My home is not a place, it is people.
You are unrealistic.
Published on September 18, 2005 By Cordelia In Misc

Dear TLC’s “What Not To Wear”:

 

I admit it; I watch your show quite often. It’s one of the few things I do that I can classify as exclusively indulging my feminine side – the side that wants to look pretty.

 

Previously my philosophy has been that the way I dress has no bearing on the way I work or interact with other people, yet I also believe that they way I feel inside makes an enormous difference in my chances of success in work and relationships. Since I started watching your show I am forced to admit that if I dress in a way that makes me feel pretty or smart or professional, I am more likely to be treated that way by others, and to act that way in return. I reluctantly admit that I am a convert.

 

Stacy and Clinton, the hosts of the show, certainly know how to dress people to best effect. Part of the “shtick” is to ridicule and belittle the guests and to relentlessly question them about why they wear what they wear. Granted, many of the guests are in dire need of help and have made poor choices about their wardrobe, but I’m willing to bet that many of the people who come on your show don’t have a great deal of money to spend on their clothes to begin with, and often purchase clothing that is cheaply made, ill fitting and badly designed. When anyone uses “I don’t have the money for anything better” as an excuse for their wardrobe the answer is invariably “well now you have $5,000, so you can’t use that as an excuse anymore”.

 

You then proceed to dress people in $200 jeans, $100 shirts and $300 pairs of shoes. Some of the items cost less, of course, but in general your advice is to not be afraid to spend money on a quality piece of clothing. True, as far as it goes, but your persistent ridicule and scorn begins to feel very much like snobbery when many of us only have a few dollars to spend on clothing.

 

Spending $5,000, even over the course of a year, is completely and utterly unrealistic for many of us. In general I usually have about $20 at a time to purchase a piece clothing, and some people even consider that extravagant. I have bills that need to be paid, and it would be flatly irresponsible for me to go out and spend $100 on ONE sweater when that money is put to better use paying off bills.

 

I know there are good pieces of clothing out there at bargain prices, but I apparently don’t know how to find them. At my very best and most extravagant I have about $100 per month to spend on clothing. My challenge to you is to dress someone for a mere $1200 (this is assuming an entire year’s worth of shopping crammed into one episode). Even that budget is wildly extravagant for many of us but perhaps we can learn techniques on how to make good choices when we do purchase clothing.

 

I want to be well-dressed and look my best. How fun it must be to be given a visa card for $5,000 in order to purchase a whole new wardrobe. I recognize that your show is NOT about mocking people who don’t have the money to buy nice clothes – indeed; it’s about mocking people who make radically poor decisions about how to dress. Unfortunately, until you can take a more realistic approach to building a wardrobe on a budget, I think I’ve learned all that I can from your show.

 

Sincerely,

Kristin


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 18, 2005
What Not to Wear seems to have mixed it's budget up with the one that should be used for Trading Spaces.

My wife watches Trading Spaces a lot. I occassionally leave the TV parked on that channel, even through episodes of What Not to Wear.

Trading Spaces and their cheap little budget always leaves the most tacky upgrades done at the end of their shows. For $1000 per room, you're gonna get new paint and not much else. Maybe some wall-paper or some MDF piece of furniture (normally something that tries to hide the TV, one of the most important appliances in my home {wink} ), but again, not much.

If they spent $2500 per room, you might get some where. Replace a badly worn sofa, a dining room table and chairs set, etc.

And if Stacy and Clinton had to actually send their victims to somewhere like Target or K-Mart to do their shopping, they'd experience the problems that their victims have lived with all their lives. Finding a whole wardrobe for under $1000 wouldn't be that tough at K-Mart, or Wal*Mart, or perhaps even Target or Sears. But at the places that they send the participants on that show, they need $5000 just to buy a few outfits.
on Sep 18, 2005
What Not to Wear seems to have mixed it's budget up with the one that should be used for Trading Spaces


Excellent point! I apparently like any kind of makeover show because I watch both of these shows (and several others) and you are totally right on the money. Yes, pun intended.
on Sep 18, 2005
I could never fathom spending $100 on a pair of jeans. I know the celebs now think nothing of dropping a couple Thousand on a pair of jeans. To me, that just shows you have more money than brains.
on Sep 18, 2005
I could never fathom spending $100 on a pair of jeans. I know the celebs now think nothing of dropping a couple Thousand on a pair of jeans. To me, that just shows you have more money than brains.


