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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Not To Wear... Or Not

So... yesterday I promised y'all that I would throw myself my wardrobe under the bus and share the story of last month's makeover with Dory. I know some of my Facebook friends are all "finally!" because I posted a status update last month about the shopping trip and then.... nothing.

Yeah. I blame the blizzard. And the sickness. And my desire to avoid further public humiliation.

But now, after much nagging via email, I am ready to share. I must first take you back in time eleven years, to when the husband and I were newly married. One day, as I was in the shower (yes, it's important to the story), the husband insistently yelled to me from the other room, "TM, you gotta come quick! There's something on TV that you HAVE to see!"

Only he didn't say TM. Because, ya know, that's not actually my name. AND this happened about eight years before I pseudo-became TM. But y'all know what I mean. (And of course this was also before that lovely invention known as the DVR, so he couldn't pause the TV either.)

Which means that I - good wife that I was am - hurriedly rinsed myself off, turned off the shower, threw a towel around myself and ran - dripping - through the house to see what caused all the commotion. And that's when I first met the lovely Clinton and Stacey from TLC's What Not To Wear. Only I didn't think they were lovely at the time. Because - while I stood dripping on the carpet, with shampoo still stinging my eyes - they were ripping my wardrobe to shreds.

Oh yes, they were.

I mean, it wasn't technically my wardrobe... not exactly. But the woman who stood there, looking as if she might cry any second, owned skirts and shirts, jeans and dresses that all pretty much looked like the ones hanging in my closest. She even owned my exact! same! coat! that was black, with a hood. Clinton and Stacey? Said it made her look like a vampire.

Sniff, sniff.

I gave the husband a vampire-like glare, then headed back to the bathroom to dry off and don clothes that were Obviously Not Fit For Public Viewing. I also didn't talk to the husband for over 24 hours. And yes, that's the only time the poor man has ever been blessed with the silent treatment.

(Can y'all tell that I talk a lot?)

I started watching the show from that point forward, in secret, so that the husband couldn't make fun of me. Only I never really learned how to transition Stacey and Clinton's rules from those poor, pathetic souls on TV to poor, pathetic me. And so began my decade long angst over my wardrobe. I knew I looked horrible, but I didn't know how to change it.

Fast forward to 2005, when I had to go on a work-related trip with the husband a month before our China adoption journey. I seriously didn't have anything suitable in my closet. I sucked it up and went shopping, purchasing the bare minimum of clothes necessary for such a trip. And [insert sarcastic tone here] good thing I did... because the airlines lost my luggage. I was without my clothes for two-and-a-half of the five days we were there.

Fast forward to two years ago, when the Tongginator made this horrible pronouncement.

Fast forward to an October day last year, when I felt too devastated to shop for anything, much less clothes, but I had nothing suitable to wear to Rosie's wake and funeral. A very kind angel sent by God and working at Ann Taylor found me two outfits that I could wear without looking like a total shlumpadinka. I still have them. Until last month, they were the only halfway presentable clothes in my closet that still fit my body.

And then, beginning this past fall, I got to know Dory better. Dory, who used to work in the fashion industry. Dory, who stands at almost six feet tall and understands my pain about pants length and shoe size and sleeves being too short. Dory, my new best friend.

The husband, being the husband, connived with Dory behind my back to stage their own fashion intervention ala Stacey and Clinton. (They seriously did, y'all.) Their plotting and planning resulted in this rather humbling experience:

(over 80% of my pre-Dory Days wardrobe
now graces the aisles of our local Goodwill

...as well as two full shopping days... days where I wasn't allowed to return home until I spent XX amount of money. So how much is XX, you might ask? Well... let's put it this way... my Facebook status update after Shopping Day One read like this: "[TM] went clothes shopping today... my once in a decade trip. The credit card company got so confused, they put a block on my card and called, asking if it was stolen."

Oh yes, they did.

