What Not to Wear

Most people wander through their closet hangers asking themselves “what should I wear today?” But what makes Stacy London and Clinton Kelly the experts on clothes? From where do their non-negotiable rules for clothing come? Hmmm.

What to wear is one of the first things that goes through the mind of nearly everyone on any given day. These pants? This shirt? Those shoes? Does this match? These questions trouble many people every day.

Not anymore.

Enter style “experts” Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, who pledge to revamp the wardrobes of America on the tv show What Not To Wear.



“With the help of top-notch stylists and a budget of $5,000, this program will provide life-changing fashion intervention to people nominated by friends/family as someone who desperately needs a style overhaul! TLC secretly films the fashion offender to catch them in their natural environment so the stylists can evaluate their fashion foibles. Then, the host and stylists confront the person and reveal their plan to teach them ‘What Not to Wear.’ The team then sorts through the person’s current wardrobe, exposes them to a literal 360-degree view of themselves, and provides them with rules for maximizing their best assets and personal style. Armed with these guidelines and $5,000, the person hits the shops. After a consultation with the fashion stylists on these new clothing choices, along with a dramatic hair and makeup revamp, viewers will see a complete transformation and a stunning reveal.” (1)

But again, I ask, what makes Stacy London and Clinton Kelly the experts on clothes? From where do their non-negotiable rules for clothing come? My wife asked this brilliant question recently while watching this show. You go girl! Great question, since neither Stacy nor Clinton have a degree in fashion. Stacy’s qualifications are limited to a summer internship in Paris in Christian Dior’s PR department, a fashion assistant at Vogue magazine and the senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle. Also, aside from a degree in Journalism, Clinton Kelly was an editor at Marie Claire and a deputy editor at Mademoiselle. He later became the executive editor of the Daily News Record, a New York-based weekly men’s fashion and retail trade magazine.

Hmm. Tell me again why these two have been given a national spotlight for absolute fashion rules? Now there’s something to think about.

Don’t get me wrong,  I’m just a bit confused about it.

Clinton and Stacy go as far as to talk about certain outfits not being “age appropriate” or that they “shouldn’t” be worn here or there.

Rubbish, I say!

Well, not entirely rubbish, but mostly rubbish. If you’re dressing in a style similar to a five year old, you might get some weird looks, but does that mean it’s wrong or inappropriate? If your workplace won’t let you wear certain things, then, of course, it’s wrong at your workplace. How about this: can a 50 yr old and a 25 yr old wear the same styles? If not, why not? In my article entitled They, I talk about things that some may do or say that many Americans would say “shouldn’t” happen. I then ask why those things “shouldn’t” be done? I also mention that if it’s against the law in your city or state, then, of course, don’t break the law. However, if you’re not breaking any laws, then you can feel free to do whatever you want, or in this case, wear whatever you want.

America is certainly old-fashioned compared to most countries. I’m a big fan of everything European, and I think it’s fascinating to find out the differences between American society and European society. Unfortunately, the vast majority of America has been heavily influenced by conservatives who, for decades, have managed to brainwash Americans to the point that many people don’t think for themselves anymore. They have pre-conceived ideas that were born out of something taught to them by someone else. OK, so that was tiny rabbit hole, but overall I think it helps explain why we have TV shows, like What Not to Wear, that attempt to give absolute rules and ideas on unimportant things. Of course, I’m not suggesting they get rid of the show, or should not give their opinions about fashion. Opinions are great, as long as they stay opinions and not absolutes.



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