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Saturday, 29 January 2022
What Rewatching

Style

What Rewatching "What Not to Wear" Taught Me About Body Image

January 29, 2022

For as continued as I can remember, I accept admired clothing. But if you requested me to define the agent of my adulation of style or my attraction with allotment aloof the appropriate accouterment and accessories for a assertive accident or milestone, I don’t anticipate I may well accord you a blunt answer. My adulation of accouterment feels allotment of me, aloof like my adulation of account or autograph does. It’s aloof how my academician is built.

I can, however, call one actual particular affair that grew my adulation of fashion into article bigger: What Not to Wear. Hosted by Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, What Not to Abrasion was a absoluteness makeover appearance on TLC that aired from 2003 to 20013. In added words, I watched this appearance religiously from the ages of 10 to 20, and I loved it.

Every Friday evening, I’d tune in to see the transformations of the show’s individuals as they went from bodies with “bad” style to “good” style. I’d apprentice means to “dress the anatomy you have, not the anatomy you want,” how a adequate clothier can switch your life, and why no one who isn’t attenuate charge ever, beneath any circumstances, abrasion accumbent stripes. All very essential issues for a 13 yr old to know, of course. For me, a pre-teen who was consistently bigger than her peers, I listened to those guidelines as actuality whereas I watched the ancient episodes. Finally, I thought, a guidebook for how to compress myself that feels doable. A way to fit in.

In the about 10 years back What Not to Wear has been off the air, I’ve fortunately apparent body neutrality, plus-size fashion, and the ability of all-embracing an ever-evolving faculty of personal style. I’ve additionally formed in fashion, and accept spent years autograph about the ins and outs of anatomy angel as it pertains to clothing. Appropriate through all of those experiences, I’ve anticipation about What Not to Wear. Hell, appropriate through normal, accustomed experiences, I’ve anticipation about What Not to Wear. Nonetheless today, back I acquisition myself affairs accouterment that doesn’t —gasp—emphasize the aboriginal level of my body, my apperception briefly flashes to that 360-degree reflect and what is and is not "flattering,” as Clinton and Stacy would say.

When I accomplished afresh that I hadn’t watched an adventure of the appearance in the bigger allotment of a decade, I absitively to cull up a few episodes. I knew that the agreeable of the appearance would be dated, politically incorrect, and cringe-worthy. Turns out, I was actual appropriate about that, but the acquaintance of rewatching episodes nonetheless afraid me.

To antithesis issues out, I began out by staring at a brace episodes from the aboriginal seasons of What Not to Wear and a brace from the last. What was conceivably best abominable was how little, over the advance of those 10 years, the all-embracing anecdotal of the appearance seemed to change. As I watched the aboriginal adventure from the show’s aftermost division in 2013, I heard one of the hosts clarify how the show’s individuals consistently abatement into 3 classes back it comes to their “bad” style: “Too sexy, too frumpy, or too crazy.”

There accept been affluence of issues that fabricated me laugh; Stacy's attraction with pencil skirts, Clinton’s layered popped collars, and that bulky carriageable D.V.D. amateur they acclimated to watch the behind-the-scenes footage. But that 2013 adduce about "bad" style beatific me over the edge. The abstraction that women charge administer this adapted antithesis of sex appeal, modesty, and palatability in adjustment to be perceived as trendy and adorable was ridiculous. If that’s the standard, afresh no one is able of accepting "good" style. It’s no admiration why best of the individuals concluded up in the aforementioned formulaic appears by the end of anniversary episode, arising from alteration apartment in adapted blazers with tiny belts and arroyo coats whereas Stacy and Clinton gasped in awe anniversary time. My God, this appearance admired a arroyo coat.

As I watched the aboriginal adventure from the show’s aftermost division in 2013, I heard one of the hosts clarify how the show’s individuals consistently abatement into 3 classes back it comes to their “bad” style: “Too sexy, too frumpy, or too crazy.”

I accept that there accept been additionally baby reminders appropriate through anniversary adventure of why I admired the appearance so abundant increasing up, decidedly at the end of the episodes back it was accessible that bodies acquainted assured and blessed with how they looked. Alike some of the individuals who accept been the atomic agog at the alpha generally seemed to be absolutely beholden to accept been driven out of their abundance area by the end. I was bound reminded throughout my rewatch of how the show was absolutely the aboriginal time I saw bodies inspired to advance in bathrobe the anatomy they’re in, quite than abstinent themselves adequate items and was hoping that they would lose weight. Seeing bodies really really feel added assured and empowered to advance in bathrobe their anatomy fabricated me really really feel good, and I doubtable that is a big acumen why I, like hundreds of thousands of others, admired What Not to Wear.

But I’ll be the aboriginal to accept that the show, decidedly in the earlier episodes, is brindled with raw, unfiltered, and occasionally atrocious criticisms that are arrant to me now. The bald abstraction of afraid addition in a box of mirrors brindled with cameras whereas strangers relentlessly assay their accouterment and anatomy is so acutely abhorrent to me now, and seeing it on the appearance fabricated my jaw drop. There are abounding episodes that are adamantine to watch.

Every time I begin myself rewatching an adventure and abject at the chat “flattering” or “slimming” or “camouflaging,” phrases that accept been acclimated about each episode, my aboriginal anticipation wasn’t, “Shame on Clinton and Stacy. How cartel they?” It was, “Wow, this is how anybody talked about bodies and accouterment 10 years ago.” I may well alike bethink myself adage those things, or audition them from my peers, teachers, mom, or aunts. I’m assertive that What Not to Wear anchored all of this accent into our aggregate psyche, but do I anticipate that the appearance invented that language? No, I don’t.

Fatphobia did not alpha with What Not to Wear, and it did not cease afterwards the appearance ended. Fatphobia is nonetheless dismissed and denied to this day. There are moments in the appearance area the accent bodies acclimated to allocution about accouterment and bodies is the aforementioned we use appropriate now (for example, the occurrence of the chat “flattering”). With all that considered, I nonetheless got here abroad from rewatching the episodes with one thought: Issues are a little altered now, and alike added than that, I am altered now.

Fatphobia did not alpha with What Not to Wear, and it did not cease afterwards the appearance ended.

There accept been abounding years of my life, either throughout the years I watched the appearance and after, back I believed that authoritative myself attending abate was a way to accomplish myself added acceptable, attractive, and acceptable to others. There accept been abounding years area I believed that my style existed alone aural the ambit of what I was “allowed” to abrasion as a admeasurement 14. Those mind accept been activated by What Not To Wear, yes, but no added than they accept been by the actuality that I by no means saw a anatomy like abundance in magazines, on T.V., at all the food that didn’t backpack my size, or by addition adage an accouterments I admired wasn’t “flattering.”

Society and media as a accomplished ability be a little added sensitive, inclusive, and accepting appropriate now than it was in 2003, or alike 2013, but fatphobia and aggregate that is going forth with it is nonetheless actual present. It wasn’t till I accustomed and began to claiming that absoluteness that I was able to balloon all those fashion “rules” that I clung to so acerb increasing up. My claimed style is all sorts of issues those days, and I accept fun with clothing. The best essential thing, though? I’m committed to by no means absolution my anatomy be a acumen to bankrupt myself of any bit of life, or a accumbent stripe, anytime again.