I love TV. I don’t watch it much, so that’s probably why it’s so enjoyable. I especially love the TLC show “What Not to Wear.” The hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, are not only fashion-forward, but smart, witty, and hilarious. Basically, I want to be like them. Stacy double-majored at Vassar in philosophy and German studies. Clinton has degrees in communications and journalism, plus he’s adorable. They’re not just well-dressed, shallow airheads; they’re cultured, well-traveled, and articulate. And the people on the show…wow. As outrageous as their terrible fashion senses are, I always see bits of myself in them. All of these elements mesh together for some hilarious, and didactic, entertainment.
I really do credit this show with the evolution of my wardrobe. Although it is still changing for the better, my “look” has come a long way, and it took just a year of deliberate efforts (wearing a jacket instead of an old sweatshirt), some difficult subtractions (not buying band T-shirts at concerts), and important shopping decisions (red wool coat for fall, or houndstooth?). I am guilty of parading around in such fashion don'ts as Birkenstocks with socks, a blue shirt with a hippo on it that says 'hip' (a failing attempt to convey a message that I myself clearly could not), and giant boys' cargo skate shorts.
I had never seen myself as a sophisticated, put-together sort of girl, er, woman. But Stacy and Clinton have taught me a lot. Because of them, I trashed the pink corduroy skirt I bought at an H&M in Germany for $13 (someone actually wore the exact skirt on the show and it looked hideous…what was I thinking? I’ll tell you what I was thinking: ‘Oh, this skirt is only $13!’). I ditched the T-shirts that I used to wear in high school, the foam platform shoes, and (this is embarrassing) even a stretch tube top that I used to wear under OVERALLS in high school. It’s so true that the first step in improving one’s closet is getting rid of the stuff that no longer fits and is dated and worn out.
Stacy and Clinton have taught me which dresses flatter my figure, the way a purse can pull a whole outfit together, not to be afraid of heels (I actually successfully wore a pair this weekend!), and how to buy jeans that fit. Their simple rules really can make a noticeable difference in the way one dresses. Their most important tip? Fit is everything! Now, when I pick out an outfit, I usually ask myself “Would Clinton and Stacy approve?” They’ve convinced me to never go to the grocery store in pajama pants, not to buy sweaters that are too big for me just because they’re “comfortable,” and that flip-flops are never appropriate to wear to work.
I’m still working on that last one…