outfit on bed

A Comprehensive List of All of the Things I Cannot or Will Not Wear These Days

So, the clothing rental subscription I mentioned a few months ago came to an end in December, and I decided not to renew it: partly because there wasn’t enough new stock being added every month to make it worth my while, but mostly because I just couldn’t justify the cost on an ongoing basis.

As you can imagine, this has left me back at square one in terms of my ongoing wardrobe crisis: a fact that became painfully apparent last weekend when I open my closet to find:

* Two pairs of jeans, both of which look horrific on me, but which I’ve kept because I have to wear something.

* A selection of summer dresses, which are, of course, completely useless in the Scottish midwinter. (No, I can’t just “bundle them up” with tights and layers – partly because I absolutely detest tights and layers, but also because “bundling up” just makes me look like a badly wrapped parcel…)

* One long-sleeved dress which I still won’t wear in winter, because of the “tights” issue.

* A few pairs of cropped trousers, which, ditto.

* A couple of summery skirts.

* Approximately 50,000 jumpers, none of which go with any of the trousers or jeans.

* A random selection of t-shirts, leggings, workout gear etc, none of which were suitable for leaving the house in the deep midwinter.

I ended up wearing a pair of the jeans, with a jumper that was too long to be tucked in, but which looked really sloppy untucked, so I compromised with a good ol’ French tuck, only to catch sight of myself in a mirror unexpectedly and briefly wonder who the pregnant lady approaching me was before realising that, whoops. IT ME.

I threw the jeans in the bin as soon as I got home (Don’t come at me for the waste: they were old and worn as well as being hideously unflattering), and added 50% of the jumpers to the charity pile, so that’s me down to ONE pair of jeans and just 25,000 jumpers that don’t work with them. Awesome, Amber. Just awesome.

And I STILL have absolutely nothing to wear. Some of this is because I’m just horribly fussy, I know, but a large part of it is that, no matter how hard I try – and trust me, I’ve tried – I just can’t seem to find clothes that actually look good on me. I see plenty of clothes that look good on other people, mind, but as soon as I try them, the effect is totally different, and I just want to cry.

tennis bracelet

(Bracelet c/o Carat London)

To illustrate this, here is my comprehensive list of things I either can’t or won’t wear right now:

Skinny jeansmake me look like a parsnip

Slim jeanslook exactly like skinny jeans on me, why?

Wide-leg jeansmake me look as broad as I am tall

Flared jeansmake me look like I’m going to a 70s themed fancy dress party

Bootcut jeansmake me look like I haven’t bought clothes since 2003. Also hate the way they trail around the ground and get all ragged at the heel. Mostly just hate them, really. All that fabric flapping around your ankles….

Straight jeansalways look like bootcut jeans on me. Again, why?

Baggy jeansmake me look like I’m auditioning for a 90s rap video

Mom jeans – just straight-up horrific, basically.

Full-length trousersalways look like office wear from the 2000’s on me. Are what my grandparents’ generation would have referred to as “a nice pair of slacks.” No.

Flared/bootcut trouserssee ‘jeans’ above.

Wide-legged trousers – see ‘wide leg jeans’

Joggers “sports luxe” on everyone else, “this is what I slept in,” on me.

Dungareesmake me look like a toddler

Short dresses/skirtshate my knees

Maxi dresses/skirtsmake me look like a member of a religious cult

Midi dresseshave to be from the petite range, or they look like maxi dresses on me.

Bodycon dressesmake me look 6 months pregnant

Tights: hate literally everything about them

Shirtsmake me look like a waitress

Blousesmake me look like Barbara Cartland

Frilly thingsmake me look like a milkmaid

Cardigansalways absolutely massive these days, why?

Tunicslook like maternity wear on me

Short sleeveswe get maybe two weeks a year when it’s warm enough for me to bare my arms here. Yes, I run very, very cold. Have been known to carry a sweater with me even in Florida in August.

