Does It Matter Whether We Can “Pull Something Off” Or Not?

Does It Matter Whether We Can "Pull Something Off" Or Not? | Not Dressed As Lamb

Something I’ve seen a lot in my social media channels and blog comments recently is the expression “I couldn’t pull it off” – usually preceded by “I love it, but”…

It got me thinking about what “being able to pull it off” actually means. Does it mean being the right age to wear something? Having the right figure? The right hairstyle? Or does it just mean someone isn’t confident enough to wear it?

It’s probably all those things to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual, but have you ever heard yourself saying it? (I’m pretty sure I’ve said it to myself in the past.) And does it really matter whether we can “pull it off” – or not?

Something I’ve always been very keen to do with the blog is to make this a place that encourages women to experiment and not be afraid to wear whatever they damn well like. (And at least one man too, judging by the lovely email I received from a male reader who’s had the courage to wear his beloved leather trousers and not be bothered about what others may think!)


What’s stopping us have the confidence to wear what we like

With so many of these online lists about what women over 30/40/whatever age can’t wear still popping up (mostly as clickbait, I’m sure), it’s more important now than ever before that we get the message of #iwillwearwhatilike out there. Women who dress without the fear of “What will others think” are championing the way of freedom of choice for us all.

But my heart sinks just a little when I hear/read that expression “I love it, but I couldn’t possibly pull it off”… What does it mean? Are they too afraid to try because of what others may think? Because they don’t think they’re young/pretty/blonde/thin enough to wear it?

It’s different if you love it but know it won’t suit you or flatter a certain part of you – when something makes you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable that’s a whole other thing because you won’t feel good wearing it. I’m talking about loving something and feeling great in it, but falling back on the “can’t pull it off” excuse for not having the balls to go for it.

Does It Matter Whether We Can "Pull Something Off" Or Not? | Not Dressed As Lamb
As mentioned in my outfit post yesterday (where I threw on a very-likely-to-mismatch shearling gilet over my smart Winser coatigan), I wasn’t all that bothered about whether it worked and simply went for warmth. I’m sure many people looked at that gilet and thought I couldn’t pull it off because it didn’t match the rest of my outfit, or I shouldn’t be wearing it at my age, or I’m not thin enough to wear such a bulky item… Who cares? It’s all subjective.


If you’re telling yourself you can’t pull it off…

The next time you’re thinking you love something but “couldn’t pull it off”, stop and remember this: Who says you can’t? You’re telling yourself you can’t – it doesn’t really mean anything apart from you thinking you’re not good enough in some way. No one else is telling you that (and if they do tell you, you know what to say to them, don’t you). You ARE good enough for it because you LIKE it. That’s all the reason you need.

RELATED  How I Like to Layer For Warmth AND For Style in Autumn/Winter

The only person who can make changes or take risks in what you wear is you – YOU have the power. What’s the worst that could happen?!

Like I always say, It’s only clothes…!

So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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  1. 15 February 2017 / 11:38 pm

    I love the message of this post. We should not be afraid to experiment with our look and wear what makes us happy. #brillblogposts

  2. 14 February 2017 / 11:03 am

    I wrote quite a long response yesterday, but somehow WordPress ate it before it got posted! Anyway, I wanted to say thank you – your post and comments from others have really helped me. Lately I've been feeling that I'm much too old (at 47!) to wear the clothes I love – which admittedly are on the quirky, colourful, youthful side – and that perhaps I should just stick to safe jeans and jumpers in neutral shades, for fear of looking foolish. But, no, I need to find the confidence to carry on wearing what makes me happy, even if everyone else thinks I should be wearing something more staid, or risk losing myself. Since I've only just found my style, I'm really not ready to give up on it yet!

