What Not To Wear

Don’t you just hate those proclamations? I do. What not to wear was a very popular television show about 15 years ago which I could not watch. The premise was that a style “felon”, who was nominated by family and friends, would agree to throw out their current wardrobe and be given $5,000 to go shopping for a new one.

Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, and the viewing audience would watch this “felon” (not my word) shop while the two hosts critiqued what they chose. I couldn’t watch it without my stomach-turning. Seeing a woman ridiculed for her shopping choices may have made for interesting television but I felt they were needlessly demeaning her.

Whew…OK, I got that off my chest. Now let’s talk about what not to wear. The things we choose to not wear for no other reason than the limitations we put on ourselves.

Doesn’t it always seem easier to narrow down the styles and fashion you would absolutely never wear? The ones that feel too old for you.

For me, there are several things starting with orthopedic shoes because although my feet would feel wonderful in them, they make me feel ancient. That means I’m always on the hunt for comfy shoes with a modicum of style. You’ll also never see me wearing elastic waistbands, that show. I love the easy comfort of pants and skirts elastic waistbands but I never let them show.

How about the fashions you’d never wear now because they seem too young for you? The ones you’d feel silly wearing lest someone thinks you look like “mutton dressed as lamb”.

What about fashions we won’t wear because of our aging bodies? Sleeveless comes to mind as does short items where our knees and elbows are on display. Why are we limiting ourselves at a time when time itself seems so much more precious?

There is a style that never seems to look too old or too young. It’s classic style. A pair of chinos with a button-down doesn’t look appreciably different on a 15-year-old or an 80-year-old. What is different is how you style it and the accessories you add. That makes classic garments ideal for investment dressing so you can buy fewer items of better quality.

And so right about now, I’m reconsidering trends. I know they help to keep us looking current, but at what cost?

I would love to know, is there a style you avoid like the plague because of your own prejudices?

Be well and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.




This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Janis
    February 24, 2021 / 6:53 pm

    I am somewhat self conscious wearing sleeveless in public, but when it is unbelievably hot, they sure do work wonders on keeping me cooler! I would not wear cold shoulder tops, low cut tops, or skorts. I loved WNTW and always wanted to toss nearly everything in my closet after watching it. Stay safe and keep up the good work!

  2. suzanne
    June 13, 2020 / 10:40 pm

    I like that you talk about the importance of accessories. I have no idea how to accessorize and I do it sometimes but usually give up. I would love to read more and see more examples of how accessories help or hinder outfits and style.

  3. Shelley
    June 4, 2020 / 1:13 am

    WNTW was a guilty pleasure for me. I understand your point but fortunately most of the participants seemed quite happy in the end.

    I agree with you that classic modified with personal style and accents is a great way to dress and doesn’t require total reworking as we age.

    What I will not wear: clothing with manufactured holes to simulate wear (especially jeans). I just imagine people in the factories where these items are made thinking how crazy this fashion is! (Not that it’s the only crazy fashion.)

  4. Jackie
    May 31, 2020 / 9:47 pm

    Loved WNTW! Clinton and Stacy dished out some tough love (admittedly, some episodes were hard to watch), but they gave us all great tools and rules.

    My current challenge: Giving up high heels and a carefully cultivated collection of beautiful shoes (due to Osteoarthritis in both knees) for less than attractive comfort line sensible shoes…and, having to adjust my wardrobe accordingly. It’s been a struggle (and a bit of an identity crisis!; lol), but it’s where I find myself.

    Things I Love: Princess Seams! Fit and Flare Dresses, Fitted Jackets/Blazers, V and Scoop Neck Tops (that just skim the body), Slim Ankle Pants, Accessorizing with Jewelry, Scarves, and Hats.

    Things I will NOT wear: Frayed Jeans (Frayed/Distressed Anything really), Cold Shoulder tops, Capri’s, Cropped Anything, Pleated Pants, or Crocs.

