I think your hair looks great, not haggard at all! I guess the keys to growing it longer is stop cutting it and treat it gently. I know you mentioned feeling the need to cut in layers. Maybe you could tell your stylist you are trying to grow your hair out and you want to maintain the layers without taking off much length. The longer your hair gets, it will naturally thin out towards the ends and won't pyramid as bad. Have you tried going CG?