Your Personal Style: What Just Isn’t “You”?

Your personal style is made up of many preferences and habits — your work style vs. your off-the-clock style, how conservative or edgy your wardrobe is, the accessories you choose to complement your look, your opinions on what’s office-friendly and what isn’t, and the styles/colors/trends that you’ve decided you just don’t wear, ever.

Many moons ago, I had a purple t-shirt with a teensy flower stuck on it, right at the base of the jewel neck. I was in college — and wearing primarily black — and one of my new best friends (ah, freshman year) took one look at me in the shirt and said, “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? YOU DON’T WEAR FLOWERS!” At the time, the comment really irked me — I hated that it was such a blanket statement, and I hated feeling pigeon-holed. Like I was giving up my right to wear flowers simply because I primarily wore something else all the time.

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It’s been a looong time since then, but I found myself thinking back on that conversation recently when my mother was in town visiting and helping me sort my closet into things to give away and things to wear. Because you know what? My friend was right. I don’t wear flowers. I sometimes really like floral patterns, but I just never wear them. I don’t wear flowers.

Since then I’ve started thinking about how funny this is. With certain styles and cuts of clothes — and even with certain colors — the main reason I’ve avoided them has been because they weren’t flattering on me, either because of some aspect of my figure, or my skin tone, or whatever. But with many prints, it just comes down to a personality thing — my personal style. Granted, some prints I won’t wear because of color or scale (too big, too small), or because I don’t like the way the pattern is laid out or stitched together or whatnot. But a blanket statement that I really just don’t wear anything floral? No matter what color or size? That was a new one to me. I can’t quite put my finger on why — it isn’t that it’s too girly, or because it’s too patterny (of the patterns above, I would wear all but the stripes — apparently I also don’t wear stripes). I just… don’t wear flowers.

For our morning TPS reports, I’ve noticed similar things — I’ll suggest a piece (such as, ahem, a leopard print), and there will be massive pushback from some commenters because they just don’t wear that pattern. So I thought we’d discuss — which styles do you never wear? Which pieces stay in your closet, unworn, or always end up in your giveaway pile? What sorts of things do you find yourself buying over and over? (And how do you know when you’re stuck in a fashion rut?) What do you WISH you could wear but feel like you just can’t?

Pictured above, clockwise from the big image:

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  1. MBA and Baby? :

    Immediate TJ:
    Hi, I am new here but love reading this site, such a helpful resource!
    I was wondering whether there are any readers that have had a baby during MBA studies? My husband and I are trying to conceive, but I am wondering whether I should put that on hold because I will start MBA studies in the fall.
    Any suggestions, personal insights, encouraging stories?

    • A professional woman :

      I had a baby during law school. That’s not exactly the same but similar. Others in my law school also had babies, so it wasn’t weird. I will say that while it did not affect my performance in law school to any serious degree, it has affected my career trajectory. There is no question that it is FAR simpler to start a new career without careers than with a baby or toddler. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but being a mom right out of the gate put me at a significant disadvantage compared to my peers in the legal world. It wasn’t fatal and I developed a nitch practice at a small law firm, but I was not prepared by how difficult it would be to learn how to be a lawyer while having children and a less than supportive spouse.

    • Wildkitten :

      Welcome! You may also find Corporette Moms to be an even better resources for that question.

    • Senior A t t orney :

      I’m not sure if this is the “please don’t threadjack” thread, but I’ll bite: I gave birth to my son while in law school and it was one of the smartest life decisions I ever made. I know law school isn’t business school, but FWIW it worked out great for me. (Although I will admit if I had it to do over again I’d have taken an extra semester to finish — the 19 units I had to take in my final semester so I could graduate on time dinged my GPA a bit and that still kind of stings, all these years later.)

      Edited to add, in response to the above, that a supportive spouse is a must. My then-husband was a teacher and had regular hours and a lot of time off. I can’t imagine trying to do it if my husband had also had a job with long and/or unpredictable hours.

    • Your situation sounds similar to women who become mothers while pursuing other graduate degrees e.g. PhDs. It can be done. From what I have observed, the biggest challenge for most people is finances and childcare. A student schedule can be flexible but income can be limited unless someone is working or if they have a working spouse who can help with these expenses. The people I know who were successful at being in graduate school and parenting had a family member e.g. mum helping with the baby (especially in the first 6 months). You may find it helpful to Google stories about women navigating PhDs and becoming mothers. Some are bound to be negative but you may still find some useful info on balancing your work load and taking care of baby.

      • The only thing that I will say for this- I think business school puts a greater emphasis on social activities as a way of building a network than other grad programs. My 2 years in business school were constant nights out and trips around the world with classmates. This would be hard with a baby at home. I think it is different for something like law school, which is slightly less social.

    • MBA and Baby? :

      Thank you all so much for replying, I will also check over at Corporette Moms for more advice.
      I am aware of the social aspect of MBA studies, I think that’s one thing which is especially important during the beginning of the studies. Some bloggers I googled said that they would recommend having a kid during the second year, since you might have already secured a job offer from the summer internship and can be a bit more flexible during the second year.
      But thanks a lot!

  2. I never wear any animal print… I love it on others but whenever I try it on I feel like I’m trying to be s*xy. It’s funny because both of my daughters gravitate towards animal print- especially zebra.

