I have been watching What Not to Wear lately, but not as a fan. I watch it in complete fascination at the people who let themselves be transformed by two people who claim to know all the right things about how to dress, and apparently there is only one right way.
If you've not seen the show, let me tell you—Stacy London and Clinton Kelly work with a person whose family or friends have handed them over as needing fashion help. They throw out everything in that poor woman's closet, mocking her and her clothes in the process even if she cries, and then teach that person how to dress. Granted, the subject of each episode gets $5000 to spend on new clothes and shoes, and she gets a new haircut and some makeup tips, but she also has to listen while these two people tell her how frumpy she looks or how it doesn't matter if she is comfortable in her clothes or thinks her clothes represent her personality. "What, your personality is a circus tent?" What's important is what others think when they see her—do they see that the bottom balances out the top and is there the essential jacket to finish the outfit and can they see an elongated leg caused by high heels and pointy toed shoes.
High heeled shoes shift the balance of weight toward the ball of your foot. They cause the pelvis to shift and do damage not only to the feet—bunions, callouses, corns, painful and misshapen toes—but they also damage the lower back and sometimes are the cause of shoulder and neck pain. Yet women wear them, and people like Stacy London, who has been lectured by her own podiatrist, continue to push something akin to corsets and foot binding for the sake of an "elongated leg" and a shapely calf.
I'm all for feeling attractive, but what I'd like to see is a show that redefines beauty as something that truly is "in the eye of the beholder" so that when you look in the mirror, you approve of your image regardless of what a "fashion specialist" might say. I'd like to see a show called What Not to Think About Yourself or How Not to Define Yourself by Your Wardrobe.
If all the hosts of What Not to Wear were to offer advice to people who say they hate their clothes and would like some shopping guidance, and if they would try to find clothing that fits the individual personality, I might not find it so grating to my sensibilities. I might not wince and feel uneasy in my chair. But they seem to think there is only one way to dress, and if you want not just to feel good about yourself but to also wear the right thing, just listen to what they tell you.
I suspect Stacy London and Clinton Kelly would throw out my entire closet and replace my clothes with jackets and the perfect mix of patterns and solids and those high heels to elongate my legs. Stacy London and Clinton Kelly can kiss my fat, baggy pants.