Say goodbye, Miss Junior USA (and hello to Karl)

I had to fight the urge to buy the Required Suburban Mom Uniform today. I wanted capri’s. I wanted yet another dull colored t-shirt. Practical, durable, tough, boooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnng, My inner junior miss wasn’t having it.

Why is all the cool stuff regulated to the junior section? I like tattoo-ish designs. I like bling. I even like me some low-rise. (Not ass-crack low-rise, just make-my-butt-look-smaller low-rise) Shopping today for the upcoming BlogHer conference, I realized that I could either dress like a teenager or dress like a school marm. Sure, I am trying to be classic in my 30’s. But why do I have to sacrifice any sort of style???? As a 31-year-old mother of two, am I allowed to be hip? Sexy? Not Stifler’s Mom -whorey…but subtle sexy.

I know this will come as a shock to my husband, who trips over my overstuffed closet and drawers daily…but I have nothing to wear. I’m not saying that in the, I have a closet full of crap I CAN wear, but choose not to wear way…I’m saying, I really have nothing to wear. Sweatpants and a tank top will not cut it in San Jose this weekend. And it occurred to me recently that I could either wear pre-children work clothes from 2002 that are too big, or I could wear post 1st child skinny clothes that are too casual for a conference.

I had to shop. For ADULT clothes. Not go to playgroup clothes. Not get dirty in the sand at the park clothes. But honest to God, adult clothing.

It wasn’t easy. But after two hours of hell on earth, including more shades of khaki than any one woman should ever try on, I emerged victorious. Crisp, fresh, tailored, skirt and blouse combo (did I just say “blouse?�). Hint of flash. Tons of style. I am the freaking Queen afterall. Can’t show up somewhere calling yourself the Queen looking like one of the help.

This is also a very longwinded way of me introducing a guest post. Karl wrote me weeks ago with a little post on we women and our clothing. I’ve been putting off posting it forever because #1 It’s fun to mess with Karl. I mean, he is a GUY going to blogHER (we all want to know your REAL motives) and #2 My site has been going through some wonkiness since the move. And #3 the Kaiser isn’t keen on any man chatting up his woman. It’s ok Karl, just buy the Kaiser a drink. Or five.

Ecru and Aubergine
by Karl Erikson

I was chatting with one of my bestest buds, Hilary, the other night. And as usual, the topic trains were zooming by quickly. We spoke about the porn film I’m producing (“Desperate Bukkake Ass Queens of Orange County”), about how use of the word ‘w00t’ should be reason enough for capital punishment, about euphemisms for genitalia (I’m still really pushing for “yabbamango” for the ladies), and about clothing.

Ladies, what is with the clothing? Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every one of you and I could look at you all day long in your various states of dress and undress. Seriously. But why the need for so many articles of clothing? I’ve had my share of girlfriends. And girl friends. Hell, I’ve even been married. I’ll just never get the fascination with apparel.

To me, it’s about the practicality. I have a closet (one) and a dresser (one). All the clothes I own could fit into a large suitcase. Even if I threw the five pairs of shoes in. I don’t need anything more than that. Underwear, tee shirts, shorts – that’s pretty much my every-day wear 90% of the year. I live in Florida. I also have socks, polo shirts, jeans, a few pairs of Dockers, a couple of suits, and ties. Oh, and shoes. That’s it. I’d show you a picture but you might freak out if you’re not used to seeing crime scene photos.

The beauty of having such a small selection of clothing is that I can be ready to go anywhere in just under three minutes flat. Movies? Typical shorts and tee shirt and sandals. First date? Polo shirt, Dockers, and loafers. First date at a really, really nice restaurant? Add a tie. Reading scripture at church on Sunday? Suit and dress shoes. Simple. I don’t have to freak out and deliberate. I’m decided, dressed, and driving in minutes.

But with women it’s different. It’s as if women ENJOY freaking out and stressing about what they’re going to wear. I can’t figure it any other way. Many of my female friends have more than just a walk-in closet. They’ve got adjunct closets in other rooms, too. And the closets are color freaking coded. “These are my ecru blouses, my yellows, my salmons, my reds, my aubergines…”

STOP. You had my eyes glazing over at ecru.

I have two pairs of jeans, no shit. Two. How many do you own? Hilary tells me she has five. I think that’s a really low number for a woman. I have friends who have dozens of pairs. Not dozens of pairs of pants, no. Dozens of pairs of just jeans. That’s friggin’ obscene, though I do kind of get turned on by the prospect of having so many pairs of jeans that I could do laundry maybe twice a year and get by just fine. What? I have three dozen pairs of underwear, I could totally make it happen.

This is a direct quote from our chat the other night, in which we debated the “need” for color-coding closets: “Well, when you have 40 pairs of pants and like 60 tops.” HUH?! Forty pairs of pants?

