18 Signs You Need A Style Update

Who can angst over the latest pant shape when you’ve got to get the twins to nursery school, or indulge in a new wardrobe every season given your escalating property taxes?

You just hope you don’t look totally out of it, though unless you spend your days at Vogue and your nights being seen at the club scene, it can be hard to tell for sure.

Here are 18 signs you need a style update:

1.    Your earrings match your necklace, your jacket matches your pants, and your bag matches your shoes.
2.    Your mom asks to borrow your clothes, but your teenager? Never.
3.    You don’t consider fashion when clothes shopping because you figure it would break your budget. Hello, Target and H&M?
4.    Everyone compliments you on your vintage clothing. Which you bought new at a department store this year.
5.    You buy your favorite pieces in bulk, so when one white shirt wears out, you can replace it with a new one…exactly the same as the old one.
6.    You’ve stopped looking at the fashion pages because really, no one dresses like that, do they?
7.    When you were waiting to cross the street, someone tried to give you a quarter.
8.    Oh no! Your go-to clothing store went out of business.
9.    Mom jeans? What’s wrong with mom jeans?
10.    You still think things like skirt lengths and lapel widths determine whether something is in fashion.
11.    You don’t even bother asking your husband whether those pants make you look fat; you know they do.
12.    When you tell people you got that new shirt on sale for only $19, they don’t look even slightly surprised.
13.    Most of your favorite designers—Anne Klein, Liz Claiborne —are dead.
14.    You’re waiting to fit back into your really cool clothes—you know, the ones you last wore three babies ago.
15.    At the block party, you and your 85-year-old neighbor were wearing the exact same outfit.  And you both still call it an outfit.
16.    You’re wearing anything that has shoulder pads or square toes.
17.    You still think that ladies always wear hose and black is only for funerals.
18.    Black and navy, red and orange, floral prints and plaid: Those don’t really go together, do they?

The Cheater’s Guide to Spring Cleaning

We’re developing a kind of specialty in cheaters’ guides here at “the Ranch.”  We’ve tackled dieting, holidays, and now spring cleaning. Why is that? Probably because, unlike women half a century ago, we’ve got better things to do with our considerable beauty and brains than clean out the kitchen cupboard.

Here, a room-by-room guide to kinda sorta spring-cleaning your house, or at least making it look as if you did.


  • Donate all dented pots, bent forks, chipped plates and mismatched mugs and glasses to charity. Admire how clean and nicely organized your cupboards are.
  • Invite your local high school’s lacrosse team over for dinner, giving them the run of your refrigerator and cupboards. Anything that’s left after they’re finished can’t be worth eating: Toss it all, wipe off shelves and restock.
  • Sprinkle plenty of pine-scented cleanser, the heavy-duty stuff, around.
  • You know those really bright lights you’ve got over the sink, the stove and the counters—the ones that spotlight every crumb and water spot?  You need to put lower-watt bulbs in those.

Dining Room

  • Mom hand-washed and polished the family crystal and silver every spring, but thanks to the miracle of eBay, you don’t have to do that. If it cracks or gets tarnished in the dishwasher, you can find another one just like it for a couple of bucks.
  • Sure, sure, grandma waxed that table by hand seasonally for decades. Our answer to that: high-gloss polyurethane.
  • Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of the cleaning cheater’s best friend: Candles.

Living Room

  • Replace all those books you used to dust and reorganize with an e-reader.
  • Sure cure for ceiling cobwebs: Table lamps!
  • Wash all those dirty windows for a sparkling spring look. But only wash them at eye level.
  • This is the moment to convince your spouse that you need an antique Oriental rug in your living room: It goes with everything, never needs to be scrubbed and hides all stains.


Don’t spring-clean the bathroom when it really needs to be renovated. Instead of calling the cleaners, call the contractors!


  • Take everything out of your closet. We know it’s kind of cheating on your cheating, but if you’re going to actually clean anything in the spring, it should be your closet. Bonus: When you hone your spring wardrobe down to what really fits and looks good on you, you’re going to have to leave all this cleaning behind and take a very long shopping break.
  • As for the rest of the room, just buy a new dust ruffle and throw all the old newspapers, dirty underwear and, of course, dust bunnies under it. You’ll get around to organizing it by next spring and, if you don’t, no one will be the wiser.

Kids’ Bedrooms

Go all Tiger Mother on them and threaten that unless they clean their rooms thoroughly, you’re going to throw everything away. Follow through on threat.

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