There's a scene in 'American Beauty' where Annette Bening, exasperated with her teenage daughter's sloppy attire, asks her, "Janey, honey, are you trying to look unattractive?"

That line springs to mind when we think of Miley Cyrus lately. The former Disney queen has been desperately trying to shed her good girl image, but she's not exactly doing it the right way.

What we're saying is that buzzing her hair and adopting a lesbian-chic look isn't really working for her.

She went from this honey blonde, shoulder-grazing coif ...

Jason Merritt, Getty Images

... to this, a punk pixie that she claims to love. She's trying to be edgy, with the key word being "trying." Edginess should be effortless (Pink pulls it off flawlessly), not forced.

But even when paired with a grommeted top and long skirt, it's not femme punk. Instead, Cyrus is working overtime.

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While we're not suggesting she set the clock back to this ombre, fishtail braid look ...

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... we think this is too severe. The snakeskin, thigh-high boots and belly-baring top don't work in tandem to show us a dirty sexy side of the performer. Instead, we're all, "The hell?"

Paul A. Hebert, Getty Images

What's Right:

Cyrus has always been a fashion-forward celeb. There's no denying that. This leather dress she wore in 2010 is as hip now as it was then. Most of the time, she can take a tough fabric like animal skin and make it sexy and chic.

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She also can work white and a fussy, flowing train. At the 2010 AMAs, Cyrus appeared young, fresh and elegant in this short and long dress. The two elements of her gown are diametrically opposed, but she pulls off both with panache. She sets herself apart from the other celebs on the red carpet by giving off a pretty, almost fairy-like energy.

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Here she is in a casual outfit, mixing a flowy top with leather leggings and mega-long hair. It's hippie chic, and she nails it.

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Red carpets at major events are also Cyrus' forte. She picks beautiful, unique dresses -- this long gown with a daring bustier top and full skirt shows off her rebellious personality far better than a bad haircut ever could.

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This black column gown that she wore in 2011 is another stunner. The asymmetrical sleeves and shoulders are a winner. Notice the bright orange nails, too. Those add a pop of unexpected color.

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What's Wrong:

We're not suggesting she go back to floral maxi-dresses paired with mega long waves. This is a cute look, but it's best left in her past.

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Same here. There's too much volume in the fabric and her hair. It's pretty, but it's too busy -- and it's not "standout," which we now know is her primary goal.

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At the 2012 VMAs, her bleached, punky fauxhawk detracts from the dress. It's not like she hacked off her hair for a film role (or shaved it to show support and solidarity for a friend battling cancer like Kellie Pickler did).

If that were the case, we'd be much more forgiving about the fact that her top and bottom - literally - don't match.

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We get what she's going for, but the hair doesn't show how pretty or stylish Miley is. This look just screams, "I'm not conforming to your bourgeois standards of beauty. I shaved my head and everything!"

Paul A. Hebert, Getty Images

See her rad body? We love the long, metallic skirt and leopard-print heels, but we wish her hair was styled in an angled, shorter in the back, longer in the front bob. That would make this outfit work.

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And don't even get us started on whatever this was that she wore to this year's 'VH1 Divas' show on Dec. 16.

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

How to Fix It:

The Miley we love, in a fashion sense, mixes tough with pretty. Like the bright hot pink blouse with a leather skirt she wore at the Topshop opening in Chicago in 2011.

Barry Brechelson, Getty Images

Miley's affinity for Old Hollywood glam is on display with her 2012 Oscars gown. She's covered up, but we don't need to see skin everywhere because her dress is so gorgeous and her scarlet lips are so arresting. The wavy hair grabs a thumbs-up, too. It's also not something you'd see on every other starlet.

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Cyrus wore this gown in 2009, but the slit is sexy and edgy. She's shown us she can take her gowns to another level in effortless ways. More of this ...

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... and a lot less of this, please.

Paul A. Hebert, Getty Images

The verdict? She can cull from her previous looks to create an entirely new one without pushing the "punk pixie" thing so hard. Maybe she'll eventually learn that on her own.