Piggybacking off Suz: What are your surprise "WILD horses" this season?

If you have a better term for the opposite of a wardrobe workhorse, please feel free! lol 

After reading and answering Suz's post on unexpected workhorses in our wardrobes, I got to thinking: what items didn't work out? What new things do I put on and struggle with over and over, like I'm beating a dead horse? 

For me:

  • The Kooples plain white shirt. I thought it'd be the perfect, slightly oversized fit, but the sleeves are too wide and the mandarin collar isn't basic enough for me. 
  • Ella Moss moto jacket. I do LOVE this jacket! But it's not quite as fitted as I like, so it feels more casual and is harder to build a dressy work outfit around. Only worn a couple times this season. 
  • Silky trousers. I was so hot for these last summer, but either I've moved on or the job has changed me. My customer base is pretty horrified by baggy bottoms. 

So over to you? Did you buy anything expecting a workhorse and find you didn't use it that much after all?

EDIT: Thanks to Vicki for coming up with "wild horses" as the inverse of "work horses"! The wild horse fights you and refuses to fall in line, while the workhorse is reliable every time. Perfect analogy!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Thistle replied 4 years ago

    I was (and still am!) in need of toppers. I bought a lovely black velvet one from WHBM. It was fitted, lovely, with a hint of feminine Steampunk. It still has the tags attached. :(

  • Peri replied 4 years ago

    A green silk sleeveless top from BR. Loved it, loved the color...wore it few times under a sweater with a black cami in the spring.

    Summer...not working. Can't work out the cami color and it is too sheer to wear without one. And feels too hot with one. I think it was not a useful purchase at all.

  • Gaylene replied 4 years ago

    A white, soft, cotton "boyfriend" shirt and my rolled, olive-green, Gap slouchy straight pants. I loved the concept and did manage to find a way to make those two items work using Angie's tips, but, honestly, I just don't feel fab if I wear either of them outside the house. At my age and on my body, the outfit just looks dowdy when I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window or random mirror.

    I think the pants will get turned into shorts and the shirt will transitioned into a bathing suit cover-up. It was an interesting experiment, though, because it taught me that I feel better in more structured, bolder looks. Casual, slouchy, soft, and muted just aren't part of my style descriptors, I guess.

  • DonnaF replied 4 years ago

    A roll sleeve cropped printed Halogen jacket.  Maybe the weather hasn't been quite warm enough yet.  I'm also thinking that maybe I should have tried it in a Regular XS as the PS is slightly big.  I'm not giving up on it yet, tho'!

    I have come to realize that if I only wear one outfit per day, that may not give the opportunity to wear a single item dozens of times in a month!

  • deb replied 4 years ago

    The metallic ivanka shoes just did not work for me. I am not a Bing person and I think they were too blingy for me. I am going to pass them on.

  • Mia replied 4 years ago

    I just reviewed my list of Spring acquisitions and I actually did quite well.  

    There are two tops that have not been worn but I am putting it down to the cooler than normal weather.  Same for the sleeveless A-line dress worn only once so far.    I am a bit worried whether it will be worth the investment as it is hard to dress down and the absolute limit for "shortness" for me personally.
    I must go on team wear and put this dress on when it's a hot day whether it is an occasion or not right?  

  • missvee replied 4 years ago

    Ok, where to start...a pair of ikat printed ankle length pants. Fit and comfort are both great, but oh my goodness it's a lot of print across my caboose.
    Second flop...2 slouchy tops which shrunk miserably when washed according to the directions on the hang tag. Lesson learned here: don't buy rayon sweaters.
    Third iffy purchase...a pair of bright tomato red ankle pants. Do I need to say anything more?

  • always trying replied 4 years ago

    A peach color rolled sleeve tunic.  So far I have worn it once, and may not ever wear it again. It feels real soft, but wrinkles too  much.  But why I don't like it is it is just too full,,just too much fabric, and a bit too long.  Wish I had taken it back, but I tried it on with my new white jeans and liked it then.  after one wearing things changed.

  • nancylee replied 4 years ago

    Sadly, my slouchy tees from Three Dots have mostly gone unworn so far this season.  I think two things are at work here:  1)  they just feel too casual and young/trendy for my style, and 2) the polyester is just too darn hot for my mid-life hot flash-plagued life.  

