What Not to Wear

“Personality in Your Style | What Not to Wear,” Video courtesy of TLC, Youtube.com, 2013.

What Not to Wear is a reality TV series in which women are nominated to receive a $5,000 wardrobe makeover. The show operates on the idea that clothes are a visible reflection of one’s personality, and that it is important to send the “right” message to other people through one’s style.

In the above video, hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly state that people should not hide behind their clothing or use “costumes” to “[mask] deeper insecurities.” Though they emphasize that a woman is more than what she wears (“people should notice you – not just your outfit”), they also state that dressing in an “approachable” manner can “help you in your career,” among other things.

While people are free to choose what they wear, Stacy and Clinton’s often caustic commentary on the nominees’ wardrobes confirms that people are not in control of the outside judgments attached to their fashion choices. At the end of the show, most nominees yield under pressure and conform to a more conventional style, in lieu of being deemed “crazy,” “frumpy,” or “unkept.”


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