If at first you don’t succeed…

If at first you don’t succeed…

It’s my fourth week of participating in Visible Monday and boy, am I learning lots about what does and does not look flattering on me. Over the weekend, I came to realize there are some real benefits to taking photos of myself in outfits.

Here’s a small tale about trying and trying again; about how I didn’t let a few unflattering clothing choices get the better of me. I stayed the course, just like The Little Engine that Could, until I figured out how to make my new wardrobe addition work.

Said new wardrobe addition is this vest from H & M. I bought it last month for $25.00. It’s lined, it’s fitted, and it’s simple; everything I look for in a vest.

On Friday, I decided to wear it to Sonoma to go to lunch and truck shopping with my husband, Bill. I paired it with a white button down shirt, layers of pearl and faux gold necklaces,  J. Crew straight leg jeans, leather braided belt with gold buckle from Talbots, Kate Spade leopard bag, and old Cole Haan granny boots. 

Prior to seeing this photo, I thought I looked pretty darn cute. But when I noticed the white triangle of fabric appearing above my waist, I knew the vest was too short for my long waist to wear a tucked in white shirt.

Back to the fashion drawing board.

Saturday, we tackled truck shopping again. All day. I went for the untucked, shirt-hanging-out look with a ruffled top (that I also wore here) and dark wash Victoria Secret jeans. I carried a Kenneth Cole studded leather bag, wore black ballet flats and lots of silver bangles.

The problem with this outfit is the untucked portion of the white blouse. Not only is it distracting, it creates a wide band around my hips and waist. Not flattering for my wide hips. I could have tucked the top in, but I would have ended up with the triangle again, just like Friday’s ensemble.

I still wasn’t ready to give up on my vest. Sunday, I wore it again, for the third time in a row. Bill and I took the new truck* for a spin to visit Bill’s dad.

I thought a black top with the vest might be the way to go after my attempts with white. I paired it with a simple black H & M long-sleeved top, Banana Republic trouser jeans, sensible black booties, military coat from ZARA, gold layered necklaces, Talbots belt, and Louis Vuitton Beverly GM.

In my opinion, this outfit is the best of the three. I am not crazy about my jeans and think they need to be donated, but the rest of the look is okay; better than the others.

Wearing the vest for three days straight and photographing each look allowed me to figure out how to wear it in the most flattering way for me.

Have you changed the way you wear something
after seeing yourself in a photo?
Do tell!
I’d love to hear your experience.

*Mission accomplished on the truck. We found one for Bill that he loves and I love, too. And as an added bonus, it has a bench seat so we can sit close to each other 🙂  



  1. December 4, 2011 / 8:00 pm

    I think you look great in all of the outfits…but like we all do, you look at yourself with a more critical eye than we do. I should try doing the same thing…I have seen pics of myself in certain things and pitched them immediately!

  2. December 4, 2011 / 8:20 pm

    Honestly, I didn’t find anything really wrong with the second outfit. As for the first one, it was after you mentioned it that I noticed the little ‘triangle’ :-). Otherwise, I liked it along with the others!! Those long necklaces are really working for you!

  3. December 4, 2011 / 8:25 pm

    I think #3 is the best but #2 is cute too…I love short over long. ~~Bliss

  4. December 4, 2011 / 8:38 pm

    Hi Adrienne,

    I purchased the identical vest @ H&M about 4 years ago and still get compliments on it. I do wear black under mine a lot (also with a layered necklace) 🙂 but recently tried a different color and wore the vest open for a change.

    While I agree that outfit #2 is not the most flattering, #1 & #3 are a definite yes!


  5. December 4, 2011 / 8:40 pm

    For years I wore smocks aftetr seeing a photo of self where looked preggers and definitely wasn’t!!

    Love the vest.

    You hair looks fab.

    I’m doing a give away on the blog if you are keen xxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. December 4, 2011 / 9:01 pm

    @Suburban Princess Thank you…I think I look “okay” in the first two, but not as great as I thought I did. It’s interesting how the camera tells such a different story from the mirror.
    I think my jeans in the last photo need to go for sure. They look even more dreadful from behind. Yikes!

  7. December 4, 2011 / 9:14 pm

    @beingFab I googled something like, “how to wear a vest” and realized that no one had that same triangle. With my advanced height, I have problems finding things long enough. I figured this mostly meant pants and shirts, but I guess it extends to vests too!

    I really can’t get enough of long and short layered necklaces. They really can spice up an otherwise dull outfits.

