everyone feel good in their own body, clothes, and caring about what makes them happy.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thanks, Jennifer – I hope so, too. I see Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen and Imogen at Inside Out Style doing some of this work already, and believe they will continue to examine style through the lens of self-acceptance. It would be amazing to see even more bloggers follow suit!

  42. hmbalison

    Your blog was the first fashion blog I ever read, and I have so enjoyed it. You helped me feel comfortable in my own style skin. I’m sorry to see you go, but I completely understand the desire to be open to new opportunities.

    I recently read the following wisdom from Norman Lear. He says, “There are two words that are under-recognized ‘over’ and ‘next.’ When something is over, it’s over. And we’re always on to ‘next.’ And the hammock, the imaginary hammock in the middle is what I think is meant by living in the moment. I’m living in the moment waiting for next.”

    So wishing you the best as you move forward into your own “next” in life…


  43. Emilia Ottowicz

    Hi, Sally, I’ve been reading for years, but have never commented. Thank you so much for these 9 years – I’ve learned so much! – and very best wishes for the next chapter in your life!

  44. Amita Basu

    Your blog has been an insipiration. Long-time lurker checking in to say best of luck!

  45. Kirsty

    I’ve loved your blog Sally, and have read for a number of years. Thank you.

    I have enjoyed most of what you’ve posted, as is only natural not everything has been of interest to me. What I have particularly enjoyed and want to thank you for is the insights into your style evolution and why, as well as helping me to see that it is ok to care about fashion and style, it does not make me superficial to do so. It can be important if I want it to be and that is ok.

    I wish you all the best with your future endeavours. The memoir sounds particularly interesting.

    • Sally McGraw

      Kirsty, thank you for letting me know this! It’s always felt a little odd to me to pontificate on my own style evolution, so I’m thrilled to hear you found those explorations valuable.

  46. JulieGillis

    I’m so supportive of your reasons and choice. I’ve loved your blog from afar for a long time. I also get all the issues you point out. Blogging used to be fun! Enjoy the rest and congrats on your amazing career!

  47. Fashion Is Spinach

    Dear Sally: I’ll miss Already Pretty, but I understand and respect your reasons for stopping now. (Some other sites I’ve followed have quit for similar reasons.) I’ve learned a lot from Already Pretty and wish you the best of luck in your next phase.

  48. Leilani Sauer

    I have loved this blog and your thoughts. This was one of the first style blogs I read and it has helped me so much. Thank you and best wishes in the next phase. I’m sad and excited 🙂

  49. Ahuva Hazan-Fuchs

    Wishing you a lot of luck in your new journey! I’ve enjoyed your blog, and completely understand your desire to keep growing in new directions.

    Last night I heard the farewell podcast of “Stuff mom never told you”. Now this post. Lots of endings, starting the new year.

    Thank you for keeping the comment section open for a while, to give me the chance to respond. I still remember one of my favorite bloggers, who closed her blog to comments, immediately after posting her last post. I was really sad not to have gotten the opportunity to say goodbye…

    • Sally McGraw

      Ahuva, wow, “Stuff Mom Never Told You” is ending? I had no idea! I think the new year turning over provides a great impetus for making big changes, though I’ve been mulling this one a while myself. Thanks for your well wishes, and for a lovely and heartfelt goodbye!

  50. zoelf

    I’ve been reading for a few years but I am a total lurker (this is the first time I’ve commented on any blog!), just wanted to say thanks for your hard work. I started reading when I was on maternity leave with my first baby, struggling with body image and depression. I didnt realise until reading your post this evening that you helped me through this time in my life in no small way: helping me to think kinder thoughts about myself and others; helping me realise that there are many ways to be fab; and helping me to experiment with my own style and wearing things I really love (even if they are not particularly flattering!). Not sure that I am articulating myself well but I really wanted you to know the impact you had and to thank you for that. Sincere best wishes for your journey ahead xx Zoe, Queensland Australia.

  51. Rebekah Jaunty

    All of this makes perfect sense. I’m just glad you’re taking care of yourself and not letting a blog dictate your choices! More power to you, lady. Thanks for everything.

  52. Cathi Payne

    Thank you Sally for all that you have shared here on your blog and the community that you have built in doing so. While I didn’t comment very often, I see so many recognisable names in the comments, and not just other bloggers.

    How lucky you are to be able to recognise and act on the need for change – I wish that for all of your readers, including myself! I’m not sure how long I’ve been reading, however I feel that my style and sense of self has improved in that time, and you’ve definitely played a part in that. Not only have I received great advice here, but broadening my reading list both for style and identity, has also continued my journey to becoming well-rounded and embracing diversity in all its forms.

