I keep protesting that I don't watch reality shows. But, in reality, I've been watching quite a few lately. Just not the Survivor, Fear Factor, Big Brother variety. I'm often camped over on TLC watching Clean Sweep or What Not to Wear. (And lately I've been compulsively watching Dancing With the Stars on ABC. My defense on that one is that they put it in Lost's time slot and there's nothing else on.)
What Not to Wear leaves me with very ambivalent feelings. The premise is that two so-called fashionistas rework some poor shlump of a woman into the fashion plate that she could be if she had taste and an unending source of money. They drill the poor thing with "the rules" for her shopping, essentially throw everything away that resides in her present wardrobe, and give her a loaded credit card ($5,000) to restock her closets. The first day they hide and watch while the pathetic lady attempts to do their bidding and then the second day they force their clothing choices on her.
There's no getting around the fact that the before pictures are pretty awful. These ladies do need help. And there's no getting around the fact that in most cases they do look much, much better when it's all over. But my basic problem is that with $5,000 I could do just as well as they do and have 4 times the clothes in my closets. You can be stylish without buying $300 slacks.
The episodes I really love are when they get hold of someone like me who doesn't particularly care for the current style trends and the outrageous prices at Stacy's & Clinton's choice of shops and boutiques. Then it's really fun to see Stacy and Clinton pout about how their "expertise" is being questioned. They see no problem with building a wardrobe of dry-cleaning required outfits. First of all they don't live in Texas. Second of all, I don't see them handing out an additional check to cover the dry-cleaning charges for the next year. They are really big on jackets and cashmere and silk. Nice idea, but try living in those outfits when you live in a state with 2 days of winter per year and you're plagued with menopausal hot-flashes throughout each and every day. I don't think so. What I need is a built-in cooling system in every outfit.
Then the shoes. High, high heels and pointy toes. Good night, nurse. I would love to be around in about 15 years or so when Stacy has to deal with arthritic pains in her feet and see if she's still torturing herself with 3-inch heels. Quite frankly, I've been there and done that. Now I look for low heels and arch support. Every time I put a pair of heels on, I spend the next day massaging cramps out of my feet.
One episode dealt with a lady who works with UNICEF and sees poverty up close and personal. No way was she going to lay out gobs of money on a single blouse. In that case, Stacy and Clinton were behind the 8-ball and had to give in to a more conservative approach. They would have looked really, really bad insisting that it was more important to dress in high fashion than feeding starving children. In another case, the lady hated cashmere and refused to buy dry-clean items. I do love when the fashion-challenged victim digs in her heels. Stacy and Clinton puff up in high-dudgeon and don't look too stylish themselves with their pout faces on.
The one part where I would love to personally participate is in the hair and makeup redos. If anything makes a real difference in your looks, it's those two areas. I am so distrustful of strange beauticians, but Nick can have a go at my hair anytime and I wouldn't say a word.
The one saving grace for these poor fashion victims is that they are getting the American treatment. If you really want to see some fashion barbarism, catch the original version of the show on BBC. Those fashionistas are brutal. They ought to be followed by the reality show "Saving the Suicidally Depressed".
Poor ole Stacy and Clinton ought to experience this girl. I live in tapered leg pants (horrors!) and men's cotton shirts from Eddie Bauer (quelle nightmare), worn untucked to cover my old lady rear. My shoes come from SAS (old lady shoe suppliers) and my hair and makeup take a maximum of 10 minutes in the morning. I carry one neutral colored bag because I don't have time to switch out purses to suit my outfits. I may not be a fashion maven, but I'm comfortable and that's what's important to me. Stacy and Clinton can go sit on a tack.