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For Christmas, my lovely mother-in-law* sent me a gift certificate to JC Penney’s so I could pick up some much-needed warm clothing. Being me (read: cheap as hell), I decided that I’d get the most bang for my buck by waiting until there was a sale and shopping the sale rack. Holy hell people, this was a mistake. I had forgotten that the sale rack at JC Penney’s is pretty much a scorched wasteland of ass-ugly clothing. I can deal with that since you can occasionally sift through the muck and come out with diamonds, but I don’t like shopping for clothes and need to be pretty psyched up to bargain-hunt at stores that are renown for being 95% shit** so it was an unwelcome surprise. I persevered and managed to come out with a pretty good haul*** in spite of that, but not before seeing some atrocious clothing. After I got home, I trolled the Penney’s website to see if I could find some of the worst offenders to post here. While I didn’t see all of these in the store, some of them are just so bad I had to share.

3-Piece Shutter Skirt, Shell and Jacket

I’m going to start by saying something nice: I guess the color is okay. I could rip right into the jacket, but that would be too easy. Instead, let’s look at the skirt. What the hell is up with the tiers? This looks like a recipe for bunching, pilling, pulling and making you look, in general, misshapen from the waste down. The biggest negative is that with that ivory-ish color, it just makes me think of is a layer cake. A really tall vanilla layer cake. I really don’t need people looking at my ass and thinking “mmm… cakey.”

Now, about that fucking jacket. Let’s completely leave aside the awkward sleeve length and the odd cut at the bottom (Why make that rounded? It may look good on some jackets, but this one is already a shapeless blob so please don’t.), I could only think of one thing when I saw this: it reminds me of Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket. The wide lapels in that shiny material will, without exception, call Hugh Hefner to mind. Not good for ladies’ work wear.

Gloria Vanderbilt Capris
I know that for women, once you have your first kid or hit forty (whichever comes first), you are issued a wardrobe full of unflattering pants. This is the only possible explanation for the mom jeans phenomenon.**** These, however, are beyond the pale when it comes to mom-pants. Super high waist? Check! Unflattering color for pants? Check! Poorly positioned and sewn fly? Check! Slash-front pockets? Check! Most importantly, note how closely tapered these are to the knee. It really looks like they fucked up and made a whole batch of white mom-jeans with too-short hems, thought about scrapping them, and decided to turn them all into cutoffs to at least get some of the investment back. Ugghhhh.

SJB Active Fleece Pants

I’m really only including these to remind us all of the pre-yoga-fad period when all stretchy pants had those awful cuffs on the bottoms. Dark times, ladies. Dark times.

St. John’s Bay Tie-Waist Fair-Isle Sweater
Plus-sized ladies have my sympathy when it comes to clothes shopping as the pickings are reportedly slim, but one area that completely confuses me is how most long cardigans or sweaters made in plus sizes are essentially designed to resemble robes. It’s entirely possible to make a cardigan that does not look like something you’d only walk outside in to check the mail, but alas, designers insist on it in plus sizes. Knock it off, guys. I mean, just make this button-fronted, change the lapels, or ditch the goofy fair-isle print on the bottom and – boom – not a robe. Any one of those things will do. It’s not that hard.

Celestial Dreams Sleeveless Zip Duster Robe
“Sleeveless Zip Duster Robe”? Bullshit. That’s a muumuu.

Aaaaand I’m spent. To give you an idea of how much shit is out there, note that I spent a grand total of ten minutes looking for these items. I’ll never get those ten minutes back, of course, but whatever. Sometimes you gotta spread the misery around.

*Not sarcastic. And, for the record, in spite of the overall tone of this post I did very much appreciate the gift certificate. Just sayin’.
** I was getting low enough on options that I would up buying socks as well, but I did find some sweaters, hats and mittens. Yay! Warm clothes!
*** Ross Dress for Less gives me the willies every time.
**** Or it’s clothing designers not bothering to make nice looking clothing for anyone but slender, specifically-proportioned twenty-somethings, if you want to be really out there with your speculation.