The 9th season of What Not to Wear premieres tonight on TLC. I love this show.
At first glance it seems like a pretty trite concept. A person is nominated by friends and family for her unfortunate, but often hilarious, fashion choices. She is given $5000 to spend on a whole new wardrobe with the small caveat that she must agree to dispose the current contents of her closet. The show’s hosts, Stacy and Clinton, proceed to trash the person’s wardrobe and teach them how to dress in a more appropriate and flattering manner. My favorite is always the haircut. I’m just fascinated by how emotionally attached some women are to their god-awful hairstyles.
But there’s a lot more to the show than just making fun of people who wear funny clothes and applauding their genuinely impressive transformation. Stacy and Clinton are all about loving your body the way it is.
Often the subject of the show has some body-discomfort or even hatred. Sometimes it is because they feel they need to lose weight. Sometimes they think their legs are too skinny. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable wearing anything that shows off their chest. The list of body complaints is unending.
But Stacy and Clinton will have none of this. They tell the contestant that she should embrace her body and dress the best for the way she looks right now. They help the women find beauty in themselves. There are tears. You can tell there’s been a huge mental shift at the end of each episode to compliment the change in appearance.
At the end of the show, the contestant is reunited with the family and friends who eagerly await the debut of the new look. As they interview the crowd, this sentiment is repeated on almost every show: “Now she finally looks like the wonderful, vivacious, powerful (insert complimentary adjective here) woman we have always known her to be.”
I love that. Cheers to What Not to Wear for quietly trumpeting body acceptance to your audience. If only I could go on the show without dressing like a bag lady first.