Here’s ‘What Not to Wear’


Stacy Lon­don and Clin­ton Kelly are be­gin­ning their 10th and fi­nal sea­son of the tele­vi­sion pro­gram “What Not to Wear” on TLC.

I am go­ing to miss them. I love “What Not to Wear.”

The pro­gram be­gan in 2003 in Jan­uary and was based on a Bri­tish TV show of the same name. My grand­daugh­ters love it, and it is one show we can watch and en­joy to­gether — this one and the show where they bake cup­cakes with the weird­est com­bi­na­tions I have ever heard of.

If you have never watched “What Not to Wear,’’ the for­mat is that friends or fam­ily rec­om­mend some­one for a makeover. Stacy and Clin­ton then travel to that per­son’s home­town and sur­prise him or (mostly) her, in front of fam­ily and friends and with tele­vi­sion cam­eras.

Some sur­prise. The makeover can­di­date usu­ally thinks she is there for an­other rea­son; it is usu­ally pretty corny at this point.

The nom­i­nated per­son is of­fered a $5,000 credit card and a chance to go to New York and shop. The catch is that she has to take her whole wardrobe to New York, al­low Stacy and Clin­ton to trash it, and then shop by their “rules.”

Ev­ery­one sits down and watches videos of the woman go­ing about her ev­ery­day life in some­what bizarre out­fits. Stacy and Clin­ton keep up a run­ning com­men­tary on what a disas­ter the clothes are.

The woman then ar­rives in New York and un­packs her clothes. She is in­vited to show off about three out­fits she likes in a 365-de­gree mir­ror.

I don’t think any­body would look good re­flect­ing that many times.

The woman is told what is wrong with her out­fits and shown a mannequin with what Stacy and Clin­ton deem ap­pro­pri­ate at­tire. Then her old wardrobe is ri­fled through rather quickly, and with a few ex­cep­tions, the whole kit and ca­boo­dle is thrown in the trash, hang­ers and all. Even shoes.

Next, the viewer is treated to see­ing the woman shop­ping alone and try­ing to find some­thing that she thinks is ap­pro­pri­ate un­der “the rules.” Stacy and Clin­ton watch on a tele­vi­sion mon­i­tor and make catty com­ments about what the woman picks out. This part of the show can gen­er­ally end in a melt­down. The woman needs more di­rec­tion as she is bom­barded by cloth­ing choices.

It all sounds in­creas­ingly cruel up un­til this point. And the com­ments Stacy and Clin­ton make are some­times hi­lar­i­ous. And they are right. You have to agree with them.

But the next day, the woman is met in a depart­ment store by Clin­ton and Stacy. Here they ac­tu­ally show women how to shop, how to match pieces for a wardrobe, and how to en­sure that things fit prop­erly.

That’s the point of shop­ping their way: to find some­thing that does fit and does flat­ter a woman’s body.

And the more you do it, they in­sist, the bet­ter and eas­ier it will get. They never mock the per­son, just the clothes. They also ad­vise women to get clothes tai­lored to fit.

Next the woman gets a new hairdo and a new makeup rou­tine.

At the end of the show, the woman shows off three new out­fits with her new hair and makeup. Stacy and Clin­ton are amazed at the dif­fer­ences and give the woman lots of com­pli­ments and pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment.

Then the woman goes home to a party and re­veals her new look to the amaze- ment of her friends.

She then, about a month later, mod­els her new wardrobe and com­ments on how she is pleased with her new look.

What I like about the show is that the women who get makeovers are just or­di­nary women with body faults like any­one else. Some are over­weight; some are mid­dle-aged, and even a few were over 50.

No ma­jor al­ter­ations are done to their bod­ies: no surg­eries, no den­tal work or hair im­plants or wigs.

And they re­ally do look so much bet­ter. The trans­for­ma­tions are amaz­ing.

But most of th­ese women had a long way to go.

Most wore su­per-re­veal­ing clothes or su­per-frumpy clothes or were 30 years old and buy­ing clothes in the ju­nior sec­tion.

Some have even ad­mit­ted to wear­ing their daugh­ters’ clothes.

Any­way, it makes me feel a lit­tle bet­ter when I look in the mir­ror.

I don’t look as weird as those women do when they first meet Stacy and Clin­ton.

Paula Travis is a re­tired teacher from the New­ton County School Sys­tem. She can be reached at ptravis@ cov­

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