    • I also never wear animal prints. I’m not white and I think animal prints somehow would “exoticize” me even more, and I don’t want that.

    • I also don’t wear animal print. I love it on others, but I dislike it for me. I can’t really put my finger on why. It isn’t the too sexy thing. I feel like I’m trying too hard–even though I wear other prints and don’t feel that way. It’s odd, but I’ve accepted it.

      • ElizinChi :

        Put me in the “never animal print, ever” for similar reasons to others stated here. I just hate it and never ever wear it.

        I also don’t understand how it gets classified as a neutral; isn’t a neutral something that fades into the background? Animal prints are always loud.

    • I can’t stand animal print, & I don’t care how many people say it’s become a “neutral,” it still reads trashy to me, no matter how subtle or expensive the item. I also can’t stand obvious reptile skins of any kind. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, I just don’t like how wearing pieces of animals looks. It either feels trampy or creepy. Of course, I’m fine with Alexander McQueen skulls & such like. Go figure.

      I also dislike pastels on me, they don’t go with my coloring at all, make me look washed out.

      Can’t wear button-front shirts due to large bust. Yes, there are shirts out there somewhere that don’t gape, but they’re so hard to find that I don’t even bother anymore. I have plenty of lovely blouses & tops without button fronts.

    • I always feel silly in animal prints, like I’m “dressing up” or something, so I just don’t wear them. I know the leopard print especially is very on trend right now, but I will just stick with solids or other prints.

  3. I cannot wear sheath dresses. I have a very small waist and very large lower assets so even with tailoring they look ridiculous and don’t fit properly. However, I love anything that is fitted in the waist and looser below because it emphasizes my tiny waist and hides everything else, so I own about 25 dresses in this style. I also own an obscene amount of red clothing (followed closely by black) because the color looks good on me. I read the study about the perceptions of women who wear red and laughed because half my wardrobe is red.

    • ExecAssist :

      Funny! I was going to say I NEVER wear red. I don’t own a single piece of red clothing…although lately I’ve been thinking of getting red flats…

  4. This is fun!

    My never-wears:
    – Animal print (clothes, accessories, anything)
    – Abstract patterns generally (prefer a crisp, defined print)
    – Red, oddly enough. I have one red tshirt for attending local baseball games, and one clutch, and that’s it. Classic for many, but it’s not a good shade for me.
    – Tops with pleated necklines – I don’t care how easy-breezy-slouchy-chic it looks on the model, on me it looks like Boob Blob
    – Dangly earrings – they drive me nuts!

    Couldn’t pry out of my cold dead hands:
    – Navy
    – Pearls
    – Stripes
    – Button-front shirts
    – D’Orsay heels
    – Turtlenecks
    – Wrap dresses

    • This reminds me, I cannot wear d’Orsay heels because I can’t walk in them. So sad because they are extremely elegant!

      • Oh I love those D’Orsay heels but they look so bad on my feet!

        I have “triangle” foot – it’s wide at my toes and narrow at the heel, so even if the shoe feels okay, it looks like I’m trying to shove the proverbial ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound sack, which is hardly attractive.

        • People's Republic :

          THIS! So much, this. (And, it’s a shame, because I think they look so elegant and classy on others.)

      • I don’t wear:

        Very high heels. Max I can wear is 2.5″
        Gladiator sandals…never know how to style them
        Crew necks or polo necks
        Short shirts. Only knee length, as I hate my thighs
        No crop tops

      • Red Beagle :

        Ditto. My feet slip out of full coverage heels. I can’t even imagine that a D’Orsay would work, as much as I love the look of them on others (have really only ever seen them on shoe models, not IRL).

    • Boob Blob. I’m dying. And I can commiserate – same problem.

    • I have very similar style to you, but I have never tried d’Orsay heels. Now I’m curious if I would like them.

    • You have excellent taste! Other than red, which I am slowly reintroducing into my wardrobe (sparingly) we are style twins.

  5. I don’t wear hearts or stars, not in prints on clothing or for jewelry. That’s a taste thing. I also don’t wear “crisp” button-up shirts, because they never fit me right (small frame/shoulders, but busty). I am also a little reluctant to wear ruffles, because depending on the placement, they make me look unflatteringly scrawny or like I have a big incision/scar down my abdomen.

    Not that keen on animal print, either, although I do have a leopard cardigan that I like and have been looking for some nice leopard pumps. And I would love an old-school, Mrs. Robinson-type leopard coat! (not real leopard, obviously, but a decent fake)

    • I don’t wear stripes, polka dots or animal print…..except cardigans. I don’t know why cardi’s are my exception.

    • Darf Raider :

      Yup – no hearts and seldom stars here, too. I say seldom, since I have a tank top I wear to bed with stars on it.

      So, no hearts/stars in public :)

      Love particular leopard prints (I look great in brown, cream and fawn colors) but not all leopard prints. They can sway cheeseball pretty fast.

      Pastels wash me out, sparkles don’t really work on me, and I have wide hips and a very short torso so long, skinny tops do not work either. Oh, and Crew Neck shirts – not my friend.

  6. When I was in my teens and 20s, I didn’t wear anything with a turtleneck because I thought they didn’t look good on me. Now I do wear turtlenecks and I like them. I think having blanket rules is OK, but they should be periodically reevaluated. Things change.

