I've been skeptical of the TLC reality show "What Not to Wear" for a few years now. It all started back in 2007 when the producers decided to feature one of the interns at the publishing company where I was working. She was a cute, creative girl in her early 20s who dressed in a hipster, Ragstock style perfectly suited to her age and profession. Until TLC got a hold of her, that is. Stacy and Clinton gave her what I like to call a "corporate makeover," with pencil skirts and suiting galore, basically aging the poor girl and stripping her of any personal flair she once had in her wardrobe.
This tends to be the case in many WNTW episodes, though oftentimes it's warranted. Most of the makeover subjects have absolutely no style and need a complete overhaul. But the producers attempted to portray my office intern in a similar light, when she actually did put quite a bit of thought into her outfits.
I couldn't find any photos from that particular episode, but I did happen to catch Mayim Bialik on the show last weekend.
Ah, Blossom. You have not aged in the slightest. Apparently she has a baby now and that's caused a major decline in her fashion sense. Does anyone else find it hilarious that the girl who once portrayed a style icon on TV is now back on TV for a style makeover? And yes, she was a style icon. Like it or not, everyone knows exactly what it means to dress like Blossom.
Her claim to fame was mostly in her hats, but can I just point out that quite of few of the items in the above photos are now back in vogue? Let's see ... denim shirt? Check. Oversized sweater? Yep. Pleated pants? Uh huh. Crochet tops? Yup. Slouchy socks? Right on. I'm just sayin'!
So Stacy and Clinton put her in front of a three-way mirror and tore her a new one (with Clinton calling her "Blossom" instead of "Mayim" the whole time).
What is so wrong with this outfit? I mean, it's not what Stacy would wear, but it's also not like some kind of trailor park, meth mom, Looney-Tunes-sweatshirt hoedown. All she really needs to do is tuck in her shirt.
Next, they donated all of her clothes. I know for a fact they actually do this because the office intern told me. HOW HORRIFYING. I would seriously die. I would run away, I would scream, and I would die. It would be the end of the world. Here's Mayim Bialik's wardrobe:
Can I just say that this has to be one of the most humbling things to happen to a person? Getting a makeover on national TV is bad enough, but having your entire wardrobe on display for everyone to see? It looks so sad! So small and revealing and personal! At one point, Mayim hand-selected each of these pieces, brought them to a counter and paid for them. And now we're supposed to look at her life's savings in clothes, and throw them all away? This has always been the hardest part for me to watch.
Ugh, the pain, the sorrow! Just let her keep the stuffed lamb!
And then Mayim goes shopping ... with $5,000 from TLC. Okay, pause for a moment. $5,000? Are you kidding me? Raise your hand if you could buy an ENTIRE WARDROBE in New York City with $5,000? Try tripling that, and then we're talking. $5,000 could maybe cover shoes and accessories, and that's only if I don't go to Barneys. And if you're throwing away my whole freaking closet, you'd better believe I'm going to Barneys!
Now comes the makeover. They didn't really change much about her hair and makeup, but here are the looks Stacy and Clinton chose for her.
Snooooze. I mean, it's okay. But seriously, snooze. Let's all go shopping at Express!
This outfit is perfect ... for my mother! What's the deal with all the boring, conservative, straight-from-the-Sears-catalogue looks? Double snooze!
I like this one a bit better. At least it's got some color and shows a little leg. I would've accessoried it differently though. Speaking of which, that's the No. 1 thing Stacy and Clinton should be teaching all of these makeover subjects. Learning to accessorize is like teaching a man to fish, or however the old proverb goes.
And finally, the big reveal:
Eh. She looks fine. I hate the cut of the skirt, but it's pretty inoffensive overall. I dunno. Doesn't it seem like they've wrenched every last bit of Blossom from her? The girl who first came in looked like the '90-inspired sitcom character we all know and love, and now she looks like just another bland, cookie cutter TJ Maxx sales rack — sort of stylish, but nothing to write home about. I think the lesson to be learned from all this is that sometimes tacky style is just plain better than boring style, even (or especially) on TV.