Three-quarter length sleeves: nope, sill too cold. Sorry.

Bright coloursmake me feel like a children’s TV presenter from the 80s

Almost all prints other than stripesjust hate them

Flat shoes including trainers – make my legs look stumpy. (Because they ARE stumpy)

Ankle boots: ditto the above.

High boots – look like wellies on me. Also normally too high for me to bend my knee properly, so they dig in to the back of my leg when I sit down.

outfit on bed

Which leaves me with:

* Cropped trousers, which I love, but can only wear when it’s warm enough for bare ankles, and which can veer a little bit “office wear” if I’m not careful.

* High heels, which balance out my stumpy legs and make me feel fantastic, but which are totally impractical for my current lifestyle.

* Leggings and oversized sweatshirts, which are what I wear at home, almost exclusively. They’re perfect for cleaning the house and working on my laptop, obviously, but make me feel sloppy and like I’m basically out in my nightclothes or something when I try to wear them anywhere else.

I should add here, just in case the caveat at the start of this post wasn’t enough for ya, that I’m talking purely about MYSELF here, and how I look in these clothes. I don’t think that EVERYONE looks like a parsnip in skinny jeans, or that maxi dresses are only for cult leaders, just to be clear. No, almost every single day I see women looking absolutely amazing in clothes that I could never, ever wear. So I’m not casting aspersions on anyone who wears this stuff here, I’m just wondering aloud, WHY CAN’T I? And what the hell am I supposed to wear instead?

That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way, but seeing as I’ve pretty much ruled out EVERYTHING anyone could possibly suggest to me, Iet me just ask which items of clothing YOU cannot or will not wear these days? Make a fussy woman feel a little bit better here, folks…

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books by Amber Eve
  • Ann fyfe


    Amber, you need to make your own clothes. Wat h a few you tube videos, that’s how I learned during lockdown. Have a look at some patterns on the fold line. If you want I can recommend some blogs and fabric stores. 🙂

    January 18, 2022
  • Myra


    This is the only post of yours that I really don’t understand. You look amazing in whatever you wear.

    January 18, 2022
  • Nicole


    I’m 9 months pregnant, so haven’t really clothes shopped in about a year now, but for the longest time it seemed like EVERY top was cropped. I’m tall, have a long torso, and prefer low or mid-rise pants and I swear most of the shirts I tried on didn’t even reach the waistband of my pants.

    January 18, 2022
  • Raquel Carter


    A uniform, maybe an equestrian attire, and call it a day… I’m being silly, of course. but you’d look amazing!

    January 19, 2022
  • jasmine


    Jesus, what can you wear?! I completely understand being so particular with the jeans, and tights a scarcely worn for me too. I don’t think there is anything I absolutely wont wear, but more things that won’t look flattering on my bust lol
    minae ♡

    January 19, 2022
  • JoAnn Moran


    I have a jean for you. It’s made by Wit and Wisdom. It comes in petite lengths. The mini bootcut in any color is magical. They’re reasonably priced and wash and wear well. I promise. They will make you look thinner and longer and you can run around with a little boy in them.

    January 19, 2022
  • Žanete


    Oh Amber, I feel the same thing about many of these items. My bane in life are jeans/ trousers. For my lovely pear shape I just CAN NOT wear anything that is not high waisted or I feel that my bum is half naked. And there comes the problem – anything without high percentage of stretch that fits my bum is too big in the waist. Also there is a big chance that jeans/trousers will fit in my hips and thighs, be tight and uncomfortable for my stomach but in the same time too big in the back of my waist. Isn’t this wonderful?
    So I have just chosen my battles. I will buy any trousers/ jeans that fit me and I can sit in them even if they make me look like a parsnip or make my legs look stompy. I WILL BE comfortable no matter what. It helps that the last time I had my pictures taken was 3 years ago. So I can and will pretend that my legs don’t look stompy in everyday life.

