TLC's What Not to Wear Show
The "What Not to Wear Show"
Would you be surprised if your best friend accused you on national television of being stuck in the 1980s? Have you considered picking your split ends an appropriate way to trim your hair? Do you look over your shoulder wondering if you're being secretly videotaped when you dash to the grocery store in pajama bottoms and an oversized sweatshirt. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then perhaps you're familiar with the fun reality show "What Not to Wear," which airs on The Learning Channel (TLC) in America.
What Not to Wear is hosted by the hilarious personalities, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, and is based on a British television series of the same name. Together Stacy and Clinton pick apart the nominated contestant's wardrobe, throw everything in a trash can, parade the victim (er, lucky winner) in front of a 3-way dressing mirror, and then send them off with $5,000 on a Visa Card to shop for better clothes in New York City. All in all, it's a pretty good exchange. A few minutes of embarrassment for a whole new wardrobe and a trip to Manhattan! Where do I sign up?
To make things even better, the What Not to Wear contestant gets more than just a new wardrobe. A hairstyle by Nick Arrojo and makeup tips from Carmindy are also included. All this, and the low-down from Stacy and Clinton as to what to shop for that will specifically fit your age, style and body shape.
Its a win-win-win situation. Except for those poor souls that aren't quite ready to give up their waist-high jeans, too tight tops, or shapeless coats. Cringe along with me here. They certainly know What Not to Wear! That's when the drama of reality television comes in...
What Not to Wear Clip
Watch What Not to Wear on DVD
With very few exceptions, you can't sign yourself up for this dream week of shopping in New York. The trick of the show is that the contestant has been nominated by relatives or colleagues. What Not To Wear follows the unsuspecting person around for two weeks shooting secret footage of the style disaster that is about to be corrected!
Eventually, Stacy and Clinton sneak up on the poor soul with cameras close behind, shouting out that they've been selected for What Not To Wear, (which of course means, "you have terrible taste, my dear, and we're going to fix it!")
Stacy and Clinton will make lots of sarcastic jokes, heaping harsh criticism on the un-stylish person selected for improvement. However, they also give specific direction as to what clothes, shoes and accessories will, and will not work, and why, from top to bottom. Some of my favorite advice has to do with selecting jeans that make you look less heavy and definitely more stylish!
Cheat-sheet polaroid photos of mannequins are provided to allow the contestant references of the "rules" for the new outfits for which they will be shopping. The contestant is given a quick low-down of the basics of What Not to Wear.
Then, the fun begins (or maybe not, as sometimes the contestant really, really hates to shop). Stacy and Clinton watch videotaped footage of the person trying on clothes and again make remarks about their progress, or lack thereof, towards better style.
On the second day of shopping, the hosts reveal themselves and usually help select appropriate clothes, shoes and even undergarments to improve the overall look of the participant.
What a Cute Top - Can I Borrow it?
Stacy and Clinton's What Not to Wear Book
Once the $5,000 is spent, the exhausted What Not to Wear contestant gets to go in for some makeover work. First stop is the hair salon with Nick Arrojo. Nick works magic with hair, from color to cut, invariably leaving the participant looking several years younger and fresher. He doesn't share the caustic, critical style of Stacy and Clinton, but Nick does offer tips on better haircare.
As with the shopping, though, some people are reluctant to cut long hair or go for a drastic change. Those episodes are not nearly as much fun to watch as others!
After hair, comes makeup. Many times, the contestant is an extremist - either no makeup at all, or way too much. Carmindy is masterful at helping people shape their brows and to gently coax them into trying a new way of wearing makeup.
After the makeover is complete, the participant gets to show off! First, they model three outfits for Stacy and Clinton - the reveal is always a climax of the show. Stacy has been seen to cry at some dramatic transformations! Then, the contestant packs their bags and heads home to show off their new look to family and friends and a big celebration.
The before and after shots on What Not to Wear are usually stunning and inspiring! Not only is it entertaining television, but you can usually pick up a few style tips for yourself just by watching. All in all, its one of my favorite shows.
The combination of humor, vicarious shopping, and the tranformative quality of just paying a bit more attention to small details makes What Not to Wear a show to watch.
© 2008 Stephanie Hicks