The Idea

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I am watching the BBC version of “What Not to Wear” and for years, prior to this series even, I felt that I should write a book about what few pieces should be in every woman's wardrobe, be she a size 2 or s size 22. Be it 2005 or 2010, I think they would still be valid. My list has not faltered since 2000, so I believe this list is pretty standard. I feel I may appear cocky in thinking I can tell women how to dress. What are my qualifications? Several years in retail management, sales and visual merchandising. A lifetime of telling my friends and family what to wear and helping them shop smart (my mom “loans” me out to her friends for twice-yearly shopping trips to update their wardrobes). Lifelong subscriptions to almost every fashion magazine on this planet. Being a Size 2, a Size 16, and everything in between during my adult life (and always looking stylish, attractive and pulled together). Being on a strict budget and still attempting (and succeeding) in looking like a million bucks, and a voracious appetite for books on how to look great, how to color oneself beautiful, and survive on two black skirts.

I am a real person. I am not wealthy, I am not tall, I am not thin. I live in Suburbia, I do not have New York boutiques at my disposal. I have never owned a $300 pair of jeans or a pair of Manolo Blahniks. I shop at the mall and often at Big Box stores like Target. I internet shop on my lunch breaks. I think fashion is a great way to express oneself, but not a reason to go into debt. I believe all women in America can look great. Money, lifestyle and location should not be an issue in the 21st Century.

As a woman who has been on both sides of the fence – slim and able to shop in any store with success, and then heavy and petite and struggling to find stores that will cater to me, I feel as though I can give honest and USEFUL help to those REAL women in America. Those women like me.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Brilliant. You know – i think having a lack of wardrobe space ( i live in a tiny central London apartment) and not much money ( i work for a charity!) has really made me have to think that much harder about what i do have in my wardrobe. recently i’ve had to be ruthless and get rid of so much stuff – that was taking up space – but wasn’t making the daily ‘what shall i wear’ problem any easier. like you say – it makes sense to be smarter about what you do have – it’s so much more efficient – and easier! your list has helped me tons – im still muddling through – and im sure it will help a million other women out there.


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