To make matters worse, the little old lady working the register of the major department store couldn't quite figure out how to handle the situation. I remained nonplussed, since my credit is excellent, my limit is sky high and especially since it wouldn't be fair to feel annoyed with my credit card company. I mean, I was purchasing weird and strange items... items like clothes and shoes and purses and EVEN AN ACTUAL PAIR OF BOOTS. Boots like real boots... not snow boots, but REAL boots. Like, for grown-up women real boots.

So I remained calm and patient. I did, that is, until the little old lady asked me to talk with the credit card person on the telephone. The credit card person who assured me that I did NOT have a credit card with that account number. And, after further investigation, that I did not even possess a credit card under my name.


And that's when the credit card lady asked, "Wait a minute... what type of credit card are you using? Is it the department store credit card?" Heh. Problem solved. A manager came to walk us through the whole convoluted mess, called my REAL credit card company and solved the problem.

I survived the two day shopping excursion. And I have to admit that Dory actually made the whole experience fairly painless. (Shocking! I know!) She did a stellar job navigating me through the maze of too-short pants, shirts that don't fit my shoulders and shoe stores that don't believe in double-wide sizes. I came away with a wardrobe that rivals the ones created on What Not To Wear.

It's like my own personal Garanimals collection of clothes.

mix-and-match shirts and pants that are *mostly* idiot-proof

two of my favorite new dresses, that I NEVER
would have even tried on without Dory's coaxing

Dory also won MAJOR points when she defended me to the husband, explaining that I truly DO have a body that is tough to fit. (We tried on almost 30 pairs of pants just to find three that fit me without major alterations.)

Now... I'm not all glamorous or anything. Basically I've gone from shlumpadinka to decently-dressed-mom... but it feels good, y'all. I never knew how good it felt to wear clothes that actually fit. I'm still making mistakes left and right, but I'm learning.

For example, lesson number one: Don't wear a beaded shirt underneath a thin sweater.

*blushing hugely right about now*

Now what fashion don'ts have y'all committed?


Anonymous said...

My entire life was one big "fashion don't" until I finally started letting my sister dress me. And I STILL wear white socks with jeans and brown shoes (*blushes*) ... but only occasionally, when I don't care who sees me.

Do you love your boots? My black boots are my most favourite item in my entire wardrobe, which is good, because they are also the most expensive item in my entire wardrobe, but I feel like a glamourous movie star every time I wear them (the Grace Kelly type, not the Angelina Jolie type. Just so we're clear.), so I think they're worth it.

Those turquoise/green/ish ruffles in that first picture are gorgeous. I can't even see the rest of the shirt, but based on the ruffles alone, I think you've definitely got a winner there!

happygeek said...

I LOVE that the credit card company blocked your card.
So, when is Dory coming to help a rather round short Canadian?

The Source said...

Fashion mistakes? I'll have to ask my daughter...she's my gauge...I know if she's laughing so hard she wets her pants, I had better change before going out in public! She describes my favorite jacket as the "Tacky Grandma on a Cruise Ship Playing Shuffleboard" look and says all I need to go with it are some huge plastic earrings, nurse shoes and claws.

My sister? Dresses like a teenager. But she has the body for it. I don't. Yet. And I'm not sure I'd wear holey jeans and baby t's from Abercrombie even if I did.

But...I totally want to know where I can get a vampire coat! Or possibly a werewolf coat. Werewolves are more awesome because they look completely normal with long fangs while vampires just look creepy.

Colleen said...

LOL this was great!!!!! Don't wear a white t-shirt underneath a black sweater : )

Lisa said...


I'm glad you have gone from fashion victim to fashionista!

Yay for Dory ~ she sounds like a real gem!

As for me? I live by one credo: always & I do mean always, check yourself in a length wise mirror before heading out(front & back)..... I'll let you ponder the ramifications of that pearl of wisdom and how it may have related to a fashion faux don't ala *me*..... *grin*

AND something else while on the subject ~ who gets to say that you cant wear white after Labor Day? Try telling that to my favorite(in the whole wide world!!) white capri pants! I mean if its still 80 degrees?? Don't we get to fudge a bit?