    I may have to offer them up on Style Exchange.  :(

  • Mia replied 4 years ago

    Missvee, why were the pants a bust?

    I bought a pair of bright tomato red ankle pants (on sale) thinking I'd never wear them and they totally surprised me.  I wear them with a chambray shirt or striped breton top for casual, a silky tee for smart casual and I wore them with a blazer and heels on our recent cruise.  Funny how these things go.  
    I really had to force myself to wear them at first.

  • replied 4 years ago

    I bought 2 white blazers, one 3/4 sleeve poly blend and one full sleeve linen... I chased all over to find them and every time I put one on, I feel like the ice cream man ... Thoroughly disappointed but we havent had super warm weather yet either

  • Mo replied 4 years ago

    I'm not sure I struggle over it, but rather it is a dressier item than my day to day.  The chiffon jacket in my profile picture has only been worn once.  I love it, but the zipper can easily get caught in the very delicate fabric, and my 'dressy' occasions have dwindled in direct ratio to my workload increase :)  
    Interesting that even my DVF wrap dress which I would have guessed I'd 'save', true to form, has been worn more!  hunh

  • Suz replied 4 years ago

    I love this thread, too -- it is so useful to think about the reasons our things go unworn. 

    So far, most of my unworn or little worn spring/summer purchases are casualties of the cooler than usual weather, and I fully expect and intend to wear them as soon as warmer temperatures arrive. That list  includes one sleeveless top, a tee shirt or two, and my new shorts. Not too bad, really. 

    My only genuine dead horse item is my sage green Gap broken in khakis. I've worn them maybe once. They just don't appeal to me a whole lot. I can't say why. Maybe it's simply that I like my various jeans so much better! All is not lost, though. First of all, I got them on massive sale. And I have a feeling I'll enjoy them a whole lot more as BF shorts, which is what they may become before summer ends. 

    Another possible dead horse in the making -- my Clarks metallic wedges. I got them at a super bargain. (Hmmm. Are you seeing a pattern here? SALE BLINDERS!!!) And they seemed good at first. Lightweight. Comfy footbed. Pale almost nude metallic. Etc. But they don't fit me properly (too big) and they feel a bit clunky and they just aren't quite what I was wanting. I may have to offer them up on the exchange.

    Also, Rae, I have to reluctantly high five you and confess that I haven't worn my Leith pants a whole lot.  They have come out to play a few times, but I tend to consider them and put them back a lot more often than I actually wear them. Again, they might get more play later in the season. They're quite lightweight and it has felt too cool for them a lot of the time. But I'm watching this development with interest. 

  • lyn* replied 4 years ago

    My short fit and flare skirts (anything under 37") - rarely getting worn. Makes me (and my moneys) sad. :(

  • Ariadne replied 4 years ago

    My Leith pants are the weak link so far, too.  I put them on at home and think they look great, but when I see myself in other mirrors out and about I think I look super dumpy.  It's a mystery. They've only come out to play three times so far and each time I went from feeling fab to frumpy by the end of the day.

  • Diana replied 4 years ago

    Well, not exactly dead horses since I'm sure I'll use them in the fall, but... My leather jackets have not gotten much use this spring. Mostly because it has so far alternated between Boiling Hot and Torrential Downpours, neither of which is conducive to leather jackets. At least my new turquoise one got worn during the honeymoon in CA...

  • rae replied 4 years ago

    First of all, I would like to congratulate the forum, because it seems like most of us have many surprise workhorses and only one or two dead horses each. Go, girls! And some of these have been experiments born of the sale rack - yay for minimizing losses, yes? 

    But what is up with the silky pants? I'd love to crack that nut... 

  • Marley replied 4 years ago

    My biggest flop (so far) has been a pair of BCBG flats - pointed toe (yeah!), very flat (boo!), dark nude color (yeah!), ankle strap (yeah!), goldish colored ankle strap (yeah!), silver back of shoe (yeah!) - but, here's the problem - the ankle strap hits me right across the protruding bone on my ankle (BOO!)  I just can't make them work - the super flatness, plus that darn ankle strap location - has been a deal-breaker for me.  Unfortunately, I bought them several months ago and then just pulled them out to wear a few weeks ago - and realized what a big mistake they were - but too late to return.

