I hit the town at the weekend, all ready to blow the contents of my "A Little Something Just For Me" fund, only to find a barren wasteland of neon-green "shoo-boots" and denim hotpants.
It was shock-frock horror galore as I trudged from shop to shop, in the vain hope of finding something to fulfil my criteria of being: a) suitable for school, b) a bargain, and c) in a style that does not make me look like the bastard descendant of post-meltdown Britney Spears and Christina "Dirrty" Aguilera.
But let's just go back to the neon for a second. It may be an effect favourable to tacky nightclubs and inventive carnival-themed textile projects, but it is categorically NOT a fabric choice for daywear and hosiery. Yet its vast awfulness was all around me, on shoes, bags, T-shirts... I also feel obliged to warn you about something they are calling the "playsuit" - a tiny all-in-one affair, involving shorts so short, even Jordan would be offended.
I can barely imagine the fall-out, should I rock up to school wearing one of these. Staff would whisper. Children would cry. Parents would probably withdraw their offspring from the premises.
And please don't tell me that skinny jeans are still the look of choice - not when the trusted boot-cut allows me to look slim, feel comfortable, and still eat dessert.
Feeling brave, I actually attempted to try a pair on, only to ditch the whole idea when my foot wouldn't get through the leg. If my foot wasn't getting through, my thigh didn't have a prayer.
It seems I am beginning to waken to the knowledge that I am no longer in the "high-street fashion" age bracket. So where are the grown-up clothes without the grown-up price tag?
Louisa Leaman is a London teacher