Debra said...

Can Dory take me shopping please. I used to be able to dress myself in a professional, up to date way, before I became a Mom. But then something happened to my brain and I don't ssem to give a flip most of the time what I look like as long as I didn't forget to pack the snacks and lunches, and sign the school paperwork, and make sure the girls have their coats on before leaving the house and their backpacks, and that the dog got his medicine and was pee'd...

jen@odbt said...

Fashion show please!! I so need a Dory in my life. I bet I could get rid of 80% of my closet and not miss a thing. Don't ask me why I'm not...I don't know myself. I'm just glad pegging jeans is no longer 'in'.

autumnesf said...

This is my story...without the intervention. I live in fear that someone will call that show on me. Not kidding.

Annie said...

Too funny, TM!!! I don't wear anything unless I am completely comfortable in it (SID here I come)!! Nothing scratchy or too tight or too loose or whatever!!! If I find something that is comfy and I think looks ok, I will buy 3 in different colors, only to sometimes find out later that it wasn't that comfy after all and then it just sits in my closet while I wear what I like until it is falling apart at the seams!!!! You should just see my PJ's - or maybe not!!!! LOL!!! I am 46 years old and I dress like a teenager (only I think a teenager would have way more style than me)!! Blue jeans, shorts and scoop neck t-shirts (cause can't have anything to close to my neck - there's that SID again)!!!!! That basically sums up my fashion!!!! hehe!!!

BTW, I like that show too!!!

Chris said...

I had to dress up for 4 mornings last week...I was teaching at my son's high school...so it was important that I don't embarrass him too badly...I realized I have a problem when I didn't really have anything to wear by the 3rd day. Maybe it is time to sew again...I can't buy the clothes I wear.

At least you know your credit card company is paying attention.

Jboo said...

Wow -- I bet that was fun! Wish I could have tagged along and learned something about what to wear for shorties, though! :)

Your hub is a gem, isn't he! Sweet!


LucisMomma said...

My whole closet, except for maybe two blouses, are so totally not attractive. Part of the problem is that I am way too overweight. But even when I was a normal size (before childbirth and that wonderful 2 years after dieting, until DH got deployed and stress piled it all back on), I still dressed like a Kindergarten school teacher (apples, etc on sweaters).

Mamatini said...

Hmmm, so many thoughts...

1) I agree, we are going to need a fashion show!

2) I love that show, too, and like another poster live in fear that someone will see my interest in the show, note my jeans-n-T-shirt style and sic them on me.

3) As the youngest nears Kindergarten, I'm starting to slowly pull myself out of hard-core Mommy mode. Slowly.

4) Your husband and Dory rock!

The Vinyards said...

That was so sweet of your husband & friend. Brownie points!! I have a hard time finding jeans & pants also (I'm 5 11 so not as tall as you but still!). And our stores are not great where I live. You should post some of your outfits on here!

Holly said...

Fashion rules I live by:
1.No kittens, pupmpkins, butterflies or apples appliqued on shirts. EVER.
2. Avoid pantyhose at all costs
3. Heels are for short people. I'm 5'8" and walk like a drunk in heels. I had to practice for HOURS to be in my sister's wedding. Don't laugh.
4. No neon. Ever.
5. Nothing gold or silver or with sequins or flashing lights or fringe. (make an exception to the sequins if we are going to a military formal)
5. Jeans CAN TOO be dressy if you wear an Ann Taylor button down shirt and some nice loafers. Seriously!
6. MINIMALISTIC is the way to go. Less stuff...but NOT less fabric! Modest and simple- the heart of it all!

Please don't call those guys on me. I am happy in my Dock Martin boots and blue jeans. I am willing to move to Colorodo if necessary. No wait, too cold there. the mountains in TN maybe?
If you EVER need to feel better about your wardrobe choices honey, I can hook you up. Just visit
That should do it for you.
You're welcome!

Myrnie said...

