"The Chew" Outfit

So... after speaking with one of "The Chew" producers, who said I could wear black pants or jeans and a jewel-toned top, I sped off to the mall in search of the perfect ensemble.

Before leaving the house, I asked my husband if he had any suggestions.

"I think you can't go wrong with a nice, button-down Oxford shirt," he said.

I dropped my purse and barked, "Dude, I'm trying to win this thing and unless the judges are lesbians or Quakers, I don't think that's gonna do it! And what would I pair that with? A nice orthopedic shoe? And when they ask what I like to bake, should I say, 'treats for my 17 cats?!?!'"

He merely shrugged, so off to the mall I went. As I mentioned when I was shopping for an interview outfit, when you don't need anything, gorgeous fashions abound at sale prices, but when you must have the perfect creation in under 48 hours, you cannot find a thing. (Where is Kate Middleton's stylist when I need her?)

After disappointing strolls through stores like White House Black Market, Ann Taylor, and her cheaper little sister Ann Taylor Loft, I popped into my old favorite: J. Crew. I think "J" needs a reality check. I nearly toppled a headless mannequin after the shock of happening upon the "toothpick" jean. This item upset me on a number of levels.

First, aren't we sending young girls (and 43-year-old moms) the wrong message if we're aspiring to be "toothpicks?" Weren't skinny jeans shaming enough? Secondly, my legs are more like fully-loaded shish kabobs now. Thirdly, do you know what they're priced at? $188! (That's why I almost knocked down the dummy.) Initially, I thought I must've misread the tag. Surely, for $188 I ought to be able to buy a barn jacket dipped in gold, right? Maybe if these pricey pants reduced cellulite while massaging your buttocks that would explain it, but as far as I could tell this denim didn't contain any super powers.  You know what jean I'd like to see made? The "Fat Ass" or better yet, how about the "Holy Crap, I've Let Myself Go" jean. Now that sounds like a pant I could be comfortable in.

I left deflated. Next, I went to Macy's and somehow ended up in the Sparklepony section, where it seemed someone on crack was let loose with a Bedazzler. Even the Bratz dolls would turn up their small, plastic noses at this sh!t. No wonder the department store kept sending me so many coupons, how else were they going to move all this rhinestone-encrusted junk?

From there I headed to Anthropologie, where I can always find something I love, I just can't always afford it. It was there that I purchased a pumpkin-colored top and dark, stretch jeans that would allow for the freedom to manipulate the dance moves that may just win me a night on the town with Carla Hall.

I went home, got the approval of all the men in the house, including a "that woman looks hot!" from my 8 year old, which I'll worry about after I make a fool of myself on national television.

Naturally, I was psyched. I'd done it in only 90 minutes and for under $200. And then... I got an email today suggesting I have three outfits ready to go in case another contestant or host is wearing something similar. It also advised wearing a cocktail dress. Yikes! It goes against my nature to wear a cocktail dress (and heels!) if I'm not actually having cocktails. (Aren't the drinks necessary to help counteract the pain of the shoes?)

Also, I'll be wearing a light purple sash, which even the colorful-Croc-wearing Mario Batali will tell you totally clashes with pumpkin! So, with less than 24 hours to go, I'm back to the drawing board. Unless, of course, I can stuff myself into one of the dresses I already own and risk looking like a sausage.

On that note, I tried on a lilac favorite of mine, took a selfie and sent it to my mom for her approval, as clearly my husband, with his bent toward Amish-style fashions, can no longer be trusted.

"I love it, honey, you look great. I can iron out those wrinkles if you want," she said.

"Those aren't wrinkles," I whined, "that's the material being stretched across my thighs."

When I showed my husband, he said, "Maybe put on a girdle."

"I'm already wearing one," I screamed.

And that's when he and my mom both said, "Well, then, I think you'd better keep looking."

So here I go...

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