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OK- I received a request last night from a fellow Clever Girl (Jennifer- to whom little of this pertains because she is six foot tall, blonde and gorgeous) who asked me to address women’s fashion. A lot of this is relevant to you guys, because you are next on my list. Further, I want your feedback as to what “looks” you dislike on women and why.

As one of the largest industries in the world- fashion drives countless magazines, hollywood, TV, movies, reality shows and has even generated movie star quality stars. When the runway has been taken down- we are the poor commoners who have to figure out how to wear a completely sheer dress with nothing under it. Hmmm. My thoughts?

Just because it is on the runway or Sex and the City does not mean it will translate to real life or the side walk. Further- nine out of ten thought Carrie looked ridiculous nine out of ten- she is eclectic and if you try to pull a Carrie-esque outfit off, you’d better be able to. This is hit or miss and a miss is a direct hit.

Now- enter the real world, where Clever Girls actually shop and for the most part it isn’t Chanel, Neiman Marcus (though I do love, love, love), Gucci or Prada- many of which comprised Carrie’s vast and whimsical wardrobe.

The point is, as I pointed out to (original Clever Girl) Pam, cheap is not the same as inexpensive. We all love inexpensive, a good deal or on sale- but I advise against cheap. Cheap to me means poorly constructed, ill-fitting and made with inferior quality materials. After all, what does it matter if you buy a shirt regular price for ten dollars if it doesn’t make it through the wash cycle? You might as well have been holding the ten dollar bill when you burst into flames after your lit cigarette collided with your high alcohol hair spray and synthetic fibers.

Clever Girls take the time to make quality purchases- I have clothing I wore in high school- it cost a bit more, but when Forenza comes back in fashion- the eighties and I are going to reign supreme- look out!

Shop at outlet malls- this is a treasure trove of high quality merchandise, but beware of that really cool dress you can not figure out how to put on- keep on or hang up. I know it’s by Versace and it’s priced really low- BUT, there is a reason there are fourteen of them at the Neiman Marcus outlet- they aren’t cut properly- FOR ANYONE. Unless you simply want the honor of Versace living in your closet- move away from the garment.

Let’s begin with COMMON SENSE (I put it in all caps, not because I am yelling at you, but because you would think it was common sense) and talk about some fashion f&^*^% ups (Alisa, Clever Girl co-hort and co-author of Clever Girl’s Guide to Being a Guy’s Girl- helped me generate the list).

Do NOT wear stockings with a run in them. ALWAYS carry an extra pair- in a baggie, in your purse. Why? Because it is gross. If you must wear stockings- commit to the process and wear them well. If you can’t seem to manage stockings, wear tights. Side note to that, and this might be a personal preference, but I like anything worn from the waist down to be the same color. Skirt, stockings (if you must), and shoes. For the career woman- invest in a lot of black, chocolate and navy from the waist down, this will prevent you from having to buy a ton of clothing or shoes- mix it up and elevate the look with a larger variety of tops and jackets.

An ill-fitting bra makes you look fat, even if you’re not. If it’s too tight, it creates what could be seen as (gasp!) back fat. If it’s too loose, your breasts will not be secured properly leading to the collapsing cup or saggy breast look (barf- don’t we have enough problems?).Side note to the bra- if you want your straps to show- wear them loud, proud, bedazzled or in a corresponding color- coordinating with your outfit. If you don’t want them to show- do not wear a bra that has straps which show. Disregard the garment if you must- or go without a bra if you can. It is distracting to watch a woman manage her straps all night and more distracting to see an amazing dress with a strap flopping out. This goes to all hanging straps and tags- get rid of them if they can’t be managed (kind of like the person you’re in a relationship with). A great many women ask me about the clear bra strap- I have mixed feelings. Wear it if it wears better than braless- but know, you are not fooling anyone. It is visible.

I have a hard time believing I have to talk about panty lines- but I must. With all the relatively “seamless” options available- go get some. It will destroy a look faster than baby puke on your shoulder. Most men are “ass men”, so they are looking. Oh, and non-Clever Girls are talking behind your back so they have a great view of your seat.

