I love the show What Not To Wear. I love it for the makeovers, the shopping, the clothing advice and for Stacy and Clinton’s cynical attitudes and saucy realism. The hosts pick an average American woman who struggles with dressing nicely or appropriately and taking care of herself and they give her a $5,000 shopping spree in New York and a complete hair and makeup makeover.
What I don’t love is the fact that the women who go on the show are encouraged to purchase outrageously high-priced designer clothing that they could otherwise never afford. On today’s episode, a middle-aged single woman with five kids, one of which was less than a year old, spent more than $900 on three items. She said she felt sick to her stomach about spending such an obscene amount of money. Stacy and Clinton instantly tried to allay her concerns by saying she deserved to spend money on herself.
I agree that the woman needed to focus on herself more, but that doesn’t mean buying three $300 shirts is the answer to her problems.
What happens when she returns to her life and her five kids, the makeup wears off and she has been taught to believe that only Gucci and Prada can satisfy her fashion needs.
While I believe that dressing for your body type increases self confidence and even productivity, life is simply NOT about dressing nice. A cute $20 shirt from Target is a bigger accomplishment than a $300 shirt from Dolce & Gabanna, no matter how cute it may be.
The last thing Americans need right now is encouragement and justification for living beyond their means.