  7. I wish I accessorized more, but it always feels like too much for me when I do because I’m generally a simple/classic dresser.

    • anonymama :

      Yes to this… I love how big statement necklaces look on other people, but when I put them on me it just looks like too much, somehow. My sister looks pretty similar to me and she can pull it off just fine, but it just doesn’t ever look/feel right on me for some reason.

    • Oh me too. It’s a dual problem: I can’t pick out and buy good accessories and I can’t figure out how to accessorize an outfit. It always feels like I’m trying too hard. I stick with simple pendant necklaces and a plain watch. A string of pearls is as statement-y as I get.

  8. I’m pretty open to a lot of styles – modern classic, girly, tomboy, rocker, occasionally boho, but I don’t wear turtlenecks, capri pants, camo or skull prints. Also I don’t wear all black head to toe and lately have had an aversion to basic cardigans and trousers. I can’t get enough dresses and skirts, button front shirts, jackets and blazers, stripes, vests, oxford shoes, booties, and anything cobalt blue.

    • I used to NOT like turtelneck’s but now I have switched. With turtelneck’s, Frank can NOT stare at my boobie’s while I am sitteing down. So yay turtelneck’s!

      I do love close toe’d shoes with 4″ heel’s b/c they make my short leg’s look good. Men LOVE to stare at my leg’s, and it take’s their eye off of my TUCHUS, which they would OTHERWIZE be drawn to.

      I do love Sheathe dresses, as long as they are not to tight. I do NOT like men to stare at, and comment upon, my TUCHUS. I have to tell the hive about the manageing partner’s brother talkeing to my dad. They spent at least 15 minute’s talking about my weight and my TUCHUS and dad made me sit there to listen to them. FOOEY on them!

      I just came back from the pool, but have to get back out there b/c 2 guys are buzzing around Myrna. They are local’s who probabley want sex from her (and me). DOUBEL FOOEY!

      • ReplytoEllen :

        Hey Ellen,
        Don’t hang around men who talk about your body parts, especially to other men in front of you. Even if it’s your dad and the managing partner who pay for all your clothes. Go get new friends – like me!
        Can’t believe I’m replying to Ellen.

  9. Equity's Darling :

    I would probably only wear the Tory Burch polo and the Anne Klein jackets from the above choices. I feel like florals and paisleys, while I love them in theory, are too busy on me. I don’t wear many prints, but when I do wear prints they are almost always geometric in some way and neatly repeating- polka dots, circles, squares, herringbone. I avoid stripes though, because they are hard when you have a generous bust.

    I consistently buy and wear skinny cut trousers, cardigans/blouses, sweaters, wrap dresses and sheath dresses. A-line skirts are out for me, I always feel frumpy in them. When I feel like I’m in a rut, I tend to go buy more of the same clothes I already have, but in more colours- I look good in most colours, so it’s easy to add them to my closet.

  10. Anonymous :

    I generally do not wear:

    Turtlenecks – I think my head always ends up looking really weird when you can’t see my neck.
    Flats – I think my feet are too big? Somehow I don’t have this problem with sandals but in flats, my feet always seem really really large
    Jackets – I have broad shoulders and find that they often make me look masculine. I’ve tried on a bunch and have decided I just do not like business jackets. I do wear collarless jackets sometimes and I wear a lot of cardigans
    A line dresses – I have high set hips (an 8 shape) and they tend to make me look bigger than I am

  11. I love this topic.

    Never wear:
    -Traditional button-ups
    -I have a ton of skirts but almost never wear them – hoping Jockey Skimmies changes that.
    -I like red bottoms, but not tops.
    -Skinny jeans. I just won’t do it. I barely wear jeans at all.
    -I love animal prints, but only as shoes.

    My standard “uniform” is a patterned shell, a cardigan, and dress pants. I tend to gravitate towards the same type of items and I love to buy multiples, so I feel like I need to shop with someone else, because I don’t even consider items that are different from me. I’m thinking of trying Stitch Fix to get myself out of my rut.

    • Please try the monistat anti chaf! It’s a summer life changer for skirts and dresses!!

      • I use it sometimes, but I hate reapplying during the day. It only lasts for about 5 hours for me ( or less in really hot/humid weather), though I really like it until then.

      • Also, shorts-style spanx -like things have made skirts possible for me. Target has decent ones (A@@ets), I’ve also gotten some at Macy’s. If you look for styles that don’t have extreme control top, they’re pretty comfortable. But then, I like more coverage under skirts and find that even with the spanx-like garments, skirts are cooler than shorts when it’s really hot and humid.

        The Skimmies look great, but I swear I can never find them in the size or color I want, or have to pay shipping which I just won’t do.

        • Red Beagle :

          I’m short, so Skimmies are too long for me in skirts (they show when I sit) and feel redundant/hot in pants when I could be wearing my no-line Maidenforms to kill the VPLs…

        • fully engaged :

          Google pettipants. They are life changing!!

      • Or men’s boxer-briefs. Amazing.

  12. Nothing too fussy, or too slouchy,. I like classic, simple, well put together…

  13. Pretty Primadonna :

    I don’t wear drop waists. Ever. They are very unflattering on my hourglass figure.

