Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what not to watch

While I was uploading some new copy to my web site earlier today, I had What Not to Wear on TV for background noise. I rarely do that - it's usually music, but today, it was Clinton and Stacey on TLC.   If you know me, you know I'm not in any way, a slave to fashion.  I like what I like.  Now that I have lost almost 55 pounds, I am more conscious to add flattering clothes to my wardrobe, than the heretofore loose, shapeless things I was relegated to for many years. But, I'm not obsessed.

The woman in whose life Clinton and Stacey were intervening, was a flaky, free spirit, tiny woman who definitely needed help dressing.  Her wardrobe was a complete mishmash of dresses made out of her former kitchen curtains, a garment made from hand woven fabric, hand knit sweaters, kooky scarves that other people made, a strange bag, cast off clothes from the children the wearer baby sat and on and on. Among that milieu were some one-of-a-kind things.  A plain boyfriend style sweater the woman knit from the silk of silkworms she raised and yarn spun from a friend's goat. No doubt it took ages to spin and knit the sweater.  It looked ordinary, but well made and proportioned for her tiny frame.  There was a blouse or dress that looked hand painted. I think she got it during a trip overseas.  Although you might not wear it to a business meeting, it would do for running errands, if you were a bohemian type - which this woman clearly was. 

I have witnessed Clinton's and Stacey's rigid enforcement of the "everything must go" rule, and their even more rigid insistence on a particular style and flavor for the women they assist. Isn't there room for unremarkable but nice in people's real lives?  Of course there is.  I don't know that I'd take their offer if I had high quality, one of a kind garments that pleased me.  Sure, the whole point of the show is to demonstrate how $5,000 can get you a new wardrobe and look.  But a new look doesn't require that not one thread of something old  remains.  

The few minutes of the show that I saw, grated on me more than it usually does. I guess their lack of appreciation for things I probably wouldn't want to part with either got to me. 
What do they do with all those clothes that are ridiculed and discarded?   Do the donate them?  Do they recycle the textiles? If they make you throw away a hand knit sweater, can you unravel it and keep the yarn?  I haven't spent any time researching it, but I hope they don't just throw everything away.  People who have no clothes would be blessed to have wearable clothes, regardless of the fashion statement they convey.

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