See, this is a major difference between men and women. Let’s say I have forty pairs of pants, just for the sake of ridiculous argument. If I’m walking through Sears or Clothes Whores USA and I see that they have pants on sale, I say to myself, “Well, I already have forty freaking pairs of pants” and I just keep on walking.

Not ladies. The idea of enough clothing doesn’t register with you. Women have some sort of brain defect that makes them say, “Ooh, 15% off. Those pants would go so well with that top I saw at Top Heavy, if I just pick up those flats I saw at Foot Fetish.” This is why getting ready for most of you requires at least several hours, plus a few weeks of pre-planning. You’ve got to go through the two bedroom closets, plus the closet in the study, the guest bedroom, and the entranceway.

Me, I enjoy not needing to consult Google Maps to find my fucking shirts.

So maybe you can explain it to me so that my feeble male mind can understand it. What is it with all the clothes, ladies? Wouldn’t it just be easier if you pared the wardrobe down to nothing but French maid outfits and Catholic schoolgirl uniforms? You know, the essentials.


  1. Hey, that is a low number of jeans, LOL. I’d probably have more if it was not capri and gaucho season.

    Ahem, women and men….we just don’t obsess over the exact same things but you men have things that boggle us as well ;).

  2. Men are so easy to figure out. Sex, food, beer, sports, and cars. There, that’s everything that motivates men. Nothing boggling at all about the male mind.

  3. Except the “I’ll keep these underpants with holes in the crotch” issue ;)….that IS boggling ;).

  4. There’s nothing motivating us to throw those underpants away. Until a WOMAN comes along.

  5. Queen of Spain says:

    When will you men just give in and ADMIT you look better, feel better and are just plain old BETTER when you LISTEN to us womenfolk and freaking buy new underwear already.


  6. I think it would be funny to do a ratio on articles of clothing I own vs. other consumer goods I have(games, dvds, cds, books).

  7. Oh, I TOTALLY admit it, Erin. And for the record, all my undies are in excellent shape. I can provide photographic evidence if necessary.

  8. Hmmm…..methinks I’m a shame to womenkind.

    No WAY I have 40 pairs of PANTS, much less jeans. If you put jeans, capris, cords, hell….throw in my Pajama bottoms…than I may have like 15, combined.

    I MAY have like 20 skirts.

    And shoes? Um, if you include my flip flop collection, I have like 15 pairs of shoes.

    I’m SO getting kicked out of the girl club.

  9. like most things in life, women use a lot of “feeling” when dressing themselves. what kind of mood are they in? sexy cleavage bearing top with pencil skirt or jeans and a t-shirt? for me, i need all the options i can get because lord knows i have all the emotions to match them!

  10. Replace “Clothes” with “Tools” or “Crap in the Garage” or “Video Games.”

    Each item is for a specific purpose. Plus, it’s fun to look nice sometimes. Sometimes when I’m not covered in childmess.

  11. It could be worse. The teenage styles are even more ludicrous on a woman MY age — and I still think I’m too young to dress like my grandmother. I think some smart designer would make a killing by targeting styles to those of us in the great inbetween.

  12. I so want to go shopping with you, Queen.

    Karl, what a well written article! I hate to admit how painful it is to admit you’re right. =)

  13. Sizz – I think you hit the nail on the head with the emotions thing; it’s the same reason women tend to overpack for a trip…that “just in case” factor makes us crazy sometimes.

  14. These are generalizations that don’t work at my house. Mr. Stapler is beautifully dressed and has the right slacks and ties and shirts all matched up with about 5 pairs of really good black shoes and some other colors too. He can spend houuuuuuuurs in Nordstrom (he also shops at Ross) just looking at shirts and ties. He has strong opinions, too! I will pick up a nice tie and he will say “Awful!”

    Me, I am a simple girl. I have 5 work outfits. 5 days in the week, 5 outfits, works for me. If someone assigned me a uniform, I would happily wear it. Shopping makes my head hurt (and I look like it).

    Karl – I will give you a sharp smack in the head about the French maid/Catholic schoolgirl outfit if I see you at BlogHer, so I would run if you see me coming.

  15. Queen of Spain says:

    -in my best Catholic School Girl taunting voice-
    Karl’s getting his ass kicked
    Karl’s getting his ass kicked
    Karl’s getting his ass kicked
    nana na na naaaaaaaaaaana

  16. Suebob – I hate to break the news to you, but your husband is gay.


    (I need a picture of Suebob so I can be on the lookout. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

  17. My husband is well-dressed too. We each have a couple of closets and 2 dressers each (granted, it took a lot of help from me to get him stylish). But I like a well-dressed man. Would never look twice at anyone wear loafers. I don’t even like the word loafers. Ick.