  • goldenpig replied 4 years ago

    Angie's lace bomber. It looks so fab on her and I keep thinking I should be able to make it work, but it's so tough for me to style. Maybe because the shape is so opposite of my typical demure bombshell fitted silhouette.

    Kate Spade contrast trim trench. I wear my black KS trench all the time but hardly ever reach for this one. Maybe because it's beige? I feel like I should wear this more but it doesn't seem to go with the rest of my color palette.

    I tried those Leith pants but I couldn't stand my "diaper butt" so I returned them! Plus they reminded me too much of the black Michael Jackson-esque parachute pants with tons of zippers that my mom wore in the 80's with a red jacket and red terrycloth headband.

  • Marley replied 4 years ago

    Oh - I need to add another to my list:  the white Con Hi-ness sneakers.  Yep - I'm just not feelin' them.  I think the problem is that I dress quite sporty/casual almost all of the time and when I add these shoes to the mix I feel like it takes me over the top into tooooooo much sporty/casual "stuff" all in one outfit.  Also, I feel really tween in them.  I think that I need to wear them with dressier clothes - but, I don't wear dressier clothes - so, they are just sitting there in my closet - looking very, very white and very, very lonely.

    P.S. - its been too cold for me to pull out my silky, baggy pants yet - but, I'm planning on wearing them alot once the weather gets warm.  (Hope that I still like them!)

  • Caro in Oz replied 4 years ago

    I've been trying to find different styles of tops. I bought x2 button downs shirts that haven't seen much wear yet - they aren't as versatile as my other shirts & tunics for some reason - I think it's the fabric & the length. 

  • Molly L-R replied 4 years ago

    What's coming through loud and clear on this thread is that our wardrobe "dead horses" are actually great opportunities for us to learn what we don't like and thereby refine our style personas.  Every cloud has a silver lining and all that. I think!

    Anyway, mine would be a short-sleeved coral pink H&M blouse bought off eBay to wear to work.  From the picture online I thought it would be more like the Pantone colour "koi" which would play nicely with the rest of my wardrobe.  However, when it turned up it was a lot brighter and pinker than I expected.  Still I wore it to work one morning and whilst I was getting dressed my fiancé remarked, "hmm, that's not one of your traditional colours, is it?"  (I've been wearing mainly autumnal colours for about a year now, so it's great that he notices when something's not in my colour palette).  Then when I got to work a colleague exclaimed how much he liked my bright pink shirt.  All day long I could tell it wasn't me, so it's in the donation bag now.  Incidentally, I was also wearing my yellow t-bar shoes that day which I've also put on probation and haven't worn now for about a month as I feel they're too bright as well.  "Bright" is not a good description of the colour scheme I'm going for.  "Warm"?  Yes.  But a slightly muted kind of warm.

    Incidentally, if the Pantone colour report photo included below is accurate, I may be doing a lot of buying this autumn/winter as those two colours are gorgeous!

  • Karie replied 4 years ago

    Great topic, Rae! Mine is a beautiful semi-sheer and lacy Alfani top that I stalked last fall until it went on sale, then I snatched it up. I've only worn it once! Problem #1 - it's too sheer and I run cold. It comes with a cami but the one time I wore it I wore a 3/4 sleeve tank under it for warmth. Problem #2 - I wore it to work (big mistake) and snagged it on my ID lanyard. It's not that noticeable, but still...

    It won't work for my summer activities either. Kayaking and campfires aren't really activities that call for lace tops *sigh*

    I couldn't copy the pic correctly so I copied the link:


  • Zapotee replied 4 years ago

    My Nexx shirts. I am not feeling them, at all. They were THE workhorses. Perhaps I got tired of them?
    Natalie, I don't wear My KS trench much either, but I bought it as a special occasions item.
    Also, in my return bag to nordies: Leith pants (not happening), the kut BF crops ( the fabric has too much stretch to fit loose, a pet peeve of mine), Sam edelman python booties ( the tip of the booties just does not work for me). All thought to be THE item of the season... booo... I have tried to style the three items ad nauseatum, they have never left the house.