    I’ll keep your blog in my feed reader, and recommend it, with a number of others, if I’m asked for style advice (or any other myriad subject that has been covered here). I offer my best wishes as you move to a new phase, in which I’m sure you will shine, as you have on Already Pretty.

    Thank you again for the talents you have shared with us all here.

    • Sally McGraw

      Cathi, you’re amazing – thank you for your incredibly kind and supportive words. And thank you for considering the blog to be a resource even in this new form – I sincerely hope it will be!

  53. bubu2

    Sally – you were the first fashion blog I ever read and it opened up a world to me. Thank you so much for all you have done with this blog for these many years. I fully respect and salute you on your decision to shift gears — if we don’t keep evolving we grow stagnant. All the best in the next phase of your journey!

  54. Sally McGraw

    Jodie, thank you so much for letting me know – and I hope you know I appreciate everyone, lurkers included! I’m elated to hear my blog was helpful to you. Truly.

  55. Sally McGraw

    Thank you, dear Linda. I’m hopeful that there will be a sea change eventually, but am very ready to step away … at least for now. Thanks for your support and incredibly kind words!

    • Linda B

      You have been constantly on my mind and in my heart this past 24 hours. I even looked up when i started following Already Pretty–it was at the beginning of March 2011, as far as I can tell. I will always be grateful for what I learned in this space. And when I get to Minneapolis every few years, I’ll continue to hope I just happen to run into you! Be well, and be happy!

  56. Katharine McArthur

    Sally, thank you so much for creating this blog. I will certainly miss it. I discovered your blog about 7 years ago, when I was 20. Reading your blog every day has been a transformational part of my own process in figuring out my personal style and learning to love myself. I hope you find joy and fulfillment in your future endeavors. It definitely sounds like you are making the best choice.

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you for reading all this time, Katherine! I imagine you’ve gone through some amazing changes yourself in seven years – so glad this blog supported you through your journey.

  57. Heidi Keating

    Sally, thank you for your dedication and time! I’ve adored your blog and how clear it is that you write mindfully and with love. I hope you find what you need from your step back!

    Much love and gratitude,
    ~Heidi Keating

  58. Erika Gimbel

    Thank you for everything Sally! I have so enjoyed reading your blog over the years. I have loved reading your insights and your kind heart always shines thorough your writing.

    Stepping back from social media will not affect your writing career…at least from my personal experience, the majority of my work comes from personal connections and referrals.

    Thank you again for your work and your voice!

  59. Grace

    Thank you for your work here. All will miss you. And your peers, who seem to be dropping out also. I’ve learned a lot, so thanks again.

  60. Gisele

    Sally, your blog has been a gift and I feel so grateful for all you’ve shared. It’s made a difference in my life. I appreciate you sharing your reasons for bowing out–thoughtful and honest as always. I wish you all the best! A million thanks.

  61. Birgitte

    I want to pitch in and echo a lot of other comments – thank you for the content you’ve created and the focus you’ve had on important issues. I can’t remember when I started reading this blog, but I’m thinking it was within a few years of your starting, and I particularly admire how you’ve had such an awareness of your own on-going evolving. It has seemed to me that you are in a constant investigative state (and I mean that in a positive sense), both in terms of style, body image and general self health. I really enjoyed watching your style shift a few years ago, and the thoughts you shared about that journey. You’ve certainly helped form my view of my own style as something to be investigated, and something that can shift without needing any other reason than “I want to”.

    I wish you the very best of luck, and I am glad that you have found a path moving forward that you’re happy with. Bon voyage!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thanks, Birgitte – for all of your support, and especially for letting me know that my musings on my own style evolution resonated. I love that they reinforced the idea that you can change your style any time at all for any reason – which you absolutely can!

  62. fubbser

    Thank you Sally, for sharing your journey these past years. I joined the quiet readers about five years ago, and have enjoyed your humor and insights. I loved it when you did a big switch from one kind of style to another. I loved it when you called out your politics and values proudly and compassionately. I loved it when you reached out to find other voices to speak through your blog. Much love to you as you move forward, and please don’t disappear from view entirely!

  63. Jennifer

    Sally, thank you so much for all you’ve given. I applaud you for taking this step. Your blog caused me to rethink beauty norms and begin to understand how much my personal value is caught up in appearance. You helped me explore self expression through style. You are an inspiration!

  64. Melanie

    Wow. I’m cheering that you have made this decision – I suspect it can’t have been easy. Of course you will be missed!! but I am excited about your future career and life possibilities away from this specific format. Most of the reasons you have stated here for the change nibble at my edges more and more as well. I love humour and with greater frequency hold back for fear of offending someone.

