Good On Paper

Simple semi-dressy outfit

This is one of those outfits that was better in concept than in execution. These are all favorite pieces, but somehow when they came together, it just seemed a bit “meh.”  I felt the overall look needed a bit more edge. Maybe some ankle boots next time?

Radiant Orchid suede pumps

That one shoe does look a bit big; there’s a 1/2 size difference between my feet, so I always buy shoes to fit the larger foot, and often add a heel grip to the other.

gumball faux pearl necklace, station faux pearl necklace

The necklace is a few years old now, from Gerard Darel. I love this offbeat take on a pearl necklace (these are Fun Faux).

Cardigan: Nanette Lepore is still available in size L Turquoise here // Tank: Eileen Fisher // Necklace: Gerard Darel, no longer available, similar look // Pants: Eileen Fisher // Shoes: Diane von Furstenberg, same style in black.

Do you ever have outfits that are “good on paper” but just seem to be missing something once you put them together?



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  1. I really like the shoes. The pearl necklace and the cardigan are both good pieces. You could try a plain sliver necklace instead. The cardigan would look great with a simple black shift dress. I find it is always worth trying things out.

      1. I love black – and this isn’t all black, with the pretty blue-grey and lace cardigan, the pearls and the hot-pink shoes. Agree that the problem is the cardigan and big pearls – I’d prefer silver with it, or as Duchesse says, turquoises!

    1. I’m with you. Jo. The “pearls” are warm-toned and the cardi and top cool, so it’s a case of two pretty things clashing slightly. your genuine pearls they would work beautifully- or silver, or your J. Crew jeweled piece. Or a new strand of turquoise 😉

  2. I like this ensemble on you. I don’t think you always need an edge. I like the pink shoes with this. Stodgy me would have worn black shoes. Let’s just say that I seldom have an edge!

    I am confused by pant lengths these days. If you have time, would you address that in a blog post?

  3. I think the problem is that the eye is drawn to too many places – the pearls, the jacket detail, the shoes. Two focal points would work, but with three, it feels as though the eye just jumps around. I’d swap out the necklace for something less striking and keep the shoes and jacket.

    1. You’re right. The outfit isn’t wow but certainly nothing wrong. I wonder if you had another pop of pink closer to your face to balance it out? I also wonder if the point where you have tops stop ie just below the waist is hitting you at an unflattering spot. Does a longer top work or would it be thrown off by your height? As I recall you said you are about 5’1″ though you always look taller in the photos. Second thought is if the pant was slightly longer to cover up more of the ankle would this elongate your leg? Nuts4dogs

      1. I agree that the spot where the sweater hits makes this less than flattering. Have you consider using a tunic under the sweater? The mis-matched lengths can give a quirky edge and trick the eye.

  4. I think it looks good, maybe it is just missing a bag? One in magenta to match the shoes or one with an interesting texture or even black and white. I do know what you mean, sometimes outfits don’t translate in pictures that look good in real life. I’m guessing this is one of them. I love the sweater!

    My photographer’s eye gets thinking and if this outfit was photographed on mint green it would pop off the background. I have found black to be a hard color to get a good picture against a nature.

    blue hue wonderland

  5. I never stop marveling at how good fashion ideas can turn out bleh and quick unanalyzed ones can work. The difference between our minds and reality is large.

    That’s an interesting work-around you do with shoes. None of us is perfectly symmetrical and too often I stuff my bigger part into a garment that’s too small for it (but fits the other one). Your approach is infinitely better. Discomfort sucks!

  6. I don’t think it is too much black. I love a solid column, i.e. top and trousers/skirt in the same colour plus a layer like a blazer or cardigan. Your shoes look great with this look and I prefer pumps to ankle-boots.
    As a matchy-matchy person I always try to pick up the colour again and like Ann said, a bag that contains a bit of the same colour would be nice.

    Annette | Lady of Style

  7. The faux pearls and your hair are a knockout combination! I bet the effect is even more stunning in person.

    On the outfit, cut your self some slack, it’s lovely: monochromatic, textural with a punch of colour!

    This can and did happen to me quite often, which is why I have built tried and true capsules that I can pull on without too much thought every morning. some effort at the start of seasons, or to integrate a new purchase, but totally worth it!

    On the one slightly larger shoe, with heels I have found “ball of foot” or forefoot pads helpful on the smaller foot. Because heels make the smaller foot slide forward, I was finding heel grips not even making contact in some cases.

  8. Love this sweater. I think it looks great with the pants and the shoes. And they all look great on you. Although the necklace is lovely…I think I’d put one of your scarves at the neck. Either black and grey so that the shoes are the only pop of colour or something to pick up on the pink of the shoes.

    Lots and lots of “two cents worth” this Friday morning, eh?

  9. I think this outfit looks great! The necklace and especially the shoes really look good. But if it feels meh to you, then you need to fix it so you feel Yeah!