    Along the same lines, shift dresses or anything that does not cinch at the waist, are not for me.

    I also don’t wear red. I was talked into purchasing a red bodycon dress that I’ve worn only once. The idea was that I could wear it during holiday seasons (Christmas parties, Valentine’s Day). Alas…

    Things I love:

    Black and white
    Polka dots
    Nautical Stripes
    Sheath dresses
    A-line dresses
    Pencil skirts
    Skinny belts
    Stiletto heels
    Wrap dresses
    Delicate, feminine jewelry
    Floral prints
    Ruffles, frills and bows (LOVE peplums)
    Clean lines (fitted button-downs, etc.)
    Fitted cardigans

    • Anonymous :

      Definitely- I don’t know anyone that looks good in a drop waist

      • Spirograph :

        I used to think I did, but then my delightful husband pointed out that I looked frumpy. Upon closer evaluation, I realized that he was right. I look much better with the waist defined at my actual waist.

      • Maybe Eloise?

    • Anonymous :

      I love drop waist dresses, they work really well with my tall height but short torso.

      Love to Wear:
      Sheath dresses
      V neck sweaters and cardigans
      boat necklines
      straight leg and narrow leg pants

      Never Wear:
      Button downs – love the look on others, does not work with my short torso, big boobs and small shoulders
      A-line skirts
      kitten heels
      Fit and Flare dresses and skirts
      ballet flats – very uncomfortable
      strips/nautical print
      navy – i like but find hard to match
      large jewelry
      hair accessories
      scoop necks
      busy/loud prints, animal prints
      wrap dressed – wear in personal life, not for work, too clingy
      i dislike any visible logo/monograms

  14. Meg Murry :

    I pretty much only own solids, with a very occasional stripe thrown in. The only pattens I own are dresses, and they are all pretty much one color+ white. I’m trying to make myself buy patterns, but even when I went online shopping intending to buy a few printed tops, when they were out of my size in the one I liked I ended up with 5 more solid ones in my cart (I stopped myself before buying them). I also am guilty of buying the exact same thing (shirt, pants, whatever) in like 5 colors at once. That means I have lots of volume of clothing, but not all that much variety-wise, which contributes to “I have nothing to wear” syndrome. And they all tend to wear out at the same time, so then I need new things all at once.

    Also, I love brown, and the look of it on me, but I can’t keep track of a whole second set of shoes, purses etc to wear with brown instead of black. I have ADHD and am a slob, and have enough trouble keeping track of my stuff, so one good piece of advice I got was to stick to one color palette and be done with it. It was too stressful for me in the mornings to think “ok, I’m going to wear the brown pants today” and then not be able to find the brown socks and brown shoes I wanted – I usually found one sock and one shoe, but not both. It didn’t help that I usually had to get dressed in the semi-dark to keep from waking my husband or the baby sleeping in my room. Same with navy. So while browns and navy are pretty, my workwear is all black, charcoal and tan for neutrals, and colors that go with those, since all brown gets boring really quickly and is a lot more limiting.

    • Meg Murry :

      I also don’t wear heels for anything other than fancy occasions like weddings. I never really learned to walk in them, and I don’t want to bother at work. I’ve always worked in very casual environments or male dominated environments where heels were uncommon or flat out not allowed, like on the factory floor.
      When did everyone else learn to walk in heels? In college? In summer internships? I feel like I missed a critical stage when it made sense to learn, and I just don’t want to bother now.

      • Interesting. Maybe some people learn by going to church, or other worship services where heels are appropriate, on a regular basis. Also, it depends on the heel. A solid 2-inch pump is relatively easy to walk in and doesn’t require much learning. A strappy 4-inch mule is not.

      • At work, and actually not until my early 20’s. I can’t do the super-high heels, but I can deal with 2.5-3.5″ around the office. Wearing them on the street to commute or walk to lunch? No way. I can do 2″ or under for short distances on the street. Heels are mostly an indoor thing for me.

      • I learned pretty young by wearing character shoes in various dance classes. Although I have a range of heels, I still unconsciously gravitate to that style (Mary Jane or t-strap, almond toe, thicker heel). It’s never too late to learn, but you should do it only if you want to. Professional =/= heels. Maybe sign up for some ballroom dancing? :)

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I wore heels, albeit chunky ones, in middle school.

      • I almost never wore heels in undergrad, except the occasional heel for an interview or fancy ceremony – I think I wore heels to one of my department graduations.

        I officially learned to walk in heels in law school. I wore heels to my interviews and my judicial internship…and now to work! I wear them out to lunch. I don’t commute in heels. I do commute in 2-3 inch boots sometimes though.

        I also wear them on weekends sometimes if I’m just going to lunch and not going to be doing a lot of walking (like shopping – that’s a flats and/or sneakers type of activity!).

  15. Don’t wear

    – Maxi dresses or skirts, or any casual dress really. I’ve just accepted that I am a jeans and tshirt girl in my casual life, whether it be a fitted tee for my favorite band or sports team or a “fancy” tee or tank. But in my work life I prefer skirts and dresses. Weird.

    – flared or pouffy skirts, they just make me look really hippy. I stick to sheath dresses, pencil skirts and mild a-lines.