    But what I want to say most is thank you for expanding my horizons here, Sally. Your sincerity, knowledge, curiosity have shone brightly and I am very grateful that you took the time and care to share it all. And I also thank you for the nods you have thrown my way, especially when I have wondered if there’s anybody out there. If you are ever in the Vancouver area, I would still like to go out for that burger. Happy New Year!! All the best!

    • Sally McGraw

      Happy to have supported you, Melanie – you are one in a million, and I am looking forward to seeing how your own blog evolves. Thank you for your honesty and kindness, and I will for sure look you up when I make my way to Vancouver!

  65. Texas Aggie Mom

    Sally, it has been such a joy to read your blog for over three years now. I can’t tell you how many times I have researched your archives on specific topics, or how much I enjoyed your book and doing the work on my wardrobe and style that it guided me through. As sad as I am to see this era end, I applaud your bravery and ability to say “this isn’t working for me anymore.” You are a bright shining star in a sea of internet negativity, and I will always be grateful for all I have learned from this site. Thank you for everything you have shared with us, taught us, and inspired in us! I am a better dressed, more authentic version of myself at 57 than I have ever been before, and much of the credit goes to you.

    • Sally McGraw

      Oh my goodness, Texas Aggie Mom, I’m so incredibly honored to hear this! How wonderful that you feel more confident in your style now and have embraced your uniqueness. Thank you for being a part of this community, and for your well wishes!

  66. Leslie Le

    I’ll miss you, Sally! I’ve been reading you for so long… almost from the beginning, I think. I’m sorry to see you go, but I understand that sometimes, a person needs a change. Best of luck!!

  67. Shelley

    Sally, thanks for so many years of great posts! You were one of the first style blogs I found when I was finally growing into myself and realizing who I wanted to be, and were part of my inspiration to start my own. I’ve enjoyed seeing your style evolve over time (which helped me as mine did, too, and I wasn’t sure how to navigate it), and appreciate all the hard work and energy you’ve given us over the years.

    Your reasons for stepping back make so much sense to me, and as much as I will miss your posts, I’m glad you’re doing what makes you happy again.

    Best wishes and good luck!

    • Sally McGraw

      Shelley, this is so fabulous to hear! I hope you continue to enjoy your own blog for years to come, and thank you for supporting mine.

  68. Anna

    Sally, I just wanted to say thank you for all of your ideas and hard work. The style consult you did last year and reading your blog these past several years have changed my life. I dress with confidence now and people are always complimenting my outfits. I credit that to your input, style logic, and insight. I really appreciate all you have done, and wish you the very best success on your new chapter. Looking forward to supporting your new work!

    • Sally McGraw

      Thank you Anna, but I hope you credit yourself, too! It takes insight and courage to make a big style change, and you have both in spades. Thanks for your support and for being an amazing client.

  69. Jennifer Englund

    Thanks for everything, Sally – I am a better person for stumbling across your blog years ago. I appreciate your take on fashion, style, and body image – especially apparent in the authors of the guest posts. Best wishes on this next step in your life 🙂

  70. Erika

    Thanks for everything, over all the years! I’ve learned a lot about style from this blog, and it’s helped me figure out what I do and don’t like on myself, and inspired me to break some rules I’d boxed myself in with, and I am all the happier for having broken.

    Best, BEST of luck with your new and continued endeavors! We must always feed ourselves first, so that the work we do can truly nourish others.

    Bon Chance!

  71. Megan

    Sally, I’ve been lurking around your blog for years, and I have so appreciated your attitude of positivity–not even specifically body-positivity, per se, though I’ve certainly valued that. But I think I’ve kept reading because of your general vibe of positivity, cheerfulness, and acceptance. Like others have said, I feel like I’ve gotten to know you through your blog, and you always seemed like a friend, the best sort of friend, who would offer a smile and support with zero judgment. During a rough period with a judgmental ex-boyfriend, I remember reading your blog every morning and thinking something along the lines of “Sally would like me just the way I am” (in contrast to who I was dating at the time). Gah, that sounds like a cheesy overshare, but it’s true. Wishing you the absolute best of luck in your future endeavors!

    • Sally McGraw

      I’m so happy to hear this, Megan – I always wanted this space to feel friendly and welcoming to all, but especially to those who feel vulnerable or unsure. Thanks for reading for so long, and sending big hugs your way.

  72. Mary

    Thank you. Seriously, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me to find my own style, to suit the body I have today, and to feel beautiful in it and my clothes.

  73. crtfly

    As a card carrying introvert, I find it amazing that anyone can produce a blog. I think it takes a huge amount of courage to put yourself out there like that. Yours is not any old blog either. Your blog offers so much valuable diverse information in addition to your fashion posts. It’s obvious that you put your heart, soul, and a lot of hard work into it.