That's the part that cracks me up about that show, and where my K-Mart/ Wal*Mart/ Target/ Kohl's type reference comes from.

Most people can easily shop at those places and still walk away with nice clothes that don't make them look trashy. The difference between a $100 (or even a $200 or $300) pair of jeans and a $25 - $45 pair of jeans at one of the stores I mention is not much more than price.

If you really want, you can buy nice clothes and get a tailor to customize them a bit for better fit, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Some of the clothes that some of the people shown on the show wear are most definitely the wrong choices, either because they are not flattering at all, or because they just show the individual wearing clothing that is much to, hmmm, dressed down and casual and not that respectful of proper work place attire. It also isn't great stuff if someone is looking to impress the opposite sex (in many of the cases), but again, for someone that is happily attached and just wants to be comfortable most of the stuff shown is just fine. Why waste a ton of money dressing up just to try to show up others in the work place or others in the social circle. Wear comfortable clothes that look nice and appropriate for the environment and atmosphere the individual is supposed to be in, and things are fine.
on Sep 19, 2005
I know the celebs now think nothing of dropping a couple Thousand on a pair of jeans


*gasp, choke, sputter, cough* Good lord my car isn't even worth that much (and it's our "nice" car).

Wear comfortable clothes that look nice and appropriate for the environment and atmosphere the individual is supposed to be in, and things are fine.


So true, and yet the show seems to make a point of belittling people who do just that. So I'm wearing a crew-neck tee when a v-neck would be ever so much more flattering. I owe you some kind of apology now? I think not WNTW! (Although admittedly, many of the people on the show are not just making bad choices, they are making wildly bad choices.)

Thanks for pointing out how inadequate we are, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping!


Not to mention Vogue and that ilk (although I agree, they do have positive aspects). I rarely want to pay the money for the magazine, much less the haute couture, because I DO often end up feeling inadequate. And it's not like I'm terribly poor, I just think there are better things to spend my money on.

Thanks for responding everyone!
on Sep 20, 2005
I like watching them too on Friday nights. But yes, the cost for the clothes are definately way out there. Maybe that's why they give out the $5000 credit card! I've thought about volunteering myself just to get the card and go on a shopping spree-that's why I watch too, to live through them vicariously!

I do like the fact the shoppers do purchase items that are below $100 sometimes, although that doesn't happen often, except when they shop at stores like H & M!

on Sep 20, 2005
Maybe that's why they give out the $5000 credit card!


That and the fact that it's all about the fantasy of having $5,000 which draws people to the show! I know I daydream about having a bunch of money to spend indiscriminately. You know I think it's the $3-400 pairs of shoes that really kill me.
on Sep 21, 2005
Belt=$180 (for a BELT? are they mad??)


It took me 24 hours to regain my ability to type after reading this. WTF? I say it again:
W. T. F??? I am by no means poor but I can't fathom spending that much on a belt, or any accessory.

Here's an outfit for TLC:

Sweater: $12.99 Target
Jeans: $9.99 Walmart (%50 off sale)
Shoes: $7.00 Payless, on sale

And that's me not really trying that hard to save money. Ok, I could be more fashionable, but for less than $100 I could probably get a completely new, very cute outfit that included shoes and belt.

Wow. Thanks for playing the "Cause a heart attack by price shock" game.
on Sep 21, 2005

This reminds me of a magazine that I bought the other day.  The only reason that I bought it was because it was supposed to have an article on "how to cut your grocery budget: learn from thrifty shoppers".  I thought: "Great!  That is one are that I could save money at".  Two of the examples were also vegetarians, so that really got my interest.

So, I typically spend about $120 a week on groceries for my family of three (could be considered 5 if you account for my husband's food intake).  We eat 99% fresh fruits, veggies and the rest is organic.  So, I look at the examples of "thrifty" shopping.  It looked like this:  "Barb of Chicago, IL is an amazing example of food store thrift.  She feed herself and her two sons a variety of fresh food and organic groceries.  Her food bill ranges from a mere $165-$210 a week, while still maintaining adequate food for her growing children".  "MERE"??????  Huh?  I know that Chicago is more expensive than Michigan, but I shop at Whole Foods which is the most expensive store I have found.  And....I'm not exactly thrifty when I buy groceries.

