Friday, April 8, 2011

Show Critique: “What Not to Wear”

Or Should We Call It “What Not to Watch”?
In the clothing industry we “Fashion & Image Consultants” like to keep up with what is new, current and trend setting.   So we read trade magazines, go to trade shows, meet with vendors and buy product.  Always keeping an eye on what is best for the client, and when I say “Best” I mean what is correct in the industry in keeping up with the times.  However, I have watched a show called “What Not to Wear” several times now.   I’ve been watching and waiting for their advice to improve, or maybe just give some advice, direction, or even discuss and show the client some specific ideas.  Well, that just seems like too much to ask!  I stress to my clients friends and fans NOT to follow this show.  I have seen these two individuals throw away amazing items that you can change and incorporate into a functional wardrobe and they tend to give very bad advice when they do!  And I will be more than specific on this in a moment, but first…

The female host of the show often looks like she doesn’t have a mirror or has ever read trade magazines, been to a trade show, has bought or sold anything in the apparel industry!   The male host dresses pretty well, but face it- most of my gay friends understand they need to pay attention to detail, and they tend to dress fabulously.  Look, all they really do in this show is hire someone to cut your hair, do your makeup, and give you 5 thousand dollars to spend, then throw away all your clothing.  What they need to do is sit with the person, show them some current looks, go through their wardrobe teach them the essentials, how to use them, and why they’re so import to everybody’s wardrobe. 

I have always believed style is really an outward manifestation or expression, of someone’s inner beauty- so I always express this to clients and ask them how their “inner beauty” should be expressed on the outside.  Their answer always gives me some direction.  The hosts of “What Not to Wear” carelessly toss their client to the wolves and belittle them for their fashion choices, instead of giving direction.   They discuss body type but rarely explain to the client, or should I say victim, what is right for them and how to accentuate their figure.  Isn’t that their job?  At the end of the show they slap some makeup on them, do their hair, and put them in the best outfit they can find and throw them back into the world with a new wardrobe and very little knowledge of how they got there.
When sitting with an individual it’s important to consider their lifestyle, which they do, however without that they wouldn’t have an opening to their show.   I always keep in mind their daily activities, work place, social life, and family budget.  They give very little applicable advice to their guests.  Essentials are key items that belong in everybody’s wardrobe, regardless of their lifestyle, activities, or budget.  Essentials are wardrobe multipliers, which help you, coordinate several outfits, and are easily used in work, home and play clothing.  For example, a black shirt, black shoes, black belt, black slacks, black jacket.  Obviously your items don’t all have to be black- choose another color if you want but this is just an example.  These items all play a role in building wardrobe multipliers.  Shoes should match your belt and handbag if you’re a woman, and for you men: shoes, belt, socks and jacket if you are wearing a jacket that day- they should all coordinate, and they are what we call essential multipliers.  Again, the black belt, shoes and purse can all be worn at either work or play and sometimes in your daily routine making them essential multipliers as well as a good use of your wardrobe.   None of this advice is ever expressed nor understood by the victim who just had their wardrobe thrown out. 
Personally, you would learn more by just reading my services and blogs than you would from watching 20 episodes of this show.  My clients understand and appreciate what I do for them because I teach them “how” to dress, how to follow current looks, and how clothing can be used for their individual body type, personality, and lifestyle.  So in closing I am asking you to not take advice given in this show. 


If you need Fashion Advice, an image makeover, need to hire a Personal Shopper, or an Image Consultant in the New Jersey & Philadelphia area, please contact me, Karla, at  We can tailor custom men's suits, dresses, and formal wear for any occassion.

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