Tina, here.

It's about to be that time of year when all the wrong straps make their way out of the layers of clothes you've been wearing and harass innocent onlookers to the point of wanting to nominate you for a "What Not To Wear" episode (hands up if you miss Stacy and Clinton).

Here's your list of wardrobe do's and don'ts, bad straps and more, in case you forgot what my voice sounds like rattling in your ear with these directives.

1. Do not show your bra or bra straps. Ever, ever, ever. Not even the pretty lacy ones that are being sold as actual "bra tops." Do invest in a racerback bra and a strapless bra. My favorite picks for the best bras, and other shapewear, are inside February's Style Vault.

You need a racerback bra.

This is just so tacky. When did it become ok to show your under garments to everyone. Never, that’s when.

Racerback tank and bra.

Ahhhh, now that's more classy. And guess what, if you don't have a racerback bra, try this trick...

Tame the bra strap.

If you don't have a little barrette, you can try the Strap Perfect, available here. But really, your best bet is to get an actual racerback bra.

2. Do not wear (wide) ankle straps with skirts and dresses. Narrow ones are ok in some cases, when they hit across the narrowest part of your ankle. Wide ankle straps really never are. Do wear your ankle strap shoes under pants and jeans, so the strap doesn't show. Or in some cases with ankle jeans.

Ankle straps or no

Look left. I meeeaaan, really? Surely you can see that this is not a good look, even on someone with bird legs, like me. Now look right. So much better! Legs look longer and ankles look narrower. That's why we are forever talking women out of their t-strap and ankle strap shoes, because they make your legs appear shorter and your ankles wider! Now you believe me, don't you?

3. Do not wear a long-sleeve shirt under a short-sleeve shirt. I mean, are there still people out there doing this reverse layering party trick? Yes. So stop. If you're cold, wear a sweater or a jacket on the outside, like normal people.

Huge pet peeve of mine. Huge. It's just wrong and makes no sense at all to wear your clothes in reverse order.

4. Be careful with the ripped/shredded jeans trend that is everywhere. If you're a cool, hip, young thing or can pull it off as a middle-ager, go for it.  Otherwise, you'll look homeless or like you're trying to date your son's friends and that's gross. I do have a friend who is in her 40's, and she wears ripped jeans. She's way cool. I might be able to think of one other person who can do this, possibly my sister. But the majority of us look like we're trying too hard to be trendy. You can, however, pull off the frayed hem jean. This trend, I love. Which is saying a lot for me.

ripped jeans

Yowza. Way too many rips and shreds happening here for me.

frayed hem jeans

Now frayed hem jeans, I love. Any age can pull them off well. It's a trend, so don't overpay for your frayed hem jeans because we will make you get rid of them before too long and you'll be slow to do so if you're still sour about how much you paid.

5. Last spring it was all about sheer panels. This year, it's the crop top. Do not attempt a crop top unless you are impersonating Britney Spears for Hallowe'en, or you are still under the age of 28. Or, if you really do know how to wear one, you'll know that a crop top can only be worn with a very high-waisted pant, which is another can of worms altogether.

You're not really thinking of doing this, are you? No I didn't think so. So let's just all laugh at what it would look like if I tried to be all hip in a crop top. It's not pretty.

The half tuck is weird.

But what I am afraid you might try to pull off is the half tuck. I'm all for the unstudied casz look of someone who's not trying too hard. But this is trying hard not to try hard, kinda like you dolls who are high maintenance but think you're low maintenance. So unlike me. Ha.

Look, we're just trying to keep you from looking stupid.  We want you to be stylishly and fabulously current and modern, but certainly not outdated or look ridiculously too young or old. Mkay pumpkin?


Here's me looking pretty out of place in ripped and shredded jeans and a wife-beater tank. But Deidre looks totally hip and cool in her ripped jeans and floppy hat because (a) she's hip and cool and (b) she's still in her 20's. They can wear almost whatever they want.


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Stay warm and all the best,


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Thank you Deidre DeFelice for the photography!