Monday, November 07, 2005


What not to wear

You're about to lose some respect for me. (If you had any to begin with, that is.) I'm about to confess to something particularly shallow.

Not only do I watch TLC's What Not to Wear on occasion, but I'd love to have someone do that wardrobe makeover thing to me. Not so much with the humiliation on national TV - lord knows there's more than enough humiliation right here on the Interweb - but I'd really like someone who knows clothes and quality and makeup walk me through the whole style thing. I don't have a style. Where do you get one, anyway? Can I buy it on eBay? And one day I'd like to spend some serious money on real clothes, instead of collecting separates pell mell like a magpie building a nest.

I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. For example, I have this addiction to striped turtlenecks. I buy at least one every season, each one worn a few times until I catch sight of myself in some passing reflective surface and realize how unflattering a look it is for me. I'm a curvy sort of girl, and stripes are not always kind to curves. And turtlenecks? Let's just say the push-up effect works better in a bra than it does as a turtleneck supporting my chin(s). I can rationalize this is the cold light of day, but once I get into the mall and see all those long-sleeved striped turtleneck sweaters in the seasons brightest colours I can't help myself.

I went to Winners the other day, and promised myself I would try on anything except a striped turtleneck. I tried on 12 black sweaters and tops (did I mention I just this year discovered black on black? Where have you been all my life?) and not one of them was worth buying. Last weekend, I was in the mall with the boys and got sucked into Northern Reflections (of all places - so much for urban chic at the office) by a conspicuous display of - you guessed it - striped turtlenecks. I bought two. I am incorrigible.

And things are further complicated by the fact that I've recently realized that as a 36 year old mother of two, I'm a woman of a certain age. Just how firm is that "no miniskirts after 35" rule? Damn, one of my best features is my legs! How mini is mini? I also have an addiction to plaid skirts cut about four inches above the knee - not Britney Spears don't-bend-over short, but certainly shorter than the matronly to-the-knee length I've been seeing all over town. Please tell me I don't have to give those up yet!

So there's the media-savvy part of me that is horrified by shows like What Not to Wear, where you expose your inadequacy on national TV and eat a good helping of humiliation for the edification of the armchair-fashionista potato-chip-snarfing audience at home. But there is a part of me who wants to be Cinderella, to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman or Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club. Despite the fact that I am mostly a confident, satisfied, happy woman, there's a marginalized teenager deep in my heart who would love to find out she's more beautiful and stylish than she ever imagined.

So if you see me in the mall, please do us both a favour and drag me away from the striped turtleneck sweaters that I will inevitably be coveting. I am weak.