As a remedy for the clothes-hoarding and esthetically-challenged, TLC (The Learning Channel) introduced the show What Not to Wear a decade ago. Since the show’s premier, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly have been guiding poorly dressed men and women to fashion nirvana.
With the aid of family and friends, Stacy and Clinton stages a fashion-intervention designed to shock and motivate the participant to change. Similar to substance abuse interventions, this part is usually surprising and emotional. After watching humiliating footage of their fashion mishaps, the participant agrees to hand over their wardrobe for a fully loaded debit card and week of intensive style-therapy.
Part life style intervention, part fashion show, What Not to Wear often uncovers the emotional and psychological reasons why people do not dress themselves well. Rarely does it have anything to do with money. The participants, many of whom are women, generally fall into the trap of undervaluing themselves. Some are baffled when trying to find what looks good on their bodies and others do not realize the message their clothes are sending out. Instead of taking pride in themselves, many of these fashion victims use their clothes to conceal their bodies in decidedly unflattering ways. What Not to Wear speaks to larger issues—the relationship between the fashion industry and self-worth and the heavy emphasis placed on appearances.
In the “dreaded” 360° mirror, Stacy and Clinton critique the women’s’ style faults and offer sample outfits. Viewers should take these lessons to heart; everyone makes these faux-paus and, thanks to What Not to Wear, can correct them without sacrificing their entire wardrobe. Clothes have a profound impact on emotions and should never hold people back. Aside from making good impressions, Stacy and Clinton highlight the role clothes play in boosting confidence.
With a new wardrobe, fresh haircut, and transformed make-up routine, the participant reunites with Stacy and Clinton to show off their new sense of style. While predictable, the fairytale ending is still valuable, and, dare I say it, inspirational. Viewers struggling with self-esteem issues and style choices see themselves in the participant and can rejoice in their journey.
From caterpillar to moth, What Not to Wear does more than dish out fashion advice. This show touches on the root causes of the fashion-challenged—self-worth and outward presentation. What Not to Wear inspires the participants to value themselves through their style choices. While the show is clearly geared towards the fashion forward. The inspirational message tis nonetheless present--not overt enough to be preachy yet not quiet enough to be ignored.
After a decade of dishing out fashion inspiration, Stacy and Clinton’s run is over. TLC acknowledged the show’s success but still cited August 9th as the show’s final episode. Fashion followers can still get their TLC-fix from the website (http://TLC.howstuffworks.com/style/fashion.htm).
In true What Not to Wear style, go out and purge your closet! Clothes equal confidence and confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear!