What Not To Wear, My Confession

My name is Patti and I have an addiction. I will watch What Not To Wear any time, any where. Reruns, sure. Double reruns, uh-huh. Shows that I’ve memorized, yeah.I rarely watch television, except for sports and some yummy HBO series. But there are several reasons this little show captivates me:

  • I love New York City. I have written about this love affair before. WNTW lets me roam city streets and peek inside downtown boutiques. I even thrill to the shots in the store dressing rooms, trying to guess if I’ve ever been there.
  • Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story? It’s so satisfying to watch a lovely woman become even more stunning and and polished. Their progression in one short hour is inspiring. We often get to see a huge leap in self-confidence by show’s end.
  • Stacy and Clinton give helpful advice about how to build a wardrobe, mix colors, accessorize, and move outside your comfort zone. I hear them in my head sometimes, telling me to “accent the smallest part of your waist” or “wear something other than black”.
  • They preach loving the body you’re in, embracing your shape, and they help participants move past negative body talk. They may shame a clothing collection, but I’ve never heard them shame a woman’s shape or size.
  • There is no mention of cosmetic surgery or a “procedure” that would enhance the participant’s look. The transformation, albeit at expert hands, is limited to wardrobe, hair and makeup.

I have my quibbles with the show too:

  • Stacy believes we all can “learn” to walk in high heels. Nope, not this 50-something. Stacy would be tossing out my lovely Clark’s, White Mountains and (gasp) Birkies, and I’d be in misery.
Hands off, Stacy
  • They are unrelentingly negative about thrift stores, and even about looking for sales. They preach the gospel of full-retail and Cost-Per-Wear for every item. I don’t agree, and I’d love to see them do shows with a $500 budget rather than a $5,000 one. Maybe the advertisers aren’t keen on that idea?

Is there a makeover show on TV that you enjoy? Or do you find them too frivolous/unrealistic? Have a great Wednesday.

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  1. I'm an American livin' the vida London and I almost never buy new Really. Ah the pleasures of pre-owned. At 50 years old for me style is about taking a fashion classic that's still got life left in it and trending it up. The Flippin' Fashion Industry (FFI) seems to have little interest in me, so visa versa. If you're not hunting for 2nd-hand treasure you don't know what you're missing. Sorry 'What Not to Wear,' you're out of step! http://huntresslondon.blogspot.co.uk

  2. Yeah … I have my quibbles with a lot of these shows as well. I can't do pointy shoes — I don't care how much they lengthen the leg, I am just not a pointy shoe girl.

  3. Darling woman – you've just made me feel so much better about being addicted to any of these types of shows! And – after decades of wearing them with ease – not feeling all that fabulous about having to wear high heels! Hey – thank you. I now feel now only like 'one of the girls' but ready to go onwards with what works for me in this 57th year of my life. Blessings – Clare

  4. Do you know I've never seen this show? We don't have television…but you make me wonder if I'm missing something. I think I'd agree about the shoes.

  5. I am fascinated by this show! The transformations are interesting, but about half the time I think Stacy and Clinton manage to homogenize the participant and erase the individuality from their look. Don't get me wrong, sometimes what participants wear is wholly inappropriate (or just holey) and some participants really don't seem to know what they look like, which is a shame. But many participants DO know exactly what they look like and they like the way they look. I say help them celebrate who they are! Vive la différence! Additionally, the focus on highlighting certain characteristics and downplaying certain characteristics makes me uncomfortable, because I feel that it reinforces the message that there is one right way to be (even though, as you say, I've never heard Stacy or Clinton encourage someone to lose weight). For example, some women come on with large breasts and they are fairly bursting out of their clothes. Stacy and Clinton tend to cover up "the girls" rather than, say, finding clothes that fit AND show them off, which is often the participant's obvious preference. And why is that wrong? Thank you for this opportunity to comment!

  6. I've watched the European versions and I find them so easy to watch as well as inspiring.I like how they put emphasis on the strong parts of someone's body .The tips are great and maybe when one starts with a total new wardrobe is good to invest in expensive quality pieces and then built from there into something a bit cheaper or thrifted.I can't do heels either.I feel I lose my balance.

  7. We have WNTW in the UK but with different presenters – Trinny & Suzannah – and they're quite bossy! I haven't seen the US version. Though I agree with you about comfy shoes. I love Clarks and am wearing Birkis right now!

  8. I have confessed to my love of WNTW many times…they really taught me so much and helped me get on the path to my makeover 7 years ago! I have to agree with the high heels…after my bunion surgery, I knew I would never go back. I ended up taking off my heels at the wedding reception and celebrating the majority of the evening bare footed (shh don't tell Stacy). I actually think you have a great idea…wouldn't it be cool to see someone do a show with a similar concept shopping with a budget in mind!!

  9. Gok is a British Chinese dude who hosts "How to look good naked", which I think is one of the original versions. He's great because he works on loving what you have too. He's so cute!

  10. I too am a Stacy and Clinton lover. And I have some ideas. About the high heels first. I am sure I could learn to walk in them. But I am unwilling to go through the pain to get there from here. I am partial to flats. Some birki's. Secondly, I think the problem I've seen on the show concerning thrift is that most of those things the shoppers have worn don't fit or have a really costume vibe. If that is what they are going for it would be a head to toe vibe and not just throwing something on. I think vintage that fits and is appropriate for the setting is super. So I would use the rules to pick out vintage too. And Gok Wan. What the heck is it?

  11. I haven't watched this show, but it does sound like something I'd enjoy. Heels aren't for everybody, and foot health and posture are more important than a certain look.

  12. I love this show too! Re-runs, anything! Even their "best of" or "1 year later" to see who had fallen off the wagon!

    I must admit I'd be happy to get $5000 but I suppose $500 wouldn't get you some of the necessities they say people need, as they would cost 1/4 that, like a suit, minimum.

    I also like Gok Wan but I have to admit, sometimes people end up looking older instead of funky. I know that some are dressing too young but I would hate to look too mature yet… 🙂

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