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"What Not to Wear" vs "The
Housewife Hoodie"

by Nikki Willhite

I have to admit that I enjoy watching "What Not to Wear" on occasion. There are some things about this show that I like. I enjoy it when I see other people starting to feel better about themselves. I can even get a little teary-eyed when someone seems profoundly affected by the show and the attention given to them.

However, there are several things that I find disturbing about this show.

Through the years I have developed my own fashion strategy,  and it doesn't involve buying shoes in rainbow colors. Nor do I feel the need to carry a different handbag with every outfit.

It is not uncommon for outfits on "What Not to Wear" to be purchased for upwards of $300. In the real world, most us of would not dream of spending so much on our clothing.

I don't believe most women want to spend their time transferring items from purse to purse as they dress each day. Nor do I believe anyone needs more than a few pairs of shoes in basic colors.

If you have lots of money, it is not a problem to buy expensive clothing. However, most of the people who come on the show are not in the position to spend the kind of money they spend in New York on clothing in their home towns after they leave New York.

In fact, most of the people I've seen on the show are much more prone to frequent sales racks and bargain stores. Most of us believe a sale is a good thing, and not something to be avoided because "sale items are pieces no one else wanted."

There are tremendous markdowns on beautiful clothing at the end of every season. Stacy and Clinton - how about teaching us how to take advantage of these sales? How about teaching us how to find quality clothing at stores where we can afford to shop?

I cringe when I see someone showing off a $300 outfit. This is not "investing in clothing". It is missing the opportunity to invest in our financial future.

I worry about people getting addicted to buying expensive clothing. I have my doubts about whether the guests on "What Not to Wear" will ever make such expensive purchases again, but clothing does wear out in time, and shopping can be addictive.

I fear that after getting a taste of expensive clothing, and a major shopping high, it might become easy to justify a $200 a month shopping habit. If it becomes an addiction, a credit card will be used that is not pre-paid, and may not be paid off at the end of the month.

Credit card debt can result in the loss of thousands of dollars. If that money were saved, instead of spent, it becomes a huge financial loss.

It is said that those who understand interest collect it. Those who don't pay it.

Here is an example. If you invest approximately $2,500 a year in the stock market, with a return of 8 percent, in 20 years that money will grow to almost $125,000. Make that over $300,000 for 30 years, and $700,000 over a 40 year period.

Saving money on clothing to achieve that kind of financial security seems a lot more important than parting with your hoodie.

There are not a lot of areas to save money these days. Life has gotten very expensive, and doesn't get easier as you get older. A majority of our expenses are fixed. Food and clothing are the major areas where we can be more careful, save money, and invest in our future.

Again, Stacy and Clinton, why not teach people how to dress well on a budget? Clothing does not have to be expensive to look good. You can still teach the same principles but use them to find clothing that is affordable.

"What Not to Wear" how about giving us a show that we can relate to in the suburbs of America? It takes skill to go into a thrift store and find that one "jewel" that we can work into our wardrobe. How about some tips?

Quit making fun of our jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. Teach us to find the good fitting pair of jeans, or more flattering colors for our skin tones, and let us be happy living on our income.

And when we are at home....dare I say it - WE WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE!

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! 

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