    As a Texan, I still wear shorts in a sensible (age appropriate) length and sleeveless tops, but carry a cardigan/light jacket (for A/C ). Lightweight fabric swing dresses are also great to beat the heat

  5. Nancy
    May 29, 2020 / 12:28 pm

    I have recently discovered knee length dresses are really easy to wear, tights in the winter and bare legs otherwise. I do wear trainers and Mary Janes and water sandals (like Tevas) as I have troubled feet, but I stay grateful for well functioning feet. I love pearls, linen, no lace but some ruffles, stripes, black, hiking pants, white jeans. Who knows what my style is, I can’t figure it out.

    You asked about prejudices, mine is animal prints! and now snakeskin!
    Reading about fashion lately has been hard with the huge emphasis on both of those.

    I agree with others, all these comments have been very interesting.

  6. Rose
    May 28, 2020 / 7:27 am

    I liked to watch wntw but I agree the people were usually way out of touch with styles. It made for better TV! I avoid sleeveless but not because of the look of my arms but mostly because of a skin condition. I’m always on the lookout for a great body makeup. I’m still trying to find some pull on pants, I’ve never tried them other then leggings. Great post!

  7. Joan Lynch
    May 27, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    I had stopped wearing sleeveless for awhile, even though I had so many pretty tops. A couple of years ago I decided what the hell and started wearing them again. I noticed a couple of things: at my age, pretty much the only one paying attention to me is me, and if someone would criticize me I don’t care anymore. I don’t wear anything sheer or short or tight, because I don’t like how I feel or look in them. At my age (62), I am just grateful for the good health that lets me get dressed up and go.

    • Cyndi
      May 28, 2020 / 7:46 am

      LOVE your observation “the only one paying attention to me is me”. Stealing that to apply to myself!

    • kate
      May 29, 2020 / 4:32 pm

      Joan, I feel the same way about going sleevless. If I’m hot, I’m wearing them! I love your statement about nobody watching us but ourselves. And I too am so happy for good health! Cheers to you!

  8. Jill
    May 27, 2020 / 4:45 pm

    What I liked about WNTW was that they never critized a persons body or weight. Never told them to lose weight. It was all about dressing for the body you have.

  9. Janey
    May 27, 2020 / 2:30 pm

    I watched the English version of that show, with Trinny and Susannah. I also did not like the underlying shaming, but a lot of the women did seem to be revitalised afterwards. I won’t wear 3/4 length sleeves as I somehow equate them with old age. Even though I am a granny myself! And I am happy to show my untoned arms. Comfortable shoes and comfortable waists are important to me too, but I still like the shoes to be relatively stylish.

  10. Ann
    May 27, 2020 / 2:16 pm

    Also a HUGE fan of Vionic….and loved WNTW when it was airing. I thought they were critical, but basically kind. As a person who always thought I had to MATCH, I learned that things have to GO TOGETHER, but no necessarily match. Also learned about things that are ” a pop of color”. And, most of all, I remembered to get rid of all my holiday sweaters when I retired from teaching!!! Agree with you …you can’t go wrong with classics!

    • Deborah
      May 28, 2020 / 9:52 pm

      Love, love Vionic shoes! Just wish they would make them in Narrow widths. So comfortable. I use their half and full insoles in my shoes, even my gardening shoes!

  11. Nancy Fraze
    May 27, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    I don’t wear frilly, bows, or crop tops. I avoid crew necks and capris. And boob pocket tees.
    I like tailored but not boring. I’m creative and artsy and want to project that in a business environment.

    Current concern is updating makeup and hairstyle to be stylish and modern.

    Pilated foot work transformed my problem feet!! It took about 1 1/2 years but my flat foot has an arch and the plantar fac issue is gone. Highly recommend.

    • Tensil Clayton
      May 27, 2020 / 3:46 pm

      Did you but the foot equipment designed by Joe Pilates to correct your problem? Or just foot exercises on the reformer or mat? I have foot problems so am interested in your advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any images or written material is strictly prohibited without express and written permission from this blog's author and owner. A Well Styled Life® a registered trademark.
| powered by chloédigital