  10. Oh boy, you did ask for opinions, right??? :))
    For me it’s the shoes that are off. I prefer the focus of an outfit to be on the top rather the bottom of an outfit. Your created a focal point with the necklace and another one with the shoes.

  11. I think you look great. I would say, though, that perhaps the overall effect is busier than you’ve been preferring lately. I think you’ve really mastered a cohesive, neutral, sophisticated look that’s very rich. Here there are a few more directions that pull my eye. For me, if I were really being particular, I’d say that the lace panels of the cardi draw my eye one way while it’s also been pulled to shoe and to that great necklace. Overall though? You’re still fab! xo

  12. I think you look great but if you are not feeling confident then change it up somehow. Maybe a scarf or a different cardigan. Love the lines of those pants!

  13. Forget the outfit, my eye is drawn to your face! You’re looking so fresh with that great hair cut and color. It really suits you.

  14. I have misfires in outfits frequently. We all do! Were you wanting opinions? Love the pearls and cardigan. The pearls draw our eye to your face, then the lace draws it out to your shoulders and down to the sleeves. Then the shoes yell out. Lovely shoes, but I’d prefer to focus on your pretty face. IMHO As I’ve mentioned before, your hair knocks it out of the park! Fabulous.

  15. I would switch out the pants for a black pencil skirt. Four mornings out of five it looks like a clothes bomb went off in my room from putting things together then rejecting under the time gun. Still that’s half the fun.

  16. I think slim pants such as these need bolder tops. The cardigan would look lovely with a skirt. I think boots would really throw it all off.

    I’m still blown away by how lovely you look with blonde hair. Totally suits you!

    1. I think a skirt might be something to try.
      With the lacy insets in the sweater, more leg showing would keep the light look going and the shoes would get a chance to pop.

  17. I always think every outfit deserves a pop of surprise, and while the pink shoes are great, I think it needs another notch up. What about a black and white stripe, or print, top? I like the pearls, I like the sweater, but together, pearls and lace? That seems too safe to me.

  18. You are lovely. However I think that jackets and tops that stop at the widest part of ones hips are just not flattering or balanced.
    Unfortunately most ready to wear does exactly that.

  19. Tres Belle! I think you looked very stylish. The pink shoes were a nice touch. I would recommend a leopard clutch or bag to pull it together.

  20. What a range of opinions here…

    As for mine, I love those shoes with that outfit! They add an unexpected touch that really add to your elegant and classy look and give it freshness.

    I echo the other commenters’ thoughts regarding your hair — you look absolutely stunning in that shade of blond!

    Une femme, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, comments, and yes, questions, about your style and outfits. I learn so much from reading your entries. They’re a favorite part of my day!

  21. Long time reader, first time commenting.
    Since I am a woman of a certain age I am in a stage of style transition, I try to avoid an over-styled fashion victim look, and would hope to be described as chic and classic. I was drawn to this blog because I usually find chic, classic inspiration with a touch of rock n’ roll style.
    I admire the women who put their lives out there for others to comment on, but opinions are like – well, if you know what i mean – everyone has one.

    So with that said, IMHO the cardigan would be better with wide leg pants, or a boot leg, or a skirt as others have suggested.
    Those pants are stylish and edgy, but not flattering.
    We have to be honest with each other.
    I dislike the cropped pants on myself and other women of our age.
    Maybe they’d work with flats and a tunic top, but not as pictured.

    You have posted so many flattering photos but this outfit needs to go back to the drawing board. 🙂

  22. I like all the pieces and wish the cardigan (for the purposes of this outfit) were a jacket, providing a better balance of the size of the pearls and the shoes. As much as I like the texture of look of the cardigan, the balance seems off to me.
    I love this blog! Thank you!

  23. I think you are being too hard on yourself and some of the commenters here are too, I like this look! If you want to change it up a bit so YOU like it better I think you are right, go with some edgy boots and see what happens. But seriously, a lace-paneled cardigan and black and funky pearls and pink pumps–remind me again what’s not to love?!? XO, Jill

  24. I think we are too hard on ourselves, but I always think my outfits are better in theory than when I see them in pictures after the fact. But I start picking on my body more than the clothes/outfit. You look great. I think it’s hard to pull off bright shoes with a neutral outfit, but you are doing it. I would give it a try with ankle boots and see which you like better.

  25. You have very high standards indeed if this is considered “meh”! Of course I have “meh” (and much worse) outfits when I preconfigure them in my head. Sometimes I force myself to wear them out anyway as a weird form of punishment, like it will improve my preplanning skills. (Nope)

  26. Susan, I think you look stunning. I like everything you’ve put together….but I wonder how the sweater would look over a black tank with thinner straps, with the sleeves pushed up.We’d see more skin (decolletage is optional) and the pearls would glow.Love your lipstick…have you already shared the shade?I look forward to your posts.