Trying to Follow “What Not to Wear” Fashion Rules

by Christina Simon

Trying to Follow “What Not to Wear” Fashion Rules

A recent episode of TLC’s What Not to Wear, featured the makeover of a mom blogger, Amanda R., who writes the blog, Parenting By Dummies. Since What Not to Wear is one of my favorite shows, and I’m also a mom blogger who writes about life as a private school mom in school-obsessed Los Angeles, I wondered if I could follow the same fashion advice, or “rules” as they are called on the show, and transform myself into a stylish “mom on the go.”


I love the hosts of What Not to Wear, Stacey London and Clinton Kelly. They are funny and self-deprecating. They also restyle the show’s fashion victims, called “contributors,” with a combination of tough love and genuine encouragement. After being subjected to a surprise ambush, two weeks of secret footage of terrible outfits, having all their old clothes dumped in the trash can, and then being given $5000 to buy a new wardrobe, the fashion victims are typically thrilled with their makeover. By the time the show is over, complete with new hair and makeup, the former fashion disasters emerge as new women, ready to unveil their new looks for family and friends. I’m usually amazed at the end-of-show reveals, which result in a frumpy or scantily dressed woman being transformed into a real-life fashionista.


This got me thinking. Could I, a forty-six-year-old mom of two kids, follow Stacey and Clinton’s “rules” for even one day without wearing any of their banned fashion items in public? A nearly impossible assignment, but one I was willing to try!


Frumpy sweatpants, workout gear, and baggy T-shirts are not allowed. Ever. Not even for grocery shopping. For Stacey and Clinton, tough love is needed for fashion victims. But the hosts mix their criticisms with positive encouragement, especially when it comes to negative body image. They want women to “dress the body you have and not the body you want.”


Mom blogger Amanda is the mom of three boys who wears huge T-shirts and old sweats on a daily basis. But, she’s really pretty, young (thirty-two), and has the potential to look amazing. The most stubborn obstacle in her way? A very negative body image.


To get started, I chose the “mom on the go” look. The rules consist of dark wash jeans, a cute silk blouse, and a blazer, leather jacket, or trench coat. The idea here is that you can be a polished—even trendy—mom.


The show’s makeup artist, Carmindy, recommends her “Five-Minute Face.” It’s designed to complete a full face of makeup, foundation, eye shadow, liner, blush, powder, and lip gloss all in less than five minutes.


Hair is a touchy subject for many of the show’s contributors. Haircuts generally lead to tears. Nobody wants short hair. Stacey and Clinton, along with hairstylist Ted Gibson, want to see hair that is blow-dried and styled. No messy ponytails or sloppy buns.


My day got off to a pretty good start. It didn’t take me long to find the right pieces to wear. My outfit consisted of the following items: Joe’s dark wash jeans, Diane Von Furstenberg silk top, Sigerson Morrison gladiator sandals, gold earrings, Tahari brown leather jacket, Stella McCartney tote handbag, and Henri Bendel hair clip for updo (unsure if Stacey and Clinton would approve).


I had to skip most of the “Five-Minute Face” makeup routine. But I did apply blush and lip gloss before I ran out of the house to a meeting. So I probably got a point deducted for this omission.


After a typical day for me consisting of a business meeting, writing and editing pieces for my blog, picking up kids, dinner, and my son’s basketball game, I felt pretty good. I didn’t cry like Amanda did. (But then again, I wasn’t discussing my body image on national television.) I’d give myself a B+. Now, if I could just do this every day!


Oh, and I’m curious to know if Amanda, the mommy blogger featured on the show, is keeping up her new look. Inquiring minds want to know!