    January 19, 2022
  • mary


    What I realised in the last 10 years of fashion is that I just don’t like most “novelties” of the past decade and they don’t look good on me anyway. Ballet flats, maxi dresses, midi anything, weird prints, most oversize things, dungarees??? Lord no spare me the 90s childhood traumas.
    I feel like we were thrown in a vortex of experimenting in the 10s and now the new decade started all over again with new trends and different silhouettes. I’ve experimented quite a lot and I’ve come out with a list of things I like and look good on me. Then I have a list of “contemporary” things that with some tweaking may look good on me and that I like.
    It’s mostly the youngest crowd who dictates fashion and makes it look like adults wearing the silhouettes from 10 years ago is a cardinal, ageing sin. I wonder, who cares? I already did my fair share of experimenting and caring too much, I’m ok if a 15 year old thinks I’m old and frumpy in my skinnies . Most adults don’t care that much, they don’t need to be fashionable down to their socks to be accepted by their peers lol.

    January 19, 2022
  • Sarah


    This was a delightful and relatable read. I feel like a lot of us are going through a wardrobe crisis what with *gestures* that whole thing, but you’re doing it with bells on (not literally – I’m sure bells are on the no-wear list as well).
    This may not be helpful but I am also mum to a small whirlwind and my ‘uniform’ is short dress + cotton leggings + cropped cardigan (oft yemak or hell bunny paloma) with boots. Often the short dress is a knee/midi dress that I’ve shortened myself to give the leggings a fighting chance. But maybe that violates your thing about being too wrapped up? I have also been feeling like wtf is going on with mainstream fashion lately, but maybe that’s me being an elder millennial and out of touch with the youths. Anyway, good luck! I look forward to reading more about your journey to a happy wardrobe.

    January 20, 2022
    • Merry Pruitt


      Thank God style and fashion aren’t necessarily the same thing.

      January 21, 2022
  • Anne


    Have you tried corduroy pants? I look horrible in jeans, but corduroy is ok. A bonus: it feels warmer on the skin than denim.

    February 6, 2022
  • Ashley


    Amber, I can relate to this post! We have a similar shape and classic, ladylike style, and the silhouettes that have appeared in the last five years are difficult ones that tend to look sloppy on me.

    I *have* had (really!) good luck with high-waisted wide leg jeans/trousers **with pleats at the waist and a front seam or crease.** That last part feels pretty critical for those of us with hourglass figures, but I have to say, when I find a good pleated pant or jean, it really does make me feel like I’m a 40s screen siren swanning around, especially when I wear a pair them with Sorel wedge boots for the icy winter sidewalk-trekking. The wedge is my comfortable for me, since like you, I love my heels, and as a bonus, it makes my legs look miles long (which is a total fakeout, given that I am the human equivalent of a Welsh corgi. 😉 )

    Keep exploring … I happen to think that a good wardrobe crisis usually leads to some fun new discoveries in the end!

    February 7, 2022
  • Erin


    I have a collection of bell bottoms like I’m some kind of 70s time traveler, and I love it. I don’t even care if they look good on me, but I think they look a hell of a lot better on me than skinny jeans. I’m fully embracing the return of 2003, but mostly because I’m tall and that style works way better for me! I think you’ve said you have a longer torso and it’s definitely more difficult with pants. Either way, you always look amazing and we’re our own harshest critics. I guarantee most people who see you probably wishes they looked like you <3

    February 8, 2022
  • Jessie


    I really dislike skinny jeans on me personally – I’ve always said they gave me a lolipop shaped figure, but parsnips might just be my next go-to comparaison! But in the winter when it’s really cold, wearing them with super warm (and therefore really chunky) boots balances it out enough for me to find the sihouette passable. Plus, I get to wear boots rated to -20° or something ridiculous like that, and now I’m never ever going back to more fashionable shoes in the wintertime after getting used to the comfort and warmth!

    February 9, 2022