    I completely understand why you have had enough and want to move on to your true passion. I offer my undying gratitude. Wishing you much success in your new endeavors!


  74. Charlotte Peck

    Although I may have only commented once or twice, your blog was one of the very first I ever followed. I have enjoyed your style, insight, and thoughtfulness. You are truly gifted and I wish you the best of luck. And even though you don’t know it you were a style inspiration to me and I have enjoyed trying new things and combinations because of your blog. Thank you!!

    • Sally McGraw

      This thrills me, Charlotte! I’m overjoyed to hear you had fun experimenting with style because of what you found here. Thank you for letting me know.

  75. KLee

    I just wanted to thank you for your hard and dedicated work these past years on the topic of style and body confidence. While I have not been following your website from the very start, I have been a loyal reader for a while now, at least three years, and yours is one of the few fashion or style blogs I have chosen to stick with precisely because of how non-judgmental and open I feel you and the community amassed around your website have been. Thank you for your honesty, always.

  76. Lauren

    My first reaction was selfish panic, but then since you’re going to continue with the Lovely Links (one of my favorite things on the internet, honestly), I am selfishly assuaged. I greatly appreciate your curatorial endeavors.

    Heartfelt thanks for everything you’ve done (and good luck going forward!).

  77. Carol

    Thank you, Sally, for providing me the opportunity to happily lurk for years. You are super! I wish you well in all you do and am grateful that you will continue to update and to post links, for a while at least. This is a time when many of us are considering making changes and commitments. Something is shifting. Even though I’m not in the US, I find myself deeply affected by recent happenings there and the direction in which this world seems to be moving. Social media is an increasingly empty experience and I have a yearning to return to earth and to be more discerning. Speaking of earth, I believe you and I share an appreciation of a particular spot on earth – Tasmania. I regularly land there for some soul-soothing, always visiting Hobart at some point. Peace and love.

    • Sally McGraw

      Carol, you’re so right – change is all around us right now. And yes, I adore Tasmania! Enjoy Hobart for us both until I can make my way back there myself. 😉

  78. Amanda

    Sally, I have been following Already Pretty for many
    years. Your perspectives on using appearance to cultivate positivity (not to mention
    the community you created) was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I am a better, more confident person because of you, and I cannot thank you for that enough. I’ll miss you in my blog feed, but I
    hope you succeed on your next adventures – you have certainly earned

  79. Heidi/FranticButFab

    Sally, thank you for so many years of great style and body image advice. When I started my own site in 2009, you and Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen in particular were my style blogger role models. And the times I’ve been included in Lovely Links made me feel like maybe I was doing something right!

    Now I find myself in a similar place to you; what was once a creative outlet of love has begun to feel more like a job, and since I have an actual, full-time job, something has to give. I’ve already scaled way back on Twitter and Pinterest, more due to lack of time than strategic thought; like you, I’m mostly sticking to Facebook.

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about how to preserve what I’ve built (though at a much smaller scale than yours!) while reducing my involvement, so thank you for modeling what that can look like and showing me that it’s OK to do it.

  80. Karin

    Sally, I’m late with my thanks but thank you for your blog. I’m a tattoo-free 56 YO early retiree who leans towards preppy style and despite that I’ve found your blog a wonderful resource! I’ve appreciated your wide ranging perspective, your relentless body-positivity (who doesn’t need more of that!) and your strong point of view. With a beloved child (well really, a grown adult) who is embracing a gender queer style, I’ve especially enjoyed your insights into non-conforming styles. Best wishes for whatever comes next – I hope it brings you joy!

  81. Alexandra

    Sally, thank you so much for your blog. I’ve enjoyed it for the last… six? seven? years: your excellent sense of fashion, but even more, your kindness, wit, fine writing, and good sense. And your approach–using clothes as a way to make friends with your body again–was one of the hooks that pulled me out of post-partum depression. Thank you, and good travels.

  82. Ginger

    The attitude that “you may think you’re being……(fill in the blank with a zillion different things -sexist, racist, fat shaming, body positive,….) but really you aren’t” is not unique just to body image. It seems to be the standard reply these days.

    At some point a person has to do the best they can and leave the naysayers to themselves.

  83. Anne Updike


    Your blog has been such a place of learning and inspiration for me. I feel more confident in my style and purpose. I feel like I understand people better and value diversity more that I once did. Thanks for making this special place on the internet. Best wishes!

  84. Cate

    I’m so sad! I just now found your blog through a link on TheBudgetBabe. What a lovely post! I will be checking out past content and wish you the best in your future endeavors. As a fellow writer struggling to find their place in this digital world, I truly empathize with many of your feelings towards the internet today.