This happens to all knitters at some point. We take the time to choose a pattern, pick out a yarn in a lovely colour and start to knit. Weeks??? or perhaps months later we cast off, do the finishing and block the garment ready to wear it and proudly show off our talents.
Then we stand in front of our mirror feeling lost and hopeless because it's not the sweater of our imagination. So where did you go wrong?
Did you pick a colour of yarn totally alien to the rest of your wardrobe? It's not that unusual to see Knitters admiring beautiful yarns in colours that don't fall into the palette of what they wear or in a colour that is not flattering to them personally. The colour of the sample is always the first colour to sell out in a yarn shop so your LYS staff know that you are admiring the garment and not really thinking through how it will look on you.
Did you substitute the pattern yarn with an appropriate match of fiber and gauge? This situation is becoming more frequent as Knitters are buying patterns to stash bust the yarn they already have. Yarn substitutions are always possible, however the Knitter does need to understand that the work may not be an exact replica of the original. Sometimes the knitted item is lovely but because it is different or unexpected from the original we are not happy with the end result.
Did you choose a pattern that flatters your body shape. Just because the garment looks great on the model who is a 34 bust and 6" taller than normal women doesn't mean it will look good on everyone. Think about the most flattering items in your wardrobe is this pattern anything like other things you wear?
Did you knit an item appropriate to your personal style? Are you a twin set girl and the pattern is an Asian inspired asymmetrical style? If it is think twice before casting on or consider modifying to be closer to your personal style.
Did you knit an item appropriate to your personal lifestyle? Did you choose an over sized sweater suitable to be worn with jeans and hiking boots for long walks in the country on cool fall days but you live in a city and socialize with serious fashionista's who wear sharp tailored clothing?
Did you understand the way the garment fit? Sometimes the photo's do lie! The stylist pinned the garment at the back so you think there is waist shaping or negative ease and in reality the garment is one big box in shape. Carefully review the schematic and the instructions to make sure you are knitting what you think you are.