  8. December 4, 2011 / 9:17 pm

    @steppingmywaytobliss I liked #2 in the mirror, but didn’t like it in the photo. Maybe if it wasn’t a white shirt but grey or winter white I would like it more. The white just stands out too much for my liking.
    I think #3 is best, too. xo

  9. December 4, 2011 / 9:20 pm

    @LRS4AMANDA Oh! How funny! Next time we see each other we should wear our vests 🙂

    I tried it open and think that may work, too. I need to play with it more, though.

    I had a vest I bought in college and wore that thing out! I used to wear it sleeveless, back in my 20’s, with just a tank top and jeans. It was really cute that way, but it would be tacky on me now. Plus, my arms aren’t what they used to be 🙁 xoxo, A

  10. December 4, 2011 / 9:22 pm

    @Faux Fuchsia I wouldn’t miss your give away for anything! I will be right over. xoxo, A

  11. December 4, 2011 / 10:24 pm

    The black shirt under the vest is definitely the way to go, and I bet a black button-down would look fantastic too 🙂

  12. December 4, 2011 / 11:43 pm

    You do look fabulous in all 3 options. My favourite is #1 – love the black on white.

  13. December 5, 2011 / 12:12 am

    I agree Adrienne, the black outfit is FABULOUS!

  14. December 5, 2011 / 3:57 am

    I’m beginning to think that you have a very big closet. 🙂 And that the Louis Beverly just needs to come to North Carolina. It would feel special here and worn daily, and wouldn’t have to compete with Kate Spade. 🙂

    I do like the black with black. Leigh

  15. December 5, 2011 / 4:49 am

    Love the Zara coat ….

    xo —

  16. December 5, 2011 / 4:53 am

    They all look good to me, but over white, I’d wear the vest open. Love a vest over a shirt with thin vertical stripes too. J.Crew straight leg jeans are my favorites – I wear them all the time, and never understood why no one ever mentioned them. Do you like yours? They seem more like real jeans to me.

  17. December 5, 2011 / 5:17 am

    We are all our own worst enemies when it comes to being critical. I think you look great in all your photo’s and don’t need to confine yourself to dark tops with your vest. Also, there is a vast difference ( at least a few inches) between wide hips and womanly curves, and you have the curves so go ahead and flaunt them.


  18. December 5, 2011 / 5:31 am

    You look fab in all three!#1-proper, #2-playful, and #3-sexy!

  19. December 5, 2011 / 6:45 am

    All 3 outfits look fabulous!! The vest is definitely an investment piece. Love the long necklaces, you are rocking them!

    YES!! I have stopped wearing certain clothes after seeing photos, that were not flattering. Happy Monday..xo HHL

  20. December 5, 2011 / 6:49 am

    I love that you experiment with your outfits, and tweak them till you love the look – I like all the outfits, but agree that black-on-black is the best!

    Thanks so much for linking up to Visible Monday : >

  21. December 5, 2011 / 6:52 am

    I thought you looked lovely in all three. I applaud you your efforts also. I hate having my photo taken and I’m sure if I did see some of my mistakes, I would go into permanent hibernation, never to be seen again 😉

  22. December 5, 2011 / 8:11 am

    Adrienne I do love it with the black. I have trouble getting blouse/shirts to look good, tucking/ not tucked etc!

    Please Come and enter in My 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways. There are so many exciting & special Gifts! Tis the Season!


    Art by Karena

  23. December 5, 2011 / 8:14 am

    Without question, the third choice is the most flattering because of simple geometry: the unbreakable line. The point of the vest is to nip in your waist and highlight the hourglass figure; wearing a fluffy white shirt fights against the corset effect of the vest. So, a simple black t-shirt that makes your limbs look long and lean, paired with a black vest that is really a corset, makes you look tiny and curvy at the same time. You could pair the t-shirt/vest combination with a black pencil skirt and knee-high boots with the same effect.

  24. December 5, 2011 / 8:50 am

    Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn from a camera? I swear it is one of the best tricks for learning to refine your style! Btw, I so wish I had your long beautiful legs! Still trying to figure out how to balance my short legs! LOL!

  25. December 5, 2011 / 9:15 am

    @Sara Louise I know – a black button down would be great to wear with the vest. I had one but got rid of it because it was too big. I need to find another. I love black button downs. They look so classic with jeans.

  26. December 5, 2011 / 9:17 am

    @Fiona Thank you, Fiona! I think the black on black is the least distracting and therefore, the best option.

