Friday, December 10, 2010

Reposting one more time because, HELLO?!? The holidays, they are upon us!

What Not to Wear - Reality Check, anyone?

I will admit that I am not a fashion-conscious person. As a child, I learned pretty quickly that you could get 1 pair of name brand jeans for the entire year or 4 pairs of off-brands that looked just as good. The idea of having to wash a fancy pair of jeans several times a week was more than laughable. My parents had both been raised in situations where money definitely didn't grow on trees. Seeing as how most of my neighbors and friends were in similar situations and clothes, those name brands and fly-by-night fashions were never held to the same lofty heights that someone raised in a city might have experienced.

I live in the Midwest, for crying out loud! The SUBURBS of the Midwest, to be even more blunt.

In the suburbs, jeans and tops are meant for wearing to the grocery store, school, washing the floor, planting flowers.

In the suburbs, our clothing must be able to withstand a jam-packed washing machine after getting finger paints and mac-n-cheese smeared on them.

In the suburbs, our clothing must be found at stores we can actually DRIVE to and afford to not only purchase but also replace in case of red wine and kool-aid stains. (though I don't recommend mixing the wine and kool-aid...)

In the suburbs, "dress clothes" is something you wear OUT, not to do your errands in. And yet, those dressy clothes need to be able to make it through goodbye hugs, frigid weather, and long car rides.

Basically: the typical* Midwest suburban woman needs a wardrobe that is sturdy, affordable and long-lasting.

It is for these reasons that shows such as What Not to Wear really burn my hair.

Let's ignore the fact that most of the time, the crew sneaks into a person's home and TAKES THEIR BELONGINGS. In my book, this is nothing more than breaking and entering with a second charge of burglary. I don't care if my mother let you in! It's not her home!! (I know that sometimes the husband or roommate or someone else who lives in the home lets them in. That's just a case of No Respect for my Privacy and boy are you going to pay the price when the cameras are gone, bucko).

Let's also ignore the fact that the cast is incredibly demeaning and cruel to a person who may have poor fashion sense because, oh, I don't know, they also have a poor self-esteem? Or they don't have $5000 sitting in an account waiting to be spent on only themselves? Perhaps they have things like bills and food and children to pay for? Perhaps they need to buy items on SALE and only 1 at a time, like the rest of the world?? Yeah, let's make fun of someone who isn't as hip and cool as we are, Stacey and Clinton! That doesn't bring me back to my junior high school memories of being teased for not needing a bra or having a weird hairdo! Not at ALL!!

(Like how I "ignored" those facts?)

Instead, let's focus on the actual shopping trip, ok?

Oh joy! The victims are always so willing and gung ho to go on a shopping spree. They're always thrilled at the prospect of finding tons and tons of clothing they love. But what kills the show for me Every. Single. Time. is this:

If I don't LIVE in New York City**, and I don't normally SPEND exorbitant amounts of money on clothing for myself, the sticker shock alone would destroy any and ALL fun that a shopping spree would bring.

I don't WANT $100 jeans! I don't WANT fancy pointy-toed shoes that I can't wear to soccer practice without getting my heels stuck in the dirt! I NEED those t-shirts and jeans that I can replace if my children want me to crawl around on the floor in a tent made of sheets. I cannot sit around, refusing to play with my children because I'm worried that my outfit costs more than a week's worth of food does.

You know what I want to see, Stacey and Clinton? I want to see a show where the average person is REALLY helped. Don't bring me to a city to buy clothing that won't fit with my lifestyle. Don't have me purchase things that I have to get dry-cleaned or altered. That doesn't fit in my budget! The reason women have jeans that don't look perfect on them isn't because they can't see the difference. It's because we can't AFFORD to change the inseam/waist/hips/etc. Most of us aren't so vain or wealthy that we spend thousands of dollars on ourselves in 2 YEARS, let alone 2 days.

I would really like to see a REAL What Not To Wear challenge. I'd like to see them outfit a woman such as myself, within means that are truly fathomable. I'm talking $100 for a new wardrobe, not $100 for a new outfit. I need help finding clothing that will flatter me on a daily basis that is PRACTICAL, not ridiculous.

Just to prove that I believe it's possible to outfit a woman with very little money, I present you with my purchases from Saturday. (I had a gift card from Christmas, which is the only reason I went shopping. Hello Budget and 3 Growing Kids!)

