Liveblogging the What Not To Wear experience

Posted at 8:40 AM Apr 21, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Amanda gets surprised at a fundraiser she organized in Dallas
As a massive Twitter addict, I am frequently confused by the 140-character messages my closest friends and strangers broadcast throughout the day. But when I saw that a ladyfriend of mine from Dallas, TX was tweeting something about a "dreaded 360-degree mirror" and crying like a baby when "fedex took all [her] clothes," I immediately perked up.

Where there are FedEx roundups of clothing and 360-degree mirrors from hell, Stacy and Clinton cannot be far behind. Lo! My friend Amanda is not only live-Tweeting her What Not To Wear experience, but she is also liveblogging it!

Before leaving for New York City, Amanda expressed some serious doubt:

"To be honest, I'm freaking out. I've cried some. I'm scared, too. Not scared of the fashion intervention per say, gawd knows I need it, just scared that I'm actually going to be forced to confront the fact I literally stopped caring about myself and my appearance and confront those reasons on national television. Such is life. For now, I've got to put on my big girl panties, toughen my thin skin, and embrace the fact that I have $5k to spend on myself. The hardest part will be believing that I'm worth it."

After her first day of filming-wherein she got some fab new properly fitting bras, Amanda is 'zausted:

"I had to go back to my room in the studio, pull a dress out of the trash bin, sit in a chair and answer some pretty hard questions about myself. "Why are you drowning yourself in clothes?" "How do you feel...." "Why do you think..." I was tired, I gave my answers, cried a little, okay, a lot, and finally I was freed. I understand know why the women on the show cry and get cranky. They're just as exhausted from shooting and reshooting, room level checks, and everything else that comes with the complications of making a show as I was."
Keep checking back at The Squawker for more updates from Amanda's makeover.

Ruminating, now: how do you ladies feel about the whole What Not To Wear setup? I find the show engrossing, and while I think Stacy and Clinton can be rather harsh, I rarely feel like someone comes away with any more self-loathing than they had to start out with. Maybe self-loathing dressed up in nicer clothes? Obviously it's intended to be an intensely emotional experience, which seems awful to have to go through on camera for the entire nation to watch. And as we can see from Amanda, every moment seems to be pretty fraught.

I certainly don't endorse a superficial way of making oneself feel better through slapping a designer pocket on something. But does somebody have to take our feminist cards away just because we like a hot new pair of jeans? What is it about that hot new pair of jeans? Surely we're capable of finding happiness both in butterflies and ponies and kittens and a piece of clothing that looks great on us. Surely we are at least that complicated.


David said:

While I am neither a lady nor more than a casual watcher of What Not to Wear, I think the ultimate experience is much deeper than a new set of clothes.

Getting to reinvent yourself in one fell swoop doesn't really happen very often in normal everyday life without some kind of intervention, which is clearly how the show plays out.

In my eyes, the more immediate effect of reinventing your wardrobe for some may be a stepping stone to change their lives in a different/better way. Much like Queer Eye (which I did watch quite a bit), watching people remake parts of themselves into better parts of themselves was always pretty inspiring (human overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacle).

Or perhaps I'm reading too deeply into a makeover show.

Michelle said:

A makeover show is one thing, but I hate the part where they make you throw out your entire wardrobe. Sure, we all need a little closet purge now and then, to get rid of things we never wear. But it's taken me years to build up the wardrobe I have now, and even if some people don't like my style, I enjoy the hodgepodge of store-bought and secondhand clothes that are stuffed into my closet. Screw you if you don't like my worn-thin Shepard Fairey T-shirt.

Yes, the madeover people DO look better, mostly owing to a new haircut and makeup, but the styles forced on the people almost always (at least in the episodes I've seen) seem incredibly generic. Oh, look, now I look like a Macy's ad!

Amanda W said:

David is so right. This has been quite cathartic so far - it is akin to therapy and then some. But what I don't think Michelle realizes is something I'm just now learning in my on going experience on the show... Often, not always, but often our asthetic is a symptom of something going on in our lives.

Andrea has known me a while. She's known me as a dream chaser willing to sacrifice everything for someone I care about. I had to give up on a dream, and when I did, I began burying myself in clothes, as if I had some wanton desire to simply disappear.

I've approached and will contine to approach this as an external intervention, a much needed one.

As a fan of the show for many years, I'm happy to report that this adventure hasn't been about reinvention nor have I been asked to become something I'm not. These folks, and there are MANY on staff, actually give a shit about me, they actually invested some time in getting to know me, and they have yet to attempt to force me into a mold that I simply do not and will not fit in.

Andrea...can you make it to town on Friday? If so, I'd love to see you at my 'reveal.'

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