  3. 14 February 2017 / 10:23 am

    I love this post! I'm feeling very inspired 😀 I love this outfit, you really suit it 😀


  4. 13 February 2017 / 7:00 pm

    If I've learned anything over the years when it comes to clothes (or just about anything for that matter) it's to never say never. The real fun begins just outside of your comfort zone 😉

    Emma xxx

  5. 13 February 2017 / 4:38 pm

    I love this! Thank you for reaffirming that we should stopping questioning ourselves and wear what makes us happy! And no one does that better than you.

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  6. 13 February 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Totally love this attitude.

    I started wearing what the hell I like not when I developed the confidence to not care about what other people think but when I came to the realisation/ conclusion no one cares or probably even notices what I wear. Beyond my 10 year old daughter of course and embarrassing her is just part of the fun!

  7. 13 February 2017 / 12:59 am

    Great post and your message is so true. No garment or outfit is going to look the same on any two people but that doesn't is doesn't look good on both. It's my opinion that any look or style can be adapted for anyone and then it's a matter of personal choice as to whether it fits into your life style.


  8. 12 February 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Once upon a time, I loved to try different color combinations and was told that my dressing style was "unique" in a way that didn't appear to be complimentary. Over the years, I've move to a more conservative style of dress. However, reading the different blogs by women over 40, 50 and beyond, has given me so much inspiration. I've decided to stop living by these arbitrary rules of fashion and go back to the way I used to be.

    Thanks for your inspiration!
    christal @

  9. 12 February 2017 / 12:21 pm

    Blimey I hadn't thought about it but now that you say it…I have read the phrase a lot lately too (scratches head) & I couldn't agree more with your post today. I really have nothing to add except Bravo you for making the point! xxx

  10. 12 February 2017 / 3:13 am

    The very moment I don't feel good in something, it gets put in the give-away-bin. For example, I bought these super cute runners covered in emojis. Usually, I'd love them. I just wasn't feelin' it and I've only worn them twice. This last Monday when I wore them and felt like goof ball all day, I got home and put them in the bin. I will pull off what I wear–it's the other way around for me. And if I don't feel good in it, it promptly is given away! Perhaps I need to be better about purchasing in the first place–which is something for me to work on. But, for example it happened with another item this last week: I have this beautiful cashmere poncho as seen here. It's quite pretty, but, I didn't like wearing it all day–even if it was liked. It too has been put in the give-away bin. Just because I liked it seven years ago means I like it today. No reason to hold on to it, right?!

    Luckily for me, on March 5th I'm participating in a swap. Both the runners and poncho will be for sale. Maybe they'll be a treasure to someone else.

    Let's all make sure to only wear what we feel absolutely rockin' awesome in!!

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

  11. 12 February 2017 / 12:47 am

    You make a lot of sense, Catherine (as always). That said, it's's always hard to break down a conviction, isn't it? Just today, at one of the shows, I saw this gorgeous pair of pants and immediately dismissed the notion, thinking that my 5ft nothing height couldn't possibly pull of a pair of lace bell bottoms with ankle fringe trims GRIN where ought I draw the lines though? Buy the thing, end up not liking how it looks on me anyway, and wasting the money? Or not taking the plunge, and remain within my comfort zone?

  12. 11 February 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I was so afraid of leather leggings look. I said I try it once. Best thing I ever did. Love wearing them now.

  13. 11 February 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Nail Meet Head….
    Perfectly put Catherine!
    This is why I love your style…….
    According to the rule book (especially re. Shape) you shouldn't be wearing half the things you do.
    An easy example is Larger boobs and turtle necks.
    I could go on and on ….
    Everytime you wear something it makes perfect sense.
    Whatever the shape or colour combination.
    You MAKE it work because you BELIEVE it works.
    Confidence breeds style.
    I am all for women wearing exactly what they love and believing they can "pull it off"… you and roll necks or me and highwaisted skirts.
    The "rules" say no, but we say "Why the hell not?"
    Pulling off a look is not about size, age or anything physical.
    It's all in the attitude.
    And if more of us are saying "Yes you Can!!!" then maybe more women will believe it and start to have more fun with fashion.
    We can ALL pull off whatever we want!
    A brilliant post Catherine….thank you.
    Fake Fabulous | Style and fashion, over 40

    • 18 February 2017 / 2:03 pm

      I completely agree about throwing out the rule book when it comes to "dressing your shape", Samantha… I wouldn't wear half the things I do and wear more stuff I shouldn't if I were to follow all the "rules" where my shape is concerned. That's why I always say personality is so much more important when it comes to dressing than shape.