  • Mona replied 4 years ago

    My only true dead horse so far is the taupe lace tunic that I bought in England last summer. It is made of lace and I run cold and with our coolish spring so far, I haven't even worn it once. I hope to wear it more in summer but I have a feeling that taupe is not my best colour.

  • cinnamon fern replied 4 years ago

    This is interesting.  The Leith pants are one of my 2013 mistakes too.  I don't really even know why I don't wear them ... perhaps I'll give them a try today.

    My other 2013 mistake is a soft pewter bag.  It's a consignment purchase, so not a lot of money, but I should know by now that consignment purchases are usually mistakes.  I am still thinking it might work with winter clothes, though.

  • La Belle Demimondaine replied 4 years ago

    Do those silky pants lose shape and bag in weird places as you wear them?    Usually I find when I grow increasingly unhappy with a piece that looked great when I put it on, it's because it starts to sag and bag and lose shape. 
    Then lo and behold, I launder the item and it magically springs back into place!

    Target and Topshop are on my 'no-fly' list for this reason. 

    I don't feel like I've got any 'dead horses', at least, not recently.  The stuff I'm not wearing, is because it got hot here, fast.    So I'll wait until fall and see where I am with certain pieces.    I do have a number of older closet orphans that I am working through.    I found this article recently, and it's really helped clarify my thinking, with regards to orphans...  http://www.alterationsneeded.c.....rades.html

  • Transcona Shannon replied 4 years ago

    Fab thread idea Rae. Just like the items that become workhorses, it always surprises me to find out what I don't wear.

    For me, it's been the portobello mushroom pencil skirt that Suz and I both have. I just find it a bit uncomfortably short although I didn't think so last summer. I now prefer my black and cobalt pencil skirts because they come to my knee, not above it.

    I also bought two v-neck layering tees from Gap (white and grey) which used to be essentials for me in the summer and I have worn the white one once and haven't worn the grey one at all. Not feeling the love for clingier tees these days.

  • bj1111 replied 4 years ago

    Interesting how workhorses can become dead horses over the season(s).

  • Karie replied 4 years ago

    It's so interesting to read everyone's replies. So many don't like the Leith pants. I love mine and wear them every chance I get! Admitedly, they are not easy to style, and as with all baggy pants, you have to surrender the butt view, but I think they are funky and chic.

    I think we need a silky baggy pants challenge!

  • shedev replied 4 years ago

    Mine are the Bed Stu boots. They are ink but look black so I'm not sure which clolr to pair them with.

  • Suz replied 4 years ago

    Great idea for a baggy pants challenge, Karie! You look sensational in yours, so it is no surprise you wear them often. 

    I don't have any problem with baggy butt. (I mean I don't care about it). And LaBelleDM, they do not bag out unattractively at the end of a day -- they are woven so they are actually incredibly ...what's the word...impermeable? No...that's not right, but what I mean is they retain their shape and they don't even wrinkle. BRILLIANT for travel!! (And I wore mine once on a short trip.) For me it has really been a question of the weather. They just aren't warm enough for the cool 60s temperatures we've mostly had here. Or not for me. Maybe Karie runs warmer than I do. :-) 

    Shannon, I feel as you do about the portobello skirt. Our eyes have adjusted to longer lengths. I like mine okay with tights but not so much with a bare leg. But I didn't expect to wear this skirt much in the spring/ summer. I thought of it as a fall/ winter piece. You wore yours a ton during that season! (Way more than I did -- with my nonbusiness life.) 

  • Marlene replied 4 years ago

    I bought a pair of mint green Gap broken-in khaki pants and they drove me bananas in a bad way.  I bought them because I wanted to try a new color and I saw SO MANY WAYS to style them in the blogosphere. Well I wore them exactly once and I felt so weird in them.  The color was so not me.  I have the same pants in white and wear them a lot.  So it's just the color, I think.  I was feeling so guilty that I was developing a hate for them.  I finally decided to put them on the donate pile and settled down.  No more mint pants for me.  

