How To Let It All Hang Out

I’m leafing through yet another fashion/style book, The Wardrobe Wake-Up, by Lois Joy Johnson. It’s a fun read, with lots of photos. It’s a little heavy on style “rules” for my taste, e.g. the right-and-wrong lengths for jeans, and a thumbs-down on long skirts (don’t touch my midis and maxis, rules-ladies).

But like any guide, I look for the useful ideas and leave the rest behind. I especially appreciated Ms. Johnson’s description of “letting it all hang out.” “Imperfection is important,” she writes. She offers the following techniques to loosen up our style:

  • Don’t button shirts to the top. Unless of course you like them that way. I always leave mine unbuttoned to make a V-neck.
  • You don’t have to tuck perfectly. Ms. Johnson is a fan of the half-tuck, but I look sloppy when I try it. I do like to leave everything un-tucked, though. Here are some cool half-tucks via
  • Roll your cuffs casually – both your shirts and your jeans. No need to fuss over them.

And some of my own ideas for letting it hang loose:

  • Mix your colors, and even your prints!
  • Push up blazer sleeves to the elbow.
Even a dressy blazer can be made “looser” by pushing up the sleeves. Via Nordstrom.
  • Just tie your skinny belt, instead of buckling it.
  • Let a colorful camisole show at your neckline.
  • Wear an over-sized watch or cuff.
I like a chunky watch with a feminine dress or skirt outfit. Vince Camuto.
  • Toss a denim shirt over  just about anything. I like to wear one over a floral dress.

Some women do embrace a polished style and look fabulous – Annette and Angie come to mind. We aim to dress in ways that feel authentic, and the “imperfect” look is more my style. Maybe because of my inherently messy hair? ٩(^‿^)۶

Do you let it all hang out? I’d love to hear your ideas about dressing “imperfectly.”

Have a delightful Thursday, and stay fabulous,


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  1. I most definitely fall into the "let it all hang out" category, well, at least I tend to let something hang out most every day. Be it sleeved rolled, pant legs rolled, shirts half tucked, I also love oversize watches and messy hair. Very fun post, cute lady.

  2. "Perfect" makes me nervous. I like things a little messy–shirt out, sleeves pushed up, different lengths, mismatched prints, etc.

  3. I like the half-tuck that's shown in your carousel ads more than the ones in fabsugar. Both tails tucked into the front and then blousing out around the sides and back. I gives the impression of a waist and skims the tummy.

  4. I don't wear too many button-up shirts but that half-tucked thing doesn't appeal to me. It has the look of something that is supposed to appear casual but is done so much that it looks like an affectation (or like we used to say when I was a teenager, "affected". As in "don't do that, you look affected!"). Or just awkward, especially on me! I've tried it and just feel like a dork. 🙂 As for the rest, the fewer rules the better – goes with my unRULE-y hair. I like your approach, Patti. Follow the rules, unless you don't want to.

  5. I,m in the do what feels right for you camp , for me that can change on a daily basis.Sometimes ladylike put together, other days not so. Its about making the most of our best bits and disguising the other bits.

  6. I feel really uncomfortable in my own skin when everything is too perfect. I think lots of other people look adorable with everything 'just so'.

  7. Hmm… interesting thought. I think I'm more 'done than undone'. Although, I do vary the number of buttons done up on cardigans depending on what suits the outfit and that particular cardigan. I can't be doing with shirts at all, or blazers, generally. I'm more tailored on the bottom half, soft on the top. And my hairstyle is messy and ruffled, so that's something.

  8. My eye is loving a large watch these days, though I don't have one. Blogging has helped me change in many ways, and trying on new ideas is one of them. Never boring! Great post Patti!

  9. I'm definitely on the imperfect side. It's impossible for me to look traditionally "put together". I move around too much or something.

  10. I've always wanted to be a bit more polished, and I do make an effort, with formfitting (but comfortable) clothes and nice accessories. But my downfall is always my hair… Like you, Patti, I have a naturally curly hair which seems to have a mind of its own. Oh, how I envy all those ladies with nice, neat hairdoes!

  11. I don't really know about this… I think I am probably quite a "done" person, but I don't make a conscious effort to be so, and my style is not formal or smart. Like Suzanne, I tuck in to define my waist and not look shapeless, I don't really do loose layers, but I am casual in my use of accessories. I think it's all about what works for you and your individual style. There is nothing more amusing than a studiously casual look, which someone has obviously put a lot of effort into, despite their attempt to look relaxed and artless. xxx

  12. I like to have a collar buttoned ALL THE WAY UP. Especially if it makes me look priggish. I like YOUR unrules Patti.

  13. This is interesting. Maybe why I'm always drawn to ripped jeans. I also love to roll my sleeves on jackets and shirts.

    When it comes to tucking though I'm a big tucker. Otherwise I lose my waist and can look like I am carrying twins.

    Lately though I'm becoming a little more relaxed with the whole defined waist thing. It's baby steps (or baby untucks) for me though : )


  14. I'm a sleeve pusher upper. I never tuck or button to th top eith r r!!!

  15. I feel too "done" if everything's in place. I'm a sleeve roller especially.

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