  18. I guess I’m just a packrat. I have enough clothing to fill a walk-in closet and a dresser, but I generally wear the same 20 pieces of clothing all the time. The other clothes are left over from my pre-mommy days, and some as far back as college. I can’t bear to part with them – they remind me of when I looked more hip.

    And I will say my husband dresses much better now that I’m around. Getting him to throw out ripped t-shirts and jeans was tough, though.

  19. I agree, there’s no reason the “cool” clothes should be relegated to the junior department. Stores just don’t get women.

  20. There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin. I guess it’s not really an abnormality in women because not ALL of them ever DO everything that Karl’s mentioned. I myself own two pair of jeans. I suppose I can attibute that to the fact that it’s hard as hell to get them to fit and I’m not about to have my ass hanging out just because that’s the fashion of the day.

    Which brings me to the fashion of the day.

    I’m sorry…. just WHO is to blame for women having a lot of clothes? How many fashion magazines are out there? How much money is put into the fashion industry WHICH IS AIMED AT WOMEN? And then we go and shit all over women for buying into it?

    I’m too much of a feminist (read: I want EQUALITY, damnit) to believe that women should first be sold a bill of goods (buy this magazine! be a slave to fashion! spend money on lots and lots of clothes that will truly make you look like shit!) and then be admonished for it.

    Will we never catch a break?

  21. Mocha – I can totally see how that can be true for some women but I don’t buy tons of things because the patriarch and advertising have brainwashed me…hell, I am a happily loved and chubby woman who just happens to like things. I have the tendency toward addiction and if I am not boozing, drugging or overeating what do I do??? Shop. Honestly I just like having a lot of choices and cute things, but that doesn’t make me one of those shallow “glitterazis” either.

  22. Queen of Spain says:

    Hang on a minute here. I love ya’ Hilary, but I have a hard time believing that. I mean, we all try and look hot for ourselves and that’s great. But if there were no men around, ever, and they didn’t express to us what they like…then we’d all look a hell of a lot shabbier. And those same advertisers play on that. And I think the point here is that those men can BITCH like Karl all they want about how they don’t understand how we have so many clothes…yet get all giddy and hard when we buy a new sexy outfit.

  23. Honestly though, I think other WOMEN are more critical of what women are wearing than men. Maybe I live in a bubble, but my husband could really care less what I wear or when I wear it.

    I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I am saying that it is not the same for EVERYONE and we cannot blame men and advertising for wanting to look good all of the time. I guess THAT was my point to begin with. Were I affected by advertising, I may be wearing stirrup pants right now and no thank you ;).

  24. OK, #1. This was a HUMOROUS essay, not a treatise on women and why they suck because they own more clothes than men. I generalized because it made things funnier and because to try and account for every exception to the rule would make it less funny. I wasn’t attacking anyone. I was making fun. Big difference.

    #2. Who is to blame for women having lots of clothes? I don’t think I even want to bite on that question because it smacks of generalized brainlessness and lack of personal accountability. However, it isn’t as if there are no women in advertising.

    #3. Men are to blame for everything. Sure, I get it. The planet is 53% women and 47% men. We have the upper hand.

    #4. If it’s because of men that you ladies are dressing up, then when go clothes shopping for BlogHer? Just show up in sweatshorts and tank tops, put your hair up, and don’t wear any makeup. It won’t bother me, seriously.

  25. Queen of Spain says:

    About Time Karl! I’ve been trying to get you riled up all freaking day. (insert my evil laugh here)

    And as for #3, don’t get me started.

  26. Erin, oh you’re TRYING to get me riled. ha. Wow. I just woke up from my nap and saw these new comments and thought I was being targeted by women everywhere. For the record, I’m a feminist, too. I think women should be able to buy as many clothes as their husbands allow. 😉

  27. Yeah, cause mine smacks me if I buy over $200 worth a week 😉

  28. Queen of Spain says:

    Did you not read my “it’s fun to mess with Karl” part up there?

    ANd yeah, Stupid husbands and their beatdowns.

    Kaiser just mumbled and then fainted when I told him I was going shopping for blogher.

    No, actually, he didn’t say a word. Weird. But he also just spent $100 on a pair of flip flops and a pair of shorts.

  29. Wow, for $100 those better be Swiss Army Flip Flops, where I can wear them, use them to open bottles, and kill and skin a bear if I’m stranded in the mountains. ha.

  30. I aspire to a guy-style wardrobe that consists of two pairs of perfectly-fitting jeans, a few perfectly-fitting t-shirts (white and black), one or two really sharp (and perfectly fitting) jackets/blazers and a dress and skirt or two (perfect fit, of course.)

    But I’d still need 100+ pairs of shoes. You know, as flair.

  31. Flair….awesome.

    I’ve been banned from buying more flip flops after the “incident” in Skechers the other day.

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