WIW: out of sync

A couple of weeks ago I posted an outfit I'd worn, and thought looked fine, but got in-person feedback that it was not flattering. (ETA: Now shown as pic #2)  

Last Sunday I wore an outfit that I thought looked kinda frumpy, and got lots of compliments on it. (pic #1)

This has caused me some thinking.  Both outfits were a bit experimental for me - outside my normal tomboyish style by a bit.  Neither are my very best colors either (though neither were that bad either).  

What are your thoughts?  Am I just out of touch?  :)

Added Analysis:  Like Suz said - both of these outfits surrender my waist - a silhouette I love.  The blue is very straight, but the white/tan houndstooth skirt is flared from the lower hip level.  Both show enough skin to add structure, right?  

The blue is more sporty than my norm, the white/tan is more lady-like.  Right?

I do think the people I'm mostly around favor figure flattery and lady-like looks :)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Marley replied 6 years ago

    This is NOT frumpy!  It looks very modern and has some current trends going on!  The length and loose fit of the skirt and the semi-pointed shoes, along with the slouchiness of the top with the semi-tuck are perfect!  You've got your structure by showing some forearm, along with the semi-tuck.  Granted, its not your "normal" style - but I think this looks WONderful on you Amy!  Love it!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    What Marley said. (Great analysis, Marley!) 

    This is feminine, graceful, and while modern, may also read as a little bit 20s retro to some eyes (i.e. those not as "up" on fashion as us here on YLF.) 

    Do people in your world tend to like seeing women dressed to look "pretty"?  

    It might be interesting to post these two outfits side by side in a post and explain what happened. I remember the other one -- the blue striped dress, right? What's interesting in thinking about it is that both outfits gave the effect of a dropped waist. Yet people felt one was unflattering, and the other was flattering. 

    It would be fun to try to unpack that some more. 


  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Great idea Suz - I'll modify this post to include that dress too (and your memory is correct)

  • annagybe replied 6 years ago

    I think you look great. You don't have to be 100% committed to one look all the time.

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    I agree with Marley!

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Hmm... So I think my eye needs to adjust to the length/fullness of this skirt then.  Somehow it looks frumpy to me, but you and others are agreeing that it's not....  Which is great news :)  I just need to get used to it.

  • UmmLila replied 6 years ago

    I like outfit number one, in terms of drape, semi tucking and color scheme on you. To be frank, I was never a fan of the blue dress. I know a lot of people liked it at the time you posted it. I feel that the color is good on you but the shape combined with the stripes gave me a preschool kind of vibe.

  • Nebraskim replied 6 years ago

    Look No. 1 is far less casual than Look No. 2 (the blue knit dress). I think you look good in both, but I do think that Look No. 1 is a more stylish and put together look; Look No. 2 is Just Flattering Enough and works fine for a MOTG on busy, hot summer's day.

  • Firecracker replied 6 years ago

    Amy, you look really chic in this skirt outfit. It's not waist-surrendering like the dress; the semi-tuck provides a waist effect, even if your waistline does not show. If you wore the top completely loose, it would be total waist-surrender like the blue dress. That may be one key difference. I think the other thing is that the bits of skin we do see in this outfit are the slimmest ones possible--your ankles and wrists--which lends not only "structure," but also a particularly dainty dose of it. And it adds to the ladylike feel of the outfit. I'm guessing you felt it might be frumpy because of the fullness and length of the skirt, which are quite different from what you're used to wearing. (I can identify!) The pleats and length are right on trend, fwiw. And in my opinion, stitched-down pleats like these are much easier for most of us to wear, because they are slimming at the waist and upper hip--conventionally flattering to many figures.

  • UmmLila replied 6 years ago

    I think maybe my preschool comment came off a bit mean and I'm sorry if it sounded that way. But I was thinking about it and now I realize where it came from (and why I have not been super fond of a striped dress I bought!): when my daughter was in preschool she often wore the Hanna Andersson striped cotton dresses and leggings. Like very often. And so did her best buddy. So I think it created the little kid association in my head.

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Agreeing with Marley & the others :) The skirt could look frumpy but NOT the way you've styled it :) :) The light neutral colours also work to make it more sophisticated than the other outfit imo.

  • Alana in Canada replied 6 years ago

    Very lady-like and gorgeous. Lovely to see you a bit more fancified. I think the analysis given so far is spot on and I've nothing to add.