    – ballet flats, I find them so uncomfortable.

  16. I don’t wear cotton button downs- if they fit the rest of my torso, they gape at the bust. They’re always uncomfortable. They don’t make me look pulled together, they make me look frumpy. I don’t mind silk or other flowy button-front blouses.

    I love a-line or pencil dresses & skirts, and slim-cut pants. I dislike trouser-style pants. I love wearing black hose during the winter.

    I don’t wear statement jewelry– I wear the same items every day. The only article on which I’ll wear animal prints are on flats.

    • Anonymous :

      I also can’t wear button down shirts – I’m just too large in the bust for it.

      I do not wear ruffles or bows (except for a bow on the front of my heels). I feel like I look ridiculous in them. Tie-neck blouses look like something my grandmother wore.

      I can’t wear yellow or olive or orange.

      And also like you, I don’t wear statement jewelry. I have a lot of jewelry but it’s a lot more delicate.

  17. No turtlenecks for me. When I was younger, I just hated them because it felt stuffy. Then I liked them for a few years, but I’m back to hating them. I’d rather wear a scarf.

    No pleats either. I love the look of pleated skirts but realized that with my assets being held in my butt and thighs, it just looks awful on me.

  18. Sydney Bristow :

    I don’t wear button up shirts. I don’t wear prints that aren’t something like stripes or polka dots.

    I can’t think of anything else, although I’m sure there are others!

  19. Orangerie :

    Never wear:
    – Yellow (makes me look sickly)
    – Polo shirts
    – Sweater dresses
    – Cutesy/juvenile prints like hearts, stars, birds, etc
    – Bootcut jeans with flats (stumpifying)
    – Flats with work skirts/dresses
    – Cable knits (too much bulk)
    – A-line & empire waist dresses
    – Cotton cardigans (prefer merino or another knit that retains its shape & looks less casual)

    Almost never wear:
    – Animal print (with the exception of leopard calf hair shoes and a couple blouses in very subdued patterns)
    – Red clothing (I do have a small red clutch that gets a lot of use)
    – Turtlenecks
    – Earrings other than diamond studs

    Always wear:
    – Sheath dresses (work)
    – Blazers & tweedy jackets
    – Stripes (weekends)
    – Slouchy merino sweaters (weekends)
    – Fit & flare party dresses
    – Skinny jeans
    – Ankle length trousers

  20. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments on this thread. I’m a pear, size 8 on the bottom and 4-6 on top.

    Never wear:
    – Turtlenecks
    – Traditional button-down shirts
    – Polo shirts
    – Sweater dresses
    – Miniskirts or super-short dresses
    – Printed pants
    – Skinny jeans, except with boots
    – Drop-waist anything
    – Most flouncy skirts/dresses – make me look too big on the bottom
    – Pleated skirts or dresses
    – Pointed toe shoes – hurt my feet too much
    – Yellow and green – just don’t go with my complexion. I also wear very little orange, but usually coral is OK.

    – Sheath dresses
    – Pencil skirts
    – Most peplum tops/dresses
    – Printed skirts
    – Shift dresses
    – Hose (not a love, but I wear them anytime I wear a dress or skirt; think my pale legs look so much better in nude hose)
    – Silver/white gold jewelry – every day I wear at least one bracelet, a watch, earrings, and most days a necklace

    I don’t have to wear suits, so my “uniform” is typically one of the following:
    – Pencil skirt + top tucked in + wide belt + jacket/blazer/cardigan. If the skirt is printed, jacket is typically not, and vice-versa. I have printed skirts, printed jackets/blazers, printed tops…and I don’t wear all of them at once. :)
    – Dress (usually belted) + cropped jacket/blazer/cardigan
    – Pants + top tucked in + jacket/blazer/cardigan + belt if belt loops

    I’m finding myself less confident in pants; I feel like I look much better in skirts or dresses. This has resulted in only wearing pants through the winter and feeling frumpy when I do. I carry all excess weight between my belly button and thighs, so in pants I feel like I look bigger than I am.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m the same ways in pants. I wear jeans on the weekend but wear pencil skirts or dresses to work at least 90% of the time.

      • Sydney, exactly! I wear jeans on the weekend, too, and I feel fine in them. Glad I’m not alone. :)

        • Me too – skirts and dresses and jeans, but not feeling good in trousers. In the winter I just wear tights with my skirts and dresses, but early spring and late fall when it’s that in between not warm enough for bare legs/ not cold enough for tights I wear trousers to work and feel not so fabulous.

      • I’ll occasionally wear jeans on the weekend (maybe once per month)but don’t even own a pair of work trousers and haven’t for about 6 years or so. Why feel frumpy when you don’t have to?

        • Red Beagle :

          I have several pairs of straight leg trouser pants but rarely wear them due to the length/shoe factor. I wear heels most of the day but switch to flats at lunch to take a walk or go to lunch. Can’t be bothered to adjust the hem using fashion tape or safety pins and don’t want to drag the hems and ruin the pants because they weren’t cheap. If anyone has a hack for temporarily, effectively, and instantly shortening/lengthening pants to go from heels to flats, I will adopt it and take my pants out of purgatory.

