Several of my friends (me too!) are unabashed makeover junkies. We’ve been watching the shows since they started making the circuit eight years or so ago.
Remember Fashion Police–the original? What Not to Wear with Stacy and Clinton is the American version of the British superhit by the same name, hosted by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, who just made their American debut with Making Over America. Following on the coattails of the highly successful Project Runway is Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, and who could leave out How Do I Look? originally hosted by Finola Hughes? There are also enough books on the subject to sink the Titanic, if that treacherous iceberg hadn’t already done it.
These shows make for good entertainment, and the episodes that build an appropriate work wardrobe are helpful, but there’s a lot I can’t relate to…and a lot that I wouldn’t want to relate to. Give up my Tweetie Bird red high-top sneakers, I don’t think so.
Still we can learn a lot of life lessons from these shows. Here are a few caveats.
1. Despite what we may want to think, appearance does matter, and it can give people insight into us.
2.There are always consequences and trade-offs in life.
3. Anyone can, if not be model-perfect, improve their looks.
4. It’s better to have a few quality pieces of clothing than hangers full of fashion trends.
5. Many times people around us would like to give us advice but they don’t know the answer or they are afraid of our reaction.
These shows have actually brought out our inner fashion mavens. Here are a few cardinal guidelines they like to bandy around:
1. The little black dress is still in fashion. Just wear it in a fresh new way.
2. Neon colors do not cohabit well with basic black.
3. Unless you are six feet tall and thin, forego crop pants.
4. Ditto for tapered pants.
5. The structured jacket will hide a multitude of sins, besides giving the wearer a more polished look.
6. Pointy toed shoes are not as uncomfortable as they look and lengthen the leg, ergo making one appear slimmer.
7. Undergarments (see my article on Victoria’s Secret and Other Oxymorons) can make or break an outfit.
8. Women should never be seen wearing baggy t-shirts and jogging shoes in public.
9. There are colors other than black.
10. Spending hours shopping for the perfect jeans or the perfect dress is worth it!
Knowing the rules doesn’t mean we don’t break them. But being aware of them is a good thing–probably. At least it’s great fun!