I'm waiting with bated breath to see what Aunt LoLo has to say to this. Her husband banned nearly her entire wardrobe when they first started dating. I'm pretty sure he still does her shopping for her.

I'm waiting for them to move back so he can do my shopping for me!

(Guess what I just found out: I should wear a size SIX Gap jeans, NOT ten. Not fourteen. Not baggy and balooney, to hide any semblence of human form underneath. True story! Wish I'd known THAT when I was in high school and wearing giganto old-lady pants pulled up past my belly button!)

a little leprechaun said...

Love it!! That sounds fun!! Minus the part where they donated all of your old clothes. But I guess interventions have to be harsh. ;-)

So glad it all worked out!! And you came out smiling!! Never thought about the beads under a sweater, but good to know!! ;-)


Missy said...

What a great post and YOU GO GIRL! I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone in the name of fashion :)

Carla said...

I so need to borrow Dory...I think I have committed every fashion don't there ever was.

I too could not translate those fashion pointers from TV to my real life...alas, I still have most of my weird wardrobe.

But I REFUSE to give up my too big, Winnie the Pooh embroidered sweatshirt. HA! and TM, I can send you a replacement sweater with Christmas stuff on it if you want. ;)

Steffie B. said...

Well....I haven't been too fasionable lately either...but I gotta tell ys....first glance at the last pictures and I thought good grief.....TM has a lot of nipples......sorry.....I couldn't help myself! ;)

Erica said...

A few years ago I was much better dresser. Put on some weight, gain a child and the wardrobe went to hell. I'm embarrassed some days, but I need more money or less weight.

Janet said...

I love clothes. Like, in a way that is just not natural or right. I LOVE shopping and fashion. It's in my blood and and I just can't stop it. And I have a budget, which severely restricts my passion. But I wouldn't want to show you my closet. Nope. I wouldn't.

Football & Fried Rice said...

I am so jealous!! I wish my husband would tell ME to spend xx amount of money on clothes :) I just do it behind his back & then have to beg forgiveness! ((i need a friend to help me with THIS))

Let's see - biggest fashion faux pa - ill-supportive bras.

imagine THAT in a photograph ;)

Aunt LoLo said...

BWAHAHAHAHA....I'm DYING over that little bead issue. *snort*

Let's see...fashion faux pas.....well, there's the black fleece that I wear every. day. It's n.a.s.t.y.

In my defense, it acts as a full-top APRON to protect me from Peanut Butter, Snot, and other Various and Sundry Nasties that spew forth from the little dude...

But that's not a great excuse when I FORGET and wear it out to the store. *facepalm*

Nicole said...

I'm still laughing...

Hooray for new clothes! My biggest fashion don't happens a lot. I have a tendency to show butt crack. I know. I know. It's hideous. But I don't know how to stop it. I'm constantly hitching up the back of my pants or pulling my shirts down and still it happens. I should have been a plumber, evidently.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Now that was some serious shopping!! I didn't think you were serious when you posted that on your FB status.....now I know you were not kidding:)

Looks like you had a very successful trip!

Michelle said...

Wow! That would be a dream day for me. (The shopping spree, not the fashion ridicule, of course.) Love the beaded shirt photo. Hilarious!!

Marla said...

Woohoo!!! A whole new wardrobe?!?! That would rock!! Please send Dory my way, will ya?

LOL @ the sweater with beaded shirt. What, you don't like the multiple-nipple look? LOL!!

Great post TM, had me giggling all the way through.

Patty O. said...

Oh, it would take way too long for me to detail all my fashion don'ts. I did just discover a new one I have been committing unawares. Apparently, one should never wear gym shoes with jeans. Who knew?

I keep waiting to but new, cute clothes until I get down a size, since right now I am smack dab between two sizes. It is taking longer than originally anticipated.

thegypsymama said...

Dear Dory -

I live close to TM. Can you adopt me as a project next?


blackbelt said...

I haven't read any blogs lately but I'm glad I started with your post! I needed the fun - my HH even chuckled over my shoulder.

I want to be Stacey.