I think that the editors of these shows and articles are completely out of touch.  Either that, or all the people I know must be dirt poor because we can't compare.

on Sep 23, 2005
Sounds like they have bastardized the original quite badly. Susannah and Trinny (yes, Trinny. God knows) have the same acidic tongues but they let the people go and shop for themselves. They do push for more expensive clothes if it is something classic - suits, black trousers, etc - but everything else they let the poor guinea pigs do what they please as long as they stick to the rules. You get £2000 over here and I have seen people get eight pairs of shoes, four pairs of jeans, two suits, two winter coats, sweaters, tops, vests, bras... everything!

If only I had $5000 for clothes... sigh.
on Sep 23, 2005
I have watched the BBC version too, and they are fairly similar, though not quite the same. In truth, it's not so much that they push people to buy expensive clothes, it's that price is not a consideration AT ALL. If you can find a great pair of boots for $20 then more power to you. If they cost $500 then who cares? It's not really your money anyway! The thing is, though, they emphasize teaching you how to find the right clothes for you, but if it's not in your price range then what good is the lesson?
on Sep 23, 2005
Here's an outfit for TLC:

Sweater: $12.99 Target
Jeans: $9.99 Walmart (%50 off sale)
Shoes: $7.00 Payless, on sale


That's more my price range.
I also shop on eBay, at thrift stores, and am a HUGE fan of yard sales.

For instance, what I'm wearing today is this:

Tank top: 50c at the thrift store.
Old Navy boot cut jeans: $1 at a yard sale.
Shoes: Doc Martens, $40 from Overstock.com .

I don't mind paying more for shoes, but to be honest $40 - $50 is about my limit.....and the shoes that I get for that money have to be ones that I'll wear almost every day. I'd never spend that much on a pair that I'd wear once or twice a month, for instance.

I'm simply flabbergasted when I see celebrities with bags that cost thousands of dollars. I saw an article about Lindsey Lohan carrying 4 or 5 different purses in the space of a week, and when I added up the total of them....it came to about $8000. That's more than I spent on my CAR.
on Sep 23, 2005
So, I typically spend about $120 a week on groceries for my family of three (could be considered 5 if you account for my husband's food intake). We eat 99% fresh fruits, veggies and the rest is organic. So, I look at the examples of "thrifty" shopping. It looked like this: "Barb of Chicago, IL is an amazing example of food store thrift. She feed herself and her two sons a variety of fresh food and organic groceries. Her food bill ranges from a mere $165-$210 a week, while still maintaining adequate food for her growing children". "MERE"?????? Huh? I know that Chicago is more expensive than Michigan, but I shop at Whole Foods which is the most expensive store I have found. And....I'm not exactly thrifty when I buy groceries.


I read that one. I spend around $550 a month on groceries for a family of 6 and we don't get junkie foods has to be heart healthy and appropriate for my dad's diet (high blood pressure). Needless to say, I didn't find that one useful *L*

As far as the show goes, gag me. I had to quit watching it. I bought a rather trendy outfit for my cousins wedding last month for under $25. The top and skirt were on clearance for less than $10 total and i splurged at pay-less for a super nice pair of heels that will match pretty much anything, even jeans *LOL* and they were the $12 item. I accessorized with the rest of the money at Clair's. On the same trip my friend got 2 adorable shirts, brand new for $1 each! I love Target and Walmart Clearance racks!!!
on Sep 23, 2005
I'm sorry, I'll give you some advance warning in the future, lol!




Tank top: 50c at the thrift store.
Old Navy boot cut jeans: $1 at a yard sale.
Shoes: Doc Martens, $40 from Overstock.com


W00t! Well done Dharma! It's funny, even though I know feel that it makes more sense to spend money on a good, supportive pair of shoes than on an expensive sweater, I tend to really cheap out on shoes. My running shoes cost a lot, but the rest I prefer to keep under $10. I could probably stand to spend more on shoes.

I love Target and Walmart Clearance racks!!!


I hear you! Although the choices are much more limited on the clearance racks, I've gotten into the habit of thinking that $20 for a single item is a LOT so it seems better to spend the time rooting through the clearance items.
on Nov 06, 2005
kristin,
what the hell are you talking about? if stacy and clinton got on there and weren't funny, had no personality, didn't show high priced clothes, it wouldn't be a show! the clothes are not that expensive, and they are that price for a reason. they aren't made of polyester in cambodia by some twelve year old child. if you're so concerned about the prices and the hosts attitude i suggest you not watch the show... that's why its a SHOW on TELEVISION. its entertaining, fun and fabulous.