Updated with prices even though NO ONE guessed!!

How much did these articles of clothing cost? (the pants are quite nice, actually. My butt rocks in them...)

L - R: $9, $4, $8, $19

And here the dress, shoes and necklace I got for the wedding last October..Any guesses?

Dress: $45 Necklace and matching earrings: $20, Shoes: $15 (but this was a splurge on my part. I spent WAY more than I usually do. So, a dressy outfit that looks FABULOUS
on for $80..)

A spring dress I picked up that same day for no reason other than I didn't have any dresses for casual wear... (You can't see it, but it's a really lovely material...)
Dress: $9.00

Gratuitous cute kid shots. Notice the hat that said kid is wearing. His daddy just bought it (for himself) for a steal...Hat: $5.00 Kid: Priceless

I'm not saying my clothes are quite as fashionable as the ones on the show. But? The idea is that they will last me for quite some time, didn't break the bank (at ALL) and are pieces that make sense for my lifestyle.

*Typical as in, Just Like ME.

** No offense to my NYC friends. I am sure I would stick out like a sore thumb in your neck of the woods just as much as you would in mine...

Originally Posted in January 2009 and reposted today because I have NOTHING to wear and am DESPERATE for new clothes, can't afford even $3 for new socks and still DESPISE the cruelty I see on that show... Rawr. Maybe I'm pre-menstrual? Grrrrr....


Missy said...

I am so with you on that show. I've turned it on a couple of times when NOTHING ELSE WAS ON, but never made it to the end. Like you, I've never understood how the hosts are being helpful by asking someone to shop in an environment (NYC) they'll never likely see again.

The Adventures of Princess Zaria said...

You're a mom after my own heart. I got you beat on one thing, though,.. My wedding dress costed $30(clearance at David's Bridal). A steal :)

Julie said...

Target $1 socks, $1 ladies tees in the clearance area...

Pregnantly Plump said...

I like the show, and in the episodes I've seen, they've really helped some people. An adult woman should not wear a racoon tail safety pinned to her butt. And the hair and make-up parts are almost always great. The women look so much happier. I would love to have that new Ted guy work magic on my hair and have Carmindy make me beautiful. But I also LOVE clothes. I can't afford to spend tons on my wardrobe, but I used to sew most of my clothes pre-kids.

we are reilly said...

Oh, I am in the same boat as you -- I HATE paying so much money for clothes -- I have 'sturdy' clothes as you call them -- that's about it! My husband tries to get me to go shopping for new clothes, but I just can't bring myself to spend the $$$ on them. You did GREAT on your purchases -- you are in my price ranges -- CHEAP! :) said...

They always look great, yes. I agree. But at $5000 a person, ANYONE can look great! The show doesn't appeal to me because it doesn't apply to any real-life people that I know. It burns me to see them rip people apart (and they do it so ruthlessly) who are shopping at Goodwill and are wearing clothing from 20 years ago. Guess what? Welcome to the real world, Stacey and Clinton!

How about just using stores that are in that person's general area? Take me to the outlet stores near Chicago and give me $500 instead of $5000 and I'll have an entire wardrobe that makes SENSE.

nmaha said...

I totally agree with this post. Plus, A lot of clothes they chose do not look that great on the poor victims. What about dry cleaning charges?

I get 75% of my clothes from the people who make clothes for the big brands. So I'm wearing a gap t-designed shirt but it's before it's shipped out as gap. Smart huh!

anymommy said...

I agree 100%. Well, except for one thing. I love expensive jeans. I buy them on sale & there are some great deals out there, but I love them.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Next time I see you I'll have to fill you on the time a family friend was On. That. Show. It was sooo awkward to watch her break down in front of the cameras. And, as you note, she was a pre-school teacher and they were dressing her like she worked in a nice office. Totally impractical, even if the clothes were cute.

Shannon said...

Love this post- so true!! I buy 'sturdy' clothes and always shop at discount stores- TJ Max and Nordstrom Rack are my favs!! Can't forget about Target and their clearance rack. But, I do splurge on jeans when they're on sale. My guilty pleasure. But, not a big fan of the show either and I think you need to take me shopping to find those deals!! :)

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