I teared up while watching the last episode of TLC and BBC America’s “What Not To Wear.”
Sure, I liked the bitchy honesty of Trinny & Susannah, but letting the American program morph into something more touchy-feely was a great idea that lead to ten years of celebration.
At its heart, the US “What Not To Wear” was a celebration of feminine empowerment, giving women permission to be stylish and playful in their lives, acknowledging that fashion is not simply frivolous, it is women expressing their own potency in the world.
The key lesson was “If you can’t shine, just the way you are, in your body at your age and weight, then you can’t own your power in the world, and that means you can’t help yourself and your family succeed.”
Women always came in stuck in a style that no longer served them, if it ever did, and were helped to see themselves in a new, fun, beautiful way that sent them back out in the world with renewed confidence and grace.
It was an emotional journey to let go of their past and claim a new future, but Stacey London and Clinton Kelly made it easier with lots of laughter to help them face their old self in secret footage and the 360, let go of what didn’t serve them into the trash can, struggle a bit and then claim the new, the invigorating, the empowering.
This year Stacey and Clinton even helped a transwoman find a new expression, acknowledging that for most women the wrong look just made them look less than nice, but that for transwomen, the stakes are higher. Still, we need to feel confident in our own expression.
In her first years at sea, TBB wouldn’t pack a dress into her kit, knowing they saw androgynous expression on the boat, but now she knows that when she does put on a dress and lipstick, it makes people around her smile, and they give her the standard salute: “You look nice!” It turns out that people appreciate it when we brighten up the place a bit.
A few of my favourite quotes from the final season:
“You are a whole person. You can’t feed just part of you.”
Clinton Kelly, What Not To Wear, 6 Sept 2013
“There is nothing apologetic about this outfit.”
Stacey London, What Not To Wear, 4 October 2013
“Someone [Neale Donald Walsch] said ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.'”
Stacey London, What Not To Wear, 20 October 2013
What Not To Wear was a playful celebration of the power of life inside women, helping us claim that power by claiming our own personal expression that mixed understanding of social expectations, personal style with lots of colour, texture, pattern and shine.
I liked seeing the feminine celebrated by empowering women in the world to express their own skills and style, to communicate both who they know themselves to be and who they know they can be in everyday life.
And seeing women whose lives were transformed by a team that helped them own their own femininity, well, that was always hopeful for me.
L’chaim, WNTW. To life, to all the lives you touched, of women on the show and women who learned from the show how to feel good about owning more of their life in the world by owning their own beautiful expression.