    I have some thoughts on the Leith pants. I bought some and returned them.  The zippers make them hang strangely.  There was TOO much fabric in the back and I found the fabric cheap-feeling.  It reminded me of those tacky button-front shirts in the 90's.  I found a pair of simular pants at J Jill made out of crepe fabric and I like them a lot more.  The fabric is richer feeling and has more drape.  And less fabric at the back so they are roomy but not diaper-y.  http://www.jjill.com/jjillonli.....;ac=search

    And you cannot beat the price!

  • Karie replied 4 years ago

    Suz, I run cold (frostbitten actually). Here's my secret: I wear Cuddle Duds (thin long underwear) under mine when it's cold!

  • missvee replied 4 years ago

    Rae, thanks for starting this thread. Mia gave me some great ideas for my tomato red cropped pants. Maybe they're not a flop after all!

  • modgrl replied 4 years ago

    I just "had to have" the express leopard coat after I saw Kate Moss wearing one.

    Well I haven't worn it once! Our transitional coat season is so short! We go practically from winter coats to sandals in a matter of weeks. I need to keep this transitional weather capsule very small in the future.

  • kkards replied 4 years ago

    a printed silk blouse by equipment, i bought it an the end of last summer, and thought it would be worn a lot this year. but i haven't wear it once.

  • Gaylene replied 4 years ago

    Hmm, this is a really interesting thread, Rae. It seems I'm not alone in trying something that I can style so it looks good in the mirror but doesn't get worn because the item just doesn't make me feel good about myself on the inside.

    Here's my current thoughts about "wild  ;) horses". Wild horses aren't a bad thing if they (1) challenge you to get out of a rut, and (2) if they help you refine your personal style.

    ETA: Much prefer the idea that a wild horse is something that is hard to tame. I'm musing over Angie's suggestion to wear those slouchy pants with a dressier top and heels--verrrry interesting...

  • unfrumped replied 4 years ago

    Not dead, but limping, is my raspberry jean jacket. It is harder to style (to my eye) than I expected in terms of proportions, since it is short-ish, and with pants I tend to prefer jackets that are a bit longer. I'm not despairing though because I think it still has a role with a few of my dresses as an alternative to the usual cardigan, and the color is still on point.

  • RedM replied 4 years ago

    Anything that requires a special bra.  This time of year I always get sucked in by dresses and tops that show off the shoulders, but the thought of having to wear a strapless bra gets them left in the closet.

    I have a white Tahari blazer that has aqua piping and I've only worn it once because I find it so difficult to style.  It was part of a skirt suit and I've worn the skirt on its own repeatedly, so I guess all is not lost.

  • Angie replied 4 years ago

    Am I the only one who is sad reading the words "dead horses"? Just like I'm sad when I hear the expression "killing two birds with one stone". Perhaps we can say "hibernating horses" !!! :)

    It's important to remember that not everything in your wardrobe needs to be worn all the time. Picking favourites is inevitable. AND for many of us, the weather has only just started co-operating.

    Gaylene, you need to wear that outfit around your husband who loved it so much! Or add a dressier top to the bottoms, perhaps.

    Marlene, I often hear from my clients that olive bottoms are problematic. That's interesting.

    Zap, I am so with you. Last years workhorses can be orphaned the next season. And the opposite holds true too. Hibernating horses can become workhorses again. I am just about to write a post on that.

  • rae replied 4 years ago

    Zap, I am not feeling my Nexx shirts, either, and wore them tons last year. I did even return two that got spots and changed texture when I spot-cleaned. You may be onto something for sure... it is possible I burnt out on the silk pants because I wore them so much before. 

  • Vicki replied 4 years ago

    How about "renegade horses"  or "wild horses" although the latter is using the same letters.  Sometimes "dead" may be too final and there could be a little life left in something, don't you think?  We can rein in our horses sometimes.  (How cool!  I just read Angie's post after I'd posted and we must have been writing at the same time!  Love the way you think.)

    You look so fabulous in your *filling in the blank* horses and I still love #3 on you immensely, Rae, no matter how warm or hot you get in silk.  That's a perfect outfit to me IMHO.

    I'd say I've been loving my skinnies less and less although yesterday I wore a white pair with my Equipment shirt and was quite pleased.