  27. December 5, 2011 / 9:26 am

    @Hines-Sight I really don’t have a big wardrobe. I think I just wear more of it than most people wear of theirs. The normal ratio of wear-all-the-time clothes to rarely-wear clothes is 20/80 meaning most people only really wear 20% of what’s in their closet. I am probably more like 60/40, wearing 60% of what’s in my closet on a regular basis. I also hold on to things I like for a very long time and am quick to ditch my mistakes.

    I adore my LV Beverly. Not only is it exquisitely beautiful, but Bill bought it for me on my birthday last year in Paris. Quite a memorable birthday that was.

    Black on black is the best look, I think. I am going to see about finding a longer vest at one of those tall women websites because I really do like the white shirt look, too.

  28. December 5, 2011 / 10:04 am

    You are so funny…we are our own worst enemies…I know how you feel, because I do this all the time and my friends will say “Now, why didn’t you use that photo??” You look amazing in all of these outfits…not using the top for the triangel made my laugh! I wish I had your body type…there are few things you won’t look great in!

  29. December 5, 2011 / 10:37 am

    @kathy peck Thanks, Kathy! I will try wearing it open, but I like the way it fits my waist when it’s closed (read: it makes me look slimmer :))
    Wearing it open certainly would do away with the need to keep my undershirt black.

    I like my J Crew jeans, but they bag easily in the rear. I can’t complain about them too much. They do have a long inseam – a constant issue with me – and they were only $30 on sale! Plus, they are made well.

  30. December 5, 2011 / 10:40 am

    @Gracie’s Mom Well thank you, Cindy. I do need to start referring to my hips as “curves”. They serve me well and I need to honor them, not complain about them.

  31. December 5, 2011 / 10:43 am

    @High Heeled Life Photos usually tell the truth better than a mirror – unless they’ve been manipulated. It’s a great tool for learning how to dress for your shape.
    Happy Monday to you, too! xoxo, A

  32. December 5, 2011 / 10:45 am

    @Patti @ NotDeadYet Style I don’t normally wear the same item of clothing everyday but I wanted to experiment until I felt I got it right. If I had given up on Friday, it would have sat in my closet for ages, just collecting dust.

    I am a committed participant in Visible Monday. I’ll be there again next week! xo

  33. December 5, 2011 / 10:52 am

    @Vanessa@Luxuria The more I have pictures taken of myself, the easier it gets. I quickly delete the awful ones so I don’t have to look at them. It’s a great way to assess your look if you’re looking for such a tool.

  34. December 5, 2011 / 10:59 am

    Following you back with great pleasure.
    I do hope we become good blogger friends.

  35. December 5, 2011 / 1:07 pm

    This is my first time reading your blog and I have to say I am super impressed with your resolve to get the vest to work. #3 looks perfect.

  36. December 5, 2011 / 3:58 pm

    @Karena Thanks for the reminder Karina. I will be right over!

  37. December 5, 2011 / 4:01 pm

    @Rebekah I agree with you 100%. Too bad it took me all weekend and then some to figure this out – at least I did finally figure it out.
    I think your pencil skirt and knee-high boots is a grand idea. I just bought some subtle patterned stocking to add a bit of interest, too. Thanks for the brilliant idea. xo

  38. December 5, 2011 / 4:08 pm

    @~ B. The camera is an excellent tool for someone trying to create the most flattering look for their shape, age, size, and style. It’s not always fun to have your photo taken, but it really is the best way to see what’s really going on with your look.

  39. December 5, 2011 / 4:09 pm

    @sacramento Thank you for the follow back! I hope we become good blogger friends, too. xo

  40. December 5, 2011 / 4:11 pm

    @ncostyle Welcome and thanks for leaving a comment. I was bound and determined not to let that vest hang in my closet for years. I wonder what other items I have in my closet that could use some time in front of the camera?

  41. December 5, 2011 / 4:36 pm

    I think you are being Way-too-critical of yourself! Of course, go with what makes you most comfortable, but I like all the outfits and I dont mind the white triangle or the white band of blouse at all! That is the look. the black takes away from the vest, I think! but you still look great~

  42. December 6, 2011 / 2:41 am

    You are too self-critical! But I guess we’re all guilty of that. You look fabulous.

    TDM xx

  43. December 6, 2011 / 6:44 am

    same vest but so many chic looks. Nice remix with the vest. You’re always so stylish and classy. Great style!


  44. December 7, 2011 / 5:24 am

    Oh yes, I’ve been horrified by some of my past pics!
    I no longer wear short skirts, my legs are far too thin in comparison to the rest of my body and short skirts just make me look anorexic.

  45. December 7, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    I agree the third outfit looks best but I don’t think you need to worry at all about emphasizing your hips.

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