  21. Palazzo pants – no no no, they make me look bigger than I am

  22. Diana Barry :

    No button front shirts (I got rid of all but 1 because I never wear them)
    No animal print (except on shoes)
    No heels for work (flats only except for big meetings)
    No paisley/big prints (overdosed on these when I was a kid)
    No hose
    No jewelry except for necklaces
    No belts

    ballet flats
    silk (or silk-ish) blousy blouses
    um, drawing a blank for the rest!!! :)

  23. This is a fun question! I never wear:

    1. Turtlenecks — they feel too restrictive
    2. Cropped pants or ankle length pants — they look awkward
    3. White pants — just don’t like
    4. Boots over my pants or knee high boots with a skirt. Will rarely wear ankle high boots.
    5. Costume jewelry.

  24. Anon in NYC :

    I wear very few patterns, and if I do it tends to be in a top. The vast majority of my dresses are solids (work and casual). Most of my tops are solids, all of my skirts are solid, and most of my clothing is solidly stuck in neutral colors.

  25. Anonymous :


    my torso is oddly long, and i cannot ever figure out where or how to “belt it” when it comes to dresses/skirts.

  26. Never wear:
    Peter Pan collars
    Stud earrings
    Anything with buttons in the chest area
    Lace (usually…I have one or two dresses that are lacey, but they’re infrequently worn and never to work)

    Always wear:
    Florals, actually
    Fit and flare dresses
    Brights and patterns
    Dangle earrings (I try to keep them smaller for work, and the bigger ones come out for evening/weekend) and simple pendants/charms

    This goes for both my casual and professional style, as they’re almost identical. Even though I work in a conservative industry (state-level politics), I’ve never gotten any pushback about my very girly style.

    • +1 on the Peter Pan collar. I also wear a lot of florals, brights, and patterns. In fact, I just got complimented by a senior exec who said she loved the colors I wear – and she’s seriously connected in the company.

  27. The following are not me:

    -Peasant shirts or skirts
    -Poet sleeves
    -Large cowl necks
    -Ruffles anywhere at all
    -Patterns of animals, hearts, bikes, fruit, or etc.
    -Wide-leg or flared pants
    -Halter necks
    -Ribbed tops
    -Most pastels
    -Platforms or high heels
    -Full skirts
    -Straightened or slick hair

    And what is me:
    -Skinny or straight leg pants
    -Bright lipstick
    -Button front shirts
    -Unexpected patterns
    -Cobalt or navy, lots of white
    -Pencil skirts
    -Big curly hair

  28. A professional woman :

    Funny, I am wearing a dress that is “not me” today. I think it is “not me” every time I wear it, but I do wear it because it requires zero ironing. It is a print. I don’t love print dresses. I like striped dresses. I like polka dots. But I can’t stand allover print dresses.

  29. I don’t wear:
    – yellow, orange, or any green that isn’t more blue than yellow
    – polo collar anything
    – skinny jeans
    – gold jewelry
    – delicate jewelry
    – hearts on anything
    – ballet flats (or any flats, really)
    – patent leather
    – miniskirts
    – ruffles
    – flowy tops
    – bracelets
    – necklace and earrings at the same time (one or the other, please!)

    I rarely wear:
    – platform shoes
    – flower prints (exception: black & white abstract flower prints)
    – turtlenecks

    I always wear:
    – neutrals: black, grey, white, navy
    – colors: red, purple, cobalt, teal
    – silver jewelry
    – 2-4″ heels (weirdly more comfortable to walk in than flats)
    – high-contrast, abstract or geometric prints

    I would say my style is classic tipping toward edgy. I love seeing more feminine, delicate pieces on others, but on me they look/feel wrong.

  30. Love this thread!

    Never wear:
    Stiff button downs
    Polo shirts
    Sneakers (outside the gym)
    Anything that feels too little-girly: most pink, excessive ruffles, bows
    Leopard print

    Statement jewelry
    Anything with pearls
    Jewel tones (cobalt, emerald, ruby)
    Fit and flare dresses
    Silky tops

  31. Lyra Silvertongue :

    Don’t wear and don’t miss:
    -Anything beige
    -Anything grey (very dark charcoal gets occasional exception)
    -Ruffled tops (boobtastrophe, way too much emphasis on them)
    -baggy clothing
    -shorts (phew, don’t have to worry about being tempted by those short suits :P)
    -bubble hems

    Don’t wear but wish I could:

    -Animal prints- they make me look like a wannabe cougar at 26
    -Polos- look great on so many people and I always end up looking kinda frumpy
    -Yellow- it’s happy color that I decorate with but against my blondish hair it just makes me look blergh
    -Drop-waists- love the 20s style but it’s not happening on my low hourglass shape
    -Trapeze and swing coats- seem so chic but anything that totally hides my waist is a no-go (I guess capes fall into this category too, much to my chagrin)

  32. I never wear red, yellow, or brown.
    I never wear silver tone accessories.

    I never wear A-line skirts, and in fact, since I wear jeans to work (engineer at an industrial site), I can’t think of the last time I wore a skirt at all. Dresses all the time on the weekends, but never skirts.

    I only wear socks with running shoes or boots.

    I never wear stud or small earrings. If I’m wearing them, they’re dangly.