      As you say, saying "Yes you can" to others is what it's all about – encouragement, not judgement (we see too much of that don't we)!

      thank you for such a lovely comment xx

  14. 11 February 2017 / 4:11 pm

    I have been guilty of using that horrible phrase myself on numerous occasions and I have to say that I'm delighted you've written this post, Catherine. It's really made me think. And I reckon from now on, I'm going to start sticking up two fingers to the devil on my shoulder that says it to me! Watch this space 😉
    Hugs, and thanks for the encouragement!
    Suzy xx

    • 18 February 2017 / 2:00 pm

      Oh that's good to hear that the naysayer on your shoulder is going to get two fingers, Suzy!!!! 😉 thanks sweetie x

  15. 11 February 2017 / 2:56 pm

    I agree, I always say the worst that can happen is you try it and think 'nah!' but you'll never know unless you step out of your comfort zone! Yvadney x

  16. 11 February 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Very wise words.

  17. 11 February 2017 / 8:09 am

    I often dress a little bit down for a casual event. It has to do with my condition, I have a lung dissease and use oxygen. I don t want to stand out then. However, when I am visiting Friends of family ,I dress more adventures! Stupid isn t it! Also when I am in the wheelchair I dont dress stylish! And I hate that I dont do that!

    • 18 February 2017 / 1:59 pm

      I can understand about not wanting to stand out in those situations, Nancy… We all feel different at different times. As long as you're dressing up when it feels right for you then that's all that matters! Much love to you x

  18. 11 February 2017 / 3:07 am

    Good points, Catherine! I think it's really important that we wear things we feel good and confident in. But if we like something, we really shouldn't care about what others think about it. There are so many really silly rules out there, and I think they often get subconsciously stuck in our heads…

    I love your outfit. I owned pants in that color many, many years ago. You make me miss them. Looking fantastic!

  19. 10 February 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Just yesterday while perusing the Laura Mercier make up counter the young assistant was keen to show me their new eye shadow compact. Looking down upon a navy, black and charcoal dark mass I found myself saying to the assistant "I think I'm a little too old for those colours".
    I turn 50 this year, but I'm scared of looking like Gene Simmonds.

  20. 10 February 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I really need to do more colour mixing! I don't mind trying new things though, it's just my height that gets in the way (Actually thinking about that comment is a poor excuse!) Thank you for hosting. And congratulations on the Exeter nomination xx

    • 10 February 2017 / 9:09 pm

      P.S. thank you re. the nomination – it was the UK Blog Awards nomination (national), it was just featured in my local publication (Exeter)…!

    • 10 February 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Oh, Well Iv'e got my fingers crossed for you x

  21. 10 February 2017 / 8:45 pm

    I looooooove this post! My safest looks are the ones people like the least. When I really push the boat out and wear something even *I* feel a little crazy in, it always gets the best response. I fully embrace your #iwillwearwhatilike ethos, and I totally enjoy seeing just how far over the bonkers edge I can go with style.

    PS: those shoes are so perfect for you and your wardrobe; they must have been made 'specially for you. Looking gorgeous, lovely, and brava for such a fabulous post. xxx

  22. 10 February 2017 / 8:25 pm

    I think this is the best lesson ever, Catherine! Because it is only clothing, and we should really experiment and have fun!
    I've even started featuring my husband at times on the blog….because it's no different for men. They should look good and have fun too!!

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