Make that eight. Might be a pair under the bed, too.

The temps were in the 70s this weekend, and I didn’t have a decent thing to wear. No tops, no bottoms, nothing.

Before I continue, let me properly define what I’ve managed to accomplish: The term is Catch-22, the best definition being “a contradictory or self-defeating course of action.”

Here’s my Catch-22: I refuse to buy new clothes until I lose more weight, and now I don’t have anything that fits. Well, there are a few dresses and suits, but I have little use for a biz wardrobe. I’m either bummy (fave), casual or biz-casual.

I do, however, have seven pairs of black pumps – stop laughing — and two expensive black handbags, meaning I can swap out flip-flops for heels, grab a purse and look relatively pulled together. I know I’ve had those purses for 10 and 15 years, respectively, and they still look great. Others have come and gone; God bless Coach.

I will likely splurge on a pricey, light-colored purse the new season, but it must have classic lines and be built to last. Yet if I spend more than $20 for a pair of capris, it’s a problem. What’s that about?


Same for just about all the clothes I buy lately, which ain’t much. I will absolutely lust after a linen outfit, but unless it’s at least 50 percent off the original price – and part of a “red dot” sale that allows an extra 15-20 percent off the lowest marked price – I can’t justify the expense.

Saturday, it was so nice out I was determined to get just one new top. I schlepped into Ross Dress for Less and bought a nice, white casual shirt for $7 (marked down from $38) and had to think about that for 20 freakin’ minutes. I was in what’s politely known as the women’s section (read: clothes for cows), and the selection was kinda sucky, as it is at most stores of that ilk. The attitude is like, “We only stock these things because we have to, and by picking the ugliest clothes on the planet, we’re hoping you won’t come back.”

Maybe I shop so infrequently because I don’t want to invest in clothes I believe are temporary. However, that doesn’t explain my closet, packed with pieces I can’t wear, including items still with tags for that Magical Day I’ll be small enough to wear them – “small” being a relative term.


All the mags say get rid of your “fat” clothes. Well, I would if I had any. Right now, there’s not much I can ditch. But 30 more pounds down the road, some organization, someplace, is going to get a lot of really nice things. Me, too. I’ll be able to get into clothes I haven’t worn in years, including about three pairs off shorts I wore back in 1997 on a cruise. I think they were size 14w.

In the interim, I guess I should step up my game. I do like wearing nice things, and would have had better luck snagging a blouse at my favorite store, Hudson Belk, at my favorite mall, Crabtree. Their women’s section is huge, featuring all my favorite designers. I like their “red dot” sales.

Most days, though, picking up a blouse or two is an afterthought, and I’m often too under-dressed for the mall. Catch-22.


You know what? These old habits kinda suck. I’m doing all these things to improve my health, yet I walk around dressed like a refugee with a stolen handbag.

Go figure.

When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking. ~ Elayne Boosler


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.