  33. TO Lawyer :

    This is an interesting post/thread – let me see

    I never wear:
    -dress pants
    -button down shirts
    -anything too masculine looking
    -too many ruffles (I do like peplums and some ruffles)
    -rarely wear cardigans

    I love
    -classic pieces
    -silk blouses
    -statement necklaces

  34. housecounsel :

    Pastels. I feel absolutely not myself in pastels. Cowl necks (always make me feel like I should have a pair of glasses on a chain resting on my bosoms) and turtlenecks. Loafers.

  35. Flats- I hate flats at work–they’re uncomfortable and presence-neutering (is that weird?).

    Hearts- Hate hearts–told my fiancee if he gave me a heart-shaped diamond, I’d say no. (He knew me well enough that it wasn’t a concern)

    Slits- If it were possible, I would not buy skirts/dresses with a single slit up the back. It just exposes the ugliest part of my leg–that weird fleshy back-knee part. I’m spoiled from my theory suit skirt with the suit-coat-style double-slit flap.

  36. Pants.


    • Yeah – I am not a frequent pants-wearer at all. But after being firmly in the no pants camp for a few years I think I am starting to miss them… I recently even bought a pair!

  37. This is fun. The way Kat feels about florals is the way I feel about abstract prints. I am also not a fan of geometric patterns, though less firmly so.

    Other not-me items: twin sets (too matchy), khakis and shorts. I think I find the first two frumpy, but I don’t know why with the shorts. I want to be the kind of person that wears them but I honestly think the last time I left the house in shorts I was in junior high. I also don’t do sweat pants or sweat shirts or anything like that. I get that it’s comfy but I just can’t. There are other ways to be comfortable in my mind.

    • amberwitch :

      +1 on the shorts. They are so not me I didn’t even think to mention them.

    • AIMS, have you tried bermuda shorts? I didn’t wear shorts at all for several years and then found JCrew’s summerweight bermudas. Since they’re nearly knee length they’re not revealing, but they still give the casual-tailored vibe. I love them with a slightly loose button-front, sleeves rolled up, for weekend plans.

      • I have not but I’ve thought about them. Sometime in my early 20s when clam diggers became in all of a sudden, I had a pair of those but I still kind of hated wearing them. As in I would, and then I would feel not right the entire time. So I am thinking the same thing may happen with Bermuda shorts. Plus I am not sure I can pull off the look so as to not look like I am an old lady on the way to the country club (I am newly 33 but it’s still a concern). I may try them on next time I am in JCrew though… It would be nice to have something besides sundresses to wear on summer weekends….

  38. amberwitch :

    I really don’t like patterns! I own a total of 6 checkered pieces of clothing, and 1 striped piece of clothing.
    Apart from that, I have a very hard time with high contrast outfits – like a white top with a black suit. No matter how classical, the break in colours just seems so harsh to me. I have a pair of white and black checkered pants (and a black and white checkered top) which is ok because the colours are more gradually merged.
    I am also extremely bad at plain clothes. Almost all my clothes have some architectural tailoring going on.

    But then I’ve found my perfect match in a local designer when it comes to style and fit, so my whole wardrobe is pretty cohesive, and most of it fit together.

  39. Never Wear:

    Bright red (I love it, but it really brings out the red… in my nose)
    Dresses without a fitted waist
    Heels over 2.5″
    Polo shirts
    Any type of short skirt/dress
    Printed or colored pants
    Skinny jeans
    Wrap Dresses
    Small, busy patterns

    Things I Love:

    Sheath dresses (when I can find one that fits)
    Fit and Flare/A-Line/Empire-Waist dresses
    Statement necklaces
    Shirts with pleats or other interest near the neckline
    Big prints with lots of open space
    Flower prints
    Geometric prints
    Jeans on the weekends in winter/knee length jersey skirts on the weekends in summer

  40. Love the thread, Kat! For me, it’s probably easier to name what I do wear than what I don’t, especially after abandoning pants years ago. My work uniform is an A-line or belted sheath dress with a cardigan/blazer and almond-toed pumps (plus ballet flats to commute). I gravitate towards cool, jewel-tone colors and grey/black/navy neutrals, worn with silver jewelry, often with a sculptural twist. Most of my preferred patterns tend to be abstract, like watercolor florals. Looking forward to everyone’s comments.

  41. Veronica Mars :

    I hate orange. It’s a horrible color on me. I look like a giant traffic cone. Therefore, I eliminated all orange from my wardrobe (I also don’t really own any yellow or brown either–except for brown leather shoes and bags). Warm colors just don’t look good on me, I don’t feel confident in them, so I just don’t wear them. I also won’t buy anything that had a shoulder embellishment (poofy or ruffles or anything that makes the shoulders look more pronounced). Makes me look like a linebacker.

  42. I always feel weird in any type of pants that aren’t jeans. I’m just a skirt/dress girl.
    Wish I could wear: menswear styles, including button down shirts and pants. I love Katharine Hepburn but those types of styles never flatter my figure.
    I also hate any neckline that fits close and any long sleeves I own will invariably be pushed up to around 3/4 length.

