Oh, I know what you’re thinking. However did you get your fabulous fashion sense, Miss Kaitlin? Well, it’s called pulling whatever is clean out of the drawer and putting it on. But for everyone else, they might learn from a little show called “What Not to Wear” on TLC.Now, this particular show is supposed to take people who have been nominated as, well, less than polished dressers and teach them how to present their best assets by changing their style. What I personally find fascinating are all the tactics that the two hosts, Stacey London and Clinton Kelly, must go through in order to convince their nominees of particular items of clothing. Like the nominees say so well themselves, the way they dress expresses who they are.
Or even Marcy…
And that’s where I’m both perplexed and fascinated. If someone is a jeans and t-shirt person and that’s how they choose to represent themselves, which means that that’s how they choose to form their identity, does changing their dress change their identity? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it changes who they are, per se, but perhaps it changes who they will be.
Or what about this thought. If these hosts truly are bringing out the nominees’ most attractive qualities, then maybe the nominees are actually finding their true identities and their true selves.
Well, I think that’s my more optimistic side coming through, because I then can’t help but question what or who gets to decide what constitutes their best attributes or what their best self would be.
And to think, we used to merely wear clothes for the warmth. How misguided we were.
Photograph from Moriza of Flickr.
I used to watch this show all the time, and I am still torn between love and fear. On one hand, I love a good makeover. From home decor to makeup to gardening, few things are more satisfying than a good before-and-after. Plus there’s always the fantasy of having someone come in and sort me out.
But then again, I became increasingly concerned about the generic results of this show. While I admire the intention, which is to incorporate people’s personal style identity into a more confident, polished self-presentation, I find the results a little freaky — it’s as though they assume every version of feminine identity can be improved by adhering to the AnnTaylor/BananaRepublic aesthetic, one which erases difference and diversity in favor of conservative conformity. Just what myopic vision of beauty and acceptability are they working with?!
Plus, I’m pretty sure they would try to take away my tie-dye (none of which is primary colors; all of which is awesome) and/or collection of Docs … over my dead (but still performative) body.