Belts- hmmm, belts originally were designed to hold up your garment- as to how we started wearing them on the outside of sweaters, which, honestly, could make Kelly Ripa look big- so if you are smaller than she is- go for it! If you aren’t, please make sure your belt is well chosen to compliment your figure (no matter what size it is) instead of making you look like a trussed roast.

Your toes are not supposed to overlap the end of the shoe and grip them. This is the sign of an ill fitting or worn out shoe- not attractive. If you hear a tapping noise while you walk- and this can happen to a shoe in any price range- the nail is sticking out- GET IT FIXED or THROW THEM AWAY! Worse than looking cheap is looking AND sounding cheap.

Shoes without a heel cup of some sort should not be worn with jeans- why? Because every time you take a step, the jean jets stuck between the heel and the shoe, which is as annoying to the viewer as the wearer. Try a boot, a pump or a strap at the ankle- or, a cropped jean.

Work shoes- belong at work. Enough said on that subject- and yes, there is a difference unless you wear fashion attire at work.

Further- don’t assume black shoes go with every dress- they do not. I need to see some black in the dress to justify it. You went to the trouble to buy the cute dress- it looks fabu on you and you destroyed it with black shoes. Not acceptable. I am not suggesting you spend a king’s ransom on a pair of shoes- but make a freaking effort.

The Juicy Sweat Suit (or any other sweat suit)- if I see one more over weight woman with Juicy on her ass, I am going to slap it. Literally. Scratch that- I might get sued or propositioned. How freaking gross is that image? Save it for some sub-culture of not Clever Girls who think that is sexy. If you do have a few to many extra pounds on you- the crop top, low rise sweat outfit is not your friend- try a more generous fit. I have heard men snicker about women who wear “work out” clothes who clearly don’t work out- but let me tell you boys- we have not noticed you are hiding considerable bulk under your perfectly dry and unwrinkled workout apparel.

If your buttons are pulling apart- your shirt is too small. Wear a tank under it and unbutton it, or try a lovely bra which is meant to be partially exposed- or here’s an idea- buy a bigger shirt.

No one wants to see the exposed T of the thong- puke. Boy shorts are where it’s at ladies and while they don’t work very well under jeans- have the courtesy of wearing a low rise thong- not everyone is interested in seeing it.

Ass crack- really? Do I have to address this? Who decided any jeans should be this low? Further- there are about four women on earth who can wear them without exposing too much- they are all about six feet tall and size two. For the rest of us who are of average height and weight- it will be nuclear (at least 60% fall out).

For going out- I have only one hard and fast rule and no, it isn’t about white.

You may show cleavage, legs OR back- more than one is risky- all three and you deserve what you get (unless it resembles a scene from “The Accused”).

On showing cleavage and back- you should most likely be wearing jeans or pants with a shirt which Cleverly exposes a hint of one and more of another- all of both and you’d have to tape it on your body. Now- legs below the knee, back and a hint of cleavage is ok as long as the dress is well made and screams quality- if it looks cheap, so will you.

Yes, there is a such a thing as too short and it has nothing whatever to do with age (applaud Sex and the City for raising the hemline)- if you have the legs to go short- do it. Don’t fool yourself though- if it weren’t you, how much would you really want to see? Use that as a barometer. If you have some “issues” with your thighs- don’t air your dirty laundry in public- just above the knee or below the knee is just as appealing.

Whoever said “a dog is man’s best friend” and “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” has never owned a really fabulous pair of jeans. Jeans are the common denominator in fashion- I love seeing a woman out in jeans, which fit her perfectly (old and weathered or spanking new- let’s try not to linger on the word spanking, shall we?) accessorized with a slinky shirt or t-shirt and fitted jacket and heels.

I’ve always said “it all starts with jeans and a t-shirt” because in most relationships, this is where we spend our time- so make sure they work for you. Gone are the days of boxy tees and shapeless jeans- but keep in mind, just because it’s in style doesn’t mean it is the right look for you. Low rise jeans on women who spill over the top- they don’t call it a muffin top for nothing- a slightly high, looser cut would be a better idea.

Check for hints on jeans for your body type and other helpful hints. If you don’t believe me.

It must be said- Clever Girls do not snicker at other Clever Girls. We are a tribe. We make an effort and who the (*&! are we to judge anyone?