    My red trousers and pinstripe navy trousers are seldom worn, because I just don't seem to have the proper place or event in which to wear them.  (Please fill up my dance card!).  Generally, I go for more casual wear.

    Marley, could you sell your shoes on eBay?

  • Marlene replied 4 years ago

    I was unhappy with the phrase "dead horse" as well.  Maybe more like "black sheep" items....things that aren't quite fitting in.  Sometimes black sheep can spice up a wardrobe.  Sometimes they are just annoying...like my mint pants.  

  • rae replied 4 years ago

    Ok, totally changed the title to "wild horses"! Thanks, Vicki! The wild horse fights you and doesn't fall in line, while the workhorse is reliable day in and day out!

  • rachylou replied 4 years ago

    Well, my army green coat has become a wild horse. I love it, it works well, but I've sewn the buttons back on three times now and my will is starting to flag. I think there's something about the buttons that cuts the threads. Also, I have not taken out this wear-it-multiple-ways prison stripe topper that I got. I look at it and feel it's difficult - although I have another three-in-one that's very easy to wear. Maybe it's the stripes - confusing visual vibration.

  • Angie replied 4 years ago

    High five, Vicki! Thanks, Rae! I like the wild horse analogy a lot :)

  • clearlyclaire replied 4 years ago

    loved the article that LBD linked to from Alterations Needed. It summarized how I was feeling about my collarless denim jacket, which I have already sent to consignment. I felt like it was a "little sister" and I needed to upgrade to a "big sister" one....longer, more iconic, with a collar, etc. However, after hunting down and finding the perfect denim jacket for me, I brought it home and tried styling it with my clothes. There was nothing wrong with it, I mean, a denim jacket is a no brainer, right? But I just didn't like it on me. I still can't put my finger on it, but somehow I feel like I've moved on, and that I want a different type of "go-to" topper--not sure what yet. Luckily I was able to return it for a full refund, but there are many, many other wild horses that I've lost money on. But I have to say that they are very good teachers. I've started writing down in my notebook exactly what was wrong with each culled item so I won't make the same mistake twice (or three times...or...).

    Of the new (not thifted) items I bought this Spring that have turned out to be wild horses are two thin boyfriend cardis, one in cream and one in navy. The navy one is so dark that it just looks wrong with either black or navy and the cream one was so thin that the print on my blouses showed through on the sleeves and bothered me. I bought them to wear when I volunteer at DFS (since I can't wear a denim jacket--which I no longer have, lol!) and I wore the navy one the other day with a pencil skirt and something about the low V cut my small bust in half and the length (neither cropped nor long) of it really bothered me. It feels alternately sloppy, dorky or dowdy on me, depending on my mood. I wish I could figure out exactly what the problem is. 

  • anne replied 4 years ago

    I don't really have any wild horses from that Australian summer just passed, probably because all I bought were two dresses!
    just at the end of summer though I grabbed a sundress from the bargain rack at the op shop, tried it on over a top because it was the end of my lunch break and got home to discover it was so tight I can't fit a bra underneath. but hey, I can take a 50c loss!

  • Mander replied 4 years ago

    Black and white floral sheath dress -- only worn once while I was away, and not even during my conference, which is what I bought it for. 

    White linen suit jacket -- only got worn once so I left it with my Mom.  It looks better on her anyway!  But I'm still keeping an eye out for a white jacket.

    Orange faux silk utility shirt -- I love these on everyone else but they just look strange on me.  The particular one I bought is oddly tight around the bicep, so maybe that is why I don't like it.

    Cream faux leather tote -- it feels weird to carry a cream bag with pure white clothes, so I didn't take it to my conference.  Too late to take it back, though!

  • Joy replied 4 years ago

    My wild horse from this spring has been my red jeans, and I'm not sure why. They are comfortable enough and I have many styling ideas. It's not wearing bright jeans because my neon citron pair have seen lots of wear.
    I suspect that the waist is too high for my short-waisted body (They are NYDJ), and that the bottom of the leg does not taper. It may also be that I see red jeans everywhere so they don't seem unique. They may get whacked off for clams before the summer is over.

You need to be logged in to comment