  43. Here are my no-ways

    Big prints, especially if they are geometric or abstract
    Animal prints
    Bright reds, oranges or yellows
    Skinny pants
    White pants
    “Statement” jewelry – like large stones or rocks, or heavy looking metal pieces

    My go-tos
    Plain black slacks
    Solid or small print blouses
    Muted florals
    Simple A-line dresses
    Basic jewelry – diamond studs, silver or gold hoops, pendant on a chain

    I would like to be a little more adventurous, but I find myself drawn to things that feel too “girly” for office wear (lace, florals, fuller skirts), so I stick with the basics. Pretty boring, actually.

  44. In the Pink :

    Never Wear –

    sheaths… I’m an extreme hourglass
    button front shirts/blouses — the gaping and tailoring to reduce the shirt volume for my waist
    ankle strap shoes
    flat dress shoes (yes to sneakers and flip flops at home) – I have virtually no arches and an injury caused bunion
    plaid — too many many years in parochial schools
    jumpsuits – see hourglass commentary
    capri pants — cuts off my leg length
    maxi skirts — DH would like to see my legs; from the knees down, one of my best assets
    kitten heel shoes
    skinny pants, jeans, shorts, anything skinny there
    nude nail polish
    platform shoes with >1/2 platform — too “clompy” when I walk
    sling back shoes … they just flap flap flap when I walk
    peep toes at work … I wear hosiery and the readers here frown heartily on that combination
    wristlets, clutch purses … I run my own biz; need “stuff” in my purse, even just the office keys are like those for the Tower of London!
    yellows, greens, oranges … clash with my skin
    pastels — wash me out

    Always –

    polka dots
    red red red
    primary and saturated/jewel tone colors
    florals, medium scale
    cardis/blazers in the office
    skirt suits
    hoop/lever back earrings
    frameless prescription glasses
    red/pink nail polish
    high heels (3-4 inches)
    full makeup
    a smile …

  45. no:

    anything pink
    anything with buttons (which basically means no cardigans, button down tops, decorative buttons on anything, etc.)
    anything especially girlie/super feminine
    non-clean lines at neck or hem (no scalloped edges)
    sheath dresses
    white dresses/skirts
    fitted skirts
    heels over 2 inches
    drop waist

    jewel tones
    classic small jewelry
    comfortable pieces
    classic/solid color tops/pants

  46. This is fun!
    Never wear:
    Prints that are only one one side of the fabric
    Florals, paisley, “abstract” prints (to steal from another poster), twee prints (like little watering cans or something silly)
    Scoop necks, necklines with gathers (also stolen from Cat above), peter pan collars
    Capri pants. Any length, any style, no no no no no no.
    Bracelets (at least not to work)
    Maxi dresses
    Polo shirts

    Couldn’t dress myself without:
    Ballet, v, and crew neck t-shirts
    Pencil skirts
    Ponte dresses

    Thinks I don’t wear but would like to
    Animal prints
    Polka dots
    Tie front shirts

  47. I have a short torso (and a high hip…so my waist is really high), so I never wear:
    – Things that cinch at the waist (dresses are sometimes ok, but I never belt a cardigan or wear a shirt/dress that gathers at the waist)
    – Blues (except for denim and navy)
    – Dangly or hoop earrings (studs only!)
    – Maxi dresses (I think they look sloppy and don’t like the feeling; evening dresses are ok)
    – Bodycon anything/tight pencil skirts (my high hip makes them look really weird)
    – Skirts w/elastic instead of a zipper/button (again, they just ride up my hip and look weird)
    – Bootcut jeans
    – Peter pan collars, babydoll dresses, anything that makes me look younger than I am
    – Pleather
    – Rompers (peeing is an issue)
    – Sandals with just the one band going across the toes (my feet are too wide in the toebox for that)
    – Silver
    – Wrap dresses

    I could go on and on.

    I really love:
    – Sheath dresses
    – Tailored, yet blousy shirts (does that make sense?)
    – Architectural detailing
    – Drapey t-shirts, sweaters, etc.
    – Flat ankle boots
    – Corals, reds, fuschia…bright warm tones work best with my complexion
    – Skinny or legging jeans
    – Ankle pants (but finding ones that are long enough are sometimes a challenge)
    – Loafers. Love me some loafers.
    – Ballet flats

  48. My college had a dress code: skirts/dresses for women, coat and tie for men. It was very helpful in a way, because you got used to “dressing for class” and learning the nuances: church, football games, formals, kegs and receptions all had their own unwritten dress code. When I started working in offices, I already had the background for dressing for work, and so there was very little difference in my shopping.

    I’m preppy/conservative, with sweaters in fine wool or cashmere, plain blouses, wool or linen bottoms. I have a bit of an hourglass figure, so pencil skirts and sheaths don’t work at all. Shoes usually didn’t go over 3″, with 2″ being more normal (I’m 5’9″). Nowadays, with my foot problems, I wear flats or 1.5″. Also, if you start with needing to wear nylons, it all kind of falls in to place from there.

  49. I will not wear:
    Yellow or orange clothing (including orangey reds, coral, yellowy greens, and yellowy browns)
    Shift dresses
    Crew necks
    Ankle boots
    Non-jean pants
    Denim or leather jackets
    Red nail polish
    Strapless dresses
    Chunky jewelry

    I really love wearing stripes, polka dots, lace, ballet flats, knee-length gathered skirts, blue and green (especially together), black and white (especially together), blazers, off-the-shoulder tops (never at work), and headbands (never at work).

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