What not to wear


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

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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.