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The skinny on bad style

July 7, 2013
By SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER - Lifestyles Editor ( , Times Leader

Have you ever scrolled through photos on the Internet from some of those high-falutin' fashion shows in Paris, New York City and the like? Women as tall as skyscrapers (but skinny enough to hide behind a utility pole) strut down the runway wearing ridiculously outlandish clothes with ridiculously bouffant hair and ridiculously bright makeup. Completely and utterly useless styles for practical people.

Well that's how I feel about some of today's clothing styles for women. They're just ridiculous, and an outing to a local clothing store proved my point.

My goal for the last two months has been to find a few pair of casual shorts. I wasn't looking for anything fancy - I just wanted to have more than one pair of shorts to wear when I was running errands that weren't the same shorts I wore to Jazzercise. I hoped this store would have a nice selection.

All I had to do was take one glance at the shorts on display to know this was a big strike out. Every pair of shorts in front of me was so short - in some cases, I swear the hangers themselves were longer than the shorts. "Who would wear these?" I asked myself. "Why would you want to expose yourself to the rest of the world?" I mean, I know it's hot over the summer and all, but geez - a little modesty would be nice. Or maybe I'm just old fashioned or outdated.

I have no idea why I felt the need to quickly browse through the rack, but I did anyway, maybe just to give myself a good laugh. I even looked at the sign above my head to make sure I wasn't looking in the junior's section by mistake. Nope, I was looking at misses clothes. Those shorts were absolutely ridiculous. I don't care if you're big or little - nobody should be wearing those things.

Of course when I wandered over to the men's section, Justin had several clothing items in his hands. He looked at me curiously. "You didn't find anything?"

"Nothing that wouldn't get me arrested for indecency," I thought to myself.

Justin left with a pair of shorts and a necktie, and I left with frustration.

I hoped that a shopping trip to a different department store a week later would be a bit more fruitful. This time, I found some inoffensive styles that I could try on, but the fit was horrible. Too wide in the waist but super tight in the legs. Why in the world would I want to buy "skinny" shorts? I gave a pair of denim shorts the "sit test" - you know the one, ladies, where you sit down in your clothes to make sure you can still breathe. They were a no-go. A pair of "bermuda" style shorts were way too baggy, and I could have fashioned shorts out of a garbage bag that looked better on me than the next pair I shimmied into. I sighed, defeated and totally annoyed.

And when I came out of the dressing room, Justin was waiting - clothing in hand. I wasn't mad at him for finding something (again), but I was the one who needed stuff. In his defense, he bought a really nice work jacket for a great price. But still, feeling a little competitive, I scoured through the clothes again and took a handful back to the dressing room. And with each clothing failure after the next, my patience evaporated, much like the length of those shorts in the previous store. I left the dressing room empty handed and met up with Justin in one of the aisles.

"You didn't find anything?" he asked, emphasizing "anything."

"Does it look like I found anything?" I grumbled unhappily.

"In all those clothes you took back there? Nothing?" he appeared flabbergasted.

I said nothing. I'm convinced there were puffs of smoke escaping my ears. Justin put his arm around my shoulders and apologized sheepishly. "I'm sorry you couldn't find anything." His voice also carried a hint of guilt, perhaps since he was carrying a blazer to the checkout.

While he checked out, I stewed in jealousy. Lucky guy with no curves. Everything fit him.

As I looked around the store, I realized that it wasn't just the shorts that weren't flattering. Everything had some attribute of frumpy or indecent and there was no in between. Capri pants were all that "skinny" cut. If I wanted to wear skinny pants, I'd just wear leggings (which isn't going to happen anytime soon). Plus, since I'm sitting most of the day, I don't want to feel like I'm strapped into and subsequently ready to explode out of a tight, uncomfortable outfit all day long.

Tops are also questionable. Summery items have cuts that bare too much skin to make them work appropriate. Either that or they'll have really odd cuts, but they're so paper thin that you need to wear something under it - which won't look right because the cut isn't natural. Now what are we supposed to do with that? And pretty much all women's tops are see-through, meaning you have to wear a cami under everything. As my friend Natalie pointed out, it's summer - we don't want to wear 15 layers of clothes!

At this point, I felt like either the current clothes that I had were going to disintegrate off my body from over-wear, or I was just going to eventually bust out of them. Guess I just had to keep the same four outfits on rotation.

In a last ditch attempt to find something for summer, Justin and I made our way to the Highlands again last weekend. I had him drop me off at a clothing store while he went elsewhere. Surprisingly, I liked some of the clothes, and - BONUS! - they were on sale too. And when I tried them on, they fit! They even passed the "sit test." Woo hoo! I hit the jackpot - three pair of shorts and three tank tops.

I better get pretty comfortable with these clothes, though, and hope that I stay the same size and proportions. If present trends are indicators of what styles the future holds, then I'm due for my next good clothing find in 2015.

Hershberger can be reached at



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