What not to wear


The logo of The Learning Channel's What Not to...

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Stacy and Clinton, stay away from me. I don’t want to let you anywhere near my closet. Why? I break all your fashion rules and I don’t care. Sure, I would like to look fashionable and great all the time. In reality though, by shopping at the clothing stores available to the average middle-American person, this is impossible. Even if you have a generous clothing budget. And especially if you have any special size needs.

I’m short – 5′ 2″, which puts me into the petite size section. I’ve tried shopping for clothes that are not petite and they don’t work. Never. Even when people convince me that non-petite dress, jacket, whatever, fits fine, I end up taking it back because it just doesn’t work. Sigh. 

Somehow the few stores that stock petite sizes decided that petite equals old. Large department stores like Macy’s have a petite selection with two or three items that anyone could wear, such as plain turtle-necks or tees, and the rest are elastic-waist pants with matching sweatshirts with a cutesy print on the front, like a  little bird on a branch or a flower. Really? I don’t even plan on wearing that when I’m 80, and I certainly wouldn’t wear it now. My best bet is Talbots, which has a wide selection of petites, although lately their styles and colors have been hit or miss. I also do a little Land’s End, but often their clothes look plain and utilitarian, a little too much like “mom” clothes.

So, I break all of Stacy and Clinton’s rules. If I find something cute and stylish that I like, I buy one in every color. Who knows when I’ll find something else that fits again? Look in my closet and you’ll find a modest selection of identical sweaters:  three turtle-necks (black, maroon, tan); two cable pullovers (aubergine and khaki); two shawl-collar cardigans,  and so on.  Add a modest collection of nearly identical black and navy pants, two similar black skirts and a collection of matching jackets, and that fills out the winter work wardrobe. Boring, utilitarian, but hey, I have to wear something.

I never wear the stylish spiky heels that Stacy and Clinton favor. Sure they make your legs look great, but they’re dangerous and hard on your feet and back. Moderate heel-height shoes are hard to find, so if I do find them, you guessed it, one in every color.

I don’t bother to buy matching bags for all my outfits. First, out here in the midwest we call them purses. Second, who has time to change her purse every time she gets dressed? I don’t have a personal assistant after all.

So, Stacy and Clinton, stay away from me. I know what not to wear but I wear it anyway. Use your energy to change America’s pitifully lacking  clothing industry instead.

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8 thoughts on “What not to wear

  1. HuffyGirl, I LOVE YOU. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have never been impressed with Stacy and Clinton. For the boutique budget they have, they don’t make people look that great. In fact, many of their clients look dumpier after the makeover. I’m definitely a “buy one in every color” kind of girl. And matching hangbags? Pffft. I recently bought a drastically reduced Betsey Johnson tote for work that has some kind of not-known-in-nature animal print in black/brown/white. Good to go with any outfit. Who has time to change bags every night??? And do people really know what they’re wearing the next day for work??? I have no clue. I wait for inspiration to strike in the morning, mid-yawn.

    I do wish that people with power in the fashion industry would do something to change it up. I find it amazing that most pants I buy need to have tons of inches hemmed off of them. I’m 5’4″ (and a half ;-)). Most women I know are my height or shorter. So, who’s wearing those long-legged pants. And why can’t women’s clothes come in normal sizes like men’s…in inches for waist and length instead of 0,2,4,6,8, etc. which are all different depending on which designer made the clothes.

    I mean, really, when a certain talk show host says on national television that she’s a size 6 and I’m also wearing a size 6 but I’m half the size of her, you know there’s some problems with sizing. I guess if you have tons of money, you can be whatever size you want, on a label anyway.

    Huffy, you’ve hit a nerve, as you can see. 😉 Great blog!

    • Amen Margaret! You make some great points. There’s no reason why women’s clothes can’t come in waist and lenght sizes like men’s, except for the arrogance of those who control the fashion industry. It will be interesting to hear what other women have to say as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I like What Not to Wear because I’ve actually learned some tips from it on how to wear clothes that fit me better. I also think almost everybody they re-do looks wonderful, and I really appreciate when they take the slutty out of someone’s wardrobe. Having said that, I agree with you, Huffygirl, 100% I watch the show for fun, and the occasional new wardrobe tip, but that’s it. I am the queen of the same piece in multiple colors. I always have so many fitting problems that when I find something that actually fits, it’s like a party! And, hey, what is a party without guests–let’s get all the different colors together!

    Sizing is ridiculous. I usually have at least three different size labels in my closet at any one time. Why don’t they start marketing things for shape: short waist, long waist, long legs in proportion to height (I’m the one that wears the long pants).

    • I do agree that most people on the show look better after the makeovers, especially the ones that start out going around in tee shirts and sweat pants. Part of my gripe with the show though, is that I think it’s unrealistic and unlikely that the average person could continue to dress in the same way once they return to their own clothing budget. If I spent my clothing budget on matching bags, shoes and accessories like they do, I wouldn’t have much left for the clothes. I would like to see them depart from their usual formula of mocking the person they’ve selected, to doing a show with tips for short people, and one for women age 45-60, and one for women with big hips, etc .

  3. Hi huffygirl…I am also a shortie… 5’3″ – and a half 🙂

    and geez…it is so hard to find nice clothes that fit, are age appropriate, and don’t cost a fortune.

    I do like Stacey and Clinton for the tips…and also think people look good in the after shots…but I do get what you are saying. I always wonder if people really throw away everything or they hide the stuff they really like in the kids’ closets!

    Maybe we need to start our own clothing line.

    • My research tells me that they donate the clothes that they symbolically throw away to charity. $5000 or not, I do not want to get rid of the clothes I have – I work too hard to find them.

      We could start our own clothing line – maybe Shorties United? Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. My biggest beef with that show is the whole tired concept of sending the traumatized shopper out on her own for the first day — while they watch on video and ridicule her. Have they no time management skills? Get in there on day 1 and help the poor soul, short or not 🙂

    (And, yes, I buy one in each color when it works out well, too.)

    • Yes, I agree. Why should someone have to be publically ridiculed in order to get a new wardrobe? Shopping for clothes is stressful and humiliating enough. Thanks for stopping by.

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