  • tulle replied 6 years ago

    For me, that tone-on-tone ivory/bone outfit is fab, not frumpy, because of its soft polish:  the stitched-down pleats defining the hip, the midi length, the feminine drape of the top, and those beautiful shoes.  This look has a certain Downton Abbey-ish elegance that could be played up with drop earrings or a long looped bead necklace, or kept soft and casual. I'll bet you FEEL great wearing it!

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Ummlilla - don't worry - no offense taken at all! And I think I agree with you - it is kind of pre-schoolish.

    I'm learning a lot from this thread - before it, I was ready to purge both as not great...  But I think I'll keep the first skirt anyway.   Thank you all!

  • jackiec replied 6 years ago

    You know what - I really love the first outfit! It really is kind of unexpected for your style, yet it totally works. The semi-tuck and the pushed up sleeves all edge it up a bit. Totally works and I love it. I like #2 as well but #1 has that certain "je ne sais quoi"

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    #1 is very pretty in a muted and sophisticated way. The shoes are just gorgeous and perfect for the outfit. Well done! #2 is more sporty and MOTG. Of course, I would add a white jean jacket. :-)

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Amy this outfit looks fabulous.  The skirt could indeed look frumpy but you have styled this perfectly (love the footwear too).  This is the type of outfit I would expect to see on one of those streetstyle blogs. 

  • Cerinda replied 6 years ago

    Yep, what they said.  I suspect you are feeling frumpy mostly because this is so far from your usual-- so ladylike and so monochrome.  I appreciate how #1 is both on trend and so very understated.

  • Sarah A replied 6 years ago

    I see number 1 as very fashion forward, but also much more soft and less RATE. That said, I think it is a fun alter ego that works and a FANTASTIC job styling the individual pieces. The blue stripe dress fits fine, i think the waist surrender works... but the saturated mid tone color plus stripes don't feel like you at all (too preppy/sporty?), perhaps that is the disconnect. Great thread for discussion and analysis! :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Hi Amy! I see what you mean when you say you think outfit #1 feels a bit frumpy, but to tell you the truth, I think it looks breathtakingly modern while being 20's inspired (kind of a Downton Abbey silhouette). The fact that it's all solid and pale makes it look super sophisticated. If you put this together out of pre-loved clothing you should win a gold medal (but I don't know that you did, I just know you are good at thrifting). Even the high vamped shoes look super current. The semi-tuck totally works, and the stitched down pleats are perfect for your figure. The tea length shows off your slim legs at a pretty spot too. The top's neckline is very flattering as well. It's just a great outfit and you look amazing in it! 

    The second outfit is cute and sporty and I'm sure, very practical. I wonder if the person who told you it was unflattering thought so because it completely surrenders the waist? My DH hates any dress that looks like a sack on me, regardless of how fashionable it is. I have a similar navy knit dress that I wear just because it's so darn practical, and some days just call for that. FWIW, I think the first outfit is so dressy that it's not even in the same category as the second one, so that should factor in too.

  • catgirl replied 6 years ago

    Ami, thanks to yet another of Suz's distracting posts, I stumbled upon this at Massimo Dutti, and immediately thought of your first outfit.


    You could not be more on trend.

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Agree with everyone that #1 looks fantastic! Not frumpy at all. It is hard to say why non-fashion oriented people respond to certain outfits. Figure flattery, face flattery, dressing within their comfort zone and expectations, and who knows what other not strictly fashion factors are involved. I would say dress for yourself but maybe I mean dress for YLF ;-)!

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Thank you all!

    Claire - to your point, the skirt is vintage, I'm pretty sure - it has a woven label. I don't remember buying it, so I suspect I got it at a clothing exchange. The white mesh sleeved sweater is that gap one that was a lemming item in summer of 2013 - Susie was kind enough to send it to me when it didn't work for her.

    I'm glad that you all like #1 - it's turning my heart toward it too, and it may see some repeat action this fall :)  (The skirt is too heavy to be a summer skirt, and all skirts are too cold in winter for me - but this one would work nicely again in spring, I bet)

  • MsLuna replied 6 years ago

    These are definitely modern silhouettes and nowhere near Frumpulous (hehe... Invented word ;)). That said - I can see why you got complimented on outfit #1 (my favourite on you). The neutrals work very well on you! It's simply harmonious with your overall look!

    I hear you on figure flattery. I'm one of those people, and I kind of wish I wasn't. Odd thing is, I'm only a figure flattery stickler on MYSELF. But on others? Nope. If they can work the outfit, why not?

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