Is TLC's What Not to Wear Clueless About the Real Lives of Moms?

Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, What Not to Wear

Photo from TLC

Overall, I'm a big fan of TLC's What Not to Wear. I almost always agree with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly's choices for their guest's professional attire and "going out" wear.

However, they don't seem to be very in tune with how real moms live, particularly stay-at-home moms who spend most of their time with babies and children. Maybe someone needs to nominate Stacy and Clinton for a show called What Mom's Not to Wear (Because It's Dry Clean Only).

I truly believe What Not to Wear helps its guests feel better about themselves, shows them how to buy clothes that fit and flatter their figures, and gives them "permission" to buy a small lot of quality, well-fitting clothing. These lessons are particularly helpful for moms, who tend to put themselves on the back burner.

I also feel there's a way for moms to dress well, without always dressing in really pricey duds that require special cleaning. I'm a WAHM, and I know exactly which of my clothing items require dry cleaning. They're saved mostly for adult parties or outings when I know my husband can help with the hands-on (but even then, there are no guarantees). Even a simple outing with kids is going to mean shoe dust and cheese hands on your pants. If your outing involves juice boxes and the natural elements, then forget it.

All this to say, I totally loved CafeMom Gaia_Rain's journal response to the show: Stacy and Clinton - how WRONG you are. Gaia_Rain touches on many of the reasons a "real mom" with a baby in tow can't wear half of what Stacy and Clinton picked out recently in a "new mom makeover."

Gaia_Rain: "Moms who breastfeed NEVER put on ANY piece of clothing without thinking, 'How easy is it for me to nurse in this?' Therefore, all the tops you picked out would be completely inappropriate for a nursing mom to wear. Unless they were a contortionist. And an exhibitionist."

This is so true, Gaia_Rain. I know when I was breastfeeding and pumping, there were also more "spills" than I care to count, so I would never have worn non-washable materials. Maybe to a wedding. But probably not even then.

Gaia_Rain: "The mom asked if the tweed/wool pants were dry-clean only. You said that they were, but she could wear them a few times before she had to have them cleaned. In reality, Stacy and Clinton — babies poop. And spit. And projectile vomit. A lot. And, because of the laws of fate, you WILL be wearing the dry-clean only clothing when it happens. That is just how it is."

I have nothing to add. So...right...on...

Gaia_Rain: "The "typical" mom spends her days at home, at Target/Walmart/Kmart, a park, the bank, the grocery store, the fast food restaurant, or helping out at a school. At least, that's how I spend the majority of my days. You're telling me that it's seriously NOT okay for me to wear yoga pants and a T-shirt to Target? Or how about when we "occasionally" go out to dinner? It's really more practical to wear fancy dry-clean only clothes than jeans and a sweatshirt? Seriously?"

I think the show tends to focus on what most of us consider "going to work" or "going out" wear, and Stacy and Clinton love to shame women for mentioning that "around the house" wear even exists. But, obviously, I'm not going to regularly wear a blazer to the park. I'm just not.

Gaia_Rain: "The mom today kept saying that she liked her [old] clothes because they were comfortable. You banned that word from her vocabulary. What the hell for??? If I am going to feed, change, and burp an infant, or chase my four-year old around the park, or set up the slip-and-slide, or wander around the grocery store with three kids in tow, you're damn right I am going to be comfortable!!! I think you need to re-vamp the show for 'professional moms.'" 

Agreed. Where What Not to Wear is really missing the mark, for me, is in showing truly great-looking casual wear. Let's face it, most of us live in casual attire in our daily lives and/or outside of the workplace, and I think we could all stand to take our casual wear up a notch (and no, that doesn't have to mean oodles of cash or uncomfortable clothes). THAT'S where we need their expertise, especially those of us who don't head into an office every day.

Stacy and Clinton need to focus on the casual because that's where most of us go wrong in terms of fit and style (you know, those T-shirts 3x your size...?). I'd much rather they talked their guests into great-looking, great-fitting jeans they can wear all the time, T-shirt cuts that flatter, and other casual options. I lovelovelove "the rules" Stacy and Clinton provide. But let's see how can we use them in our real lives!

What do you think Stacy and Clinton are doing right? Or wrong?

body, clothes, figure fixes, style


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bella... bella69147

Absolutely correct. They focus too much on office wear or party wear. I really think those clothes are old looking and not what sahms would ever wear. I do not like all the necklaces that you know children willl grab onto and all those heels. Come on that is pushing it with a small child. I say have a show showing Juicy COuture wear or some J crew casual wear or nice jeans and cute tops. I don't want to see those old lady suits and boring dresses that sometimes make the girl look her grandma.The worst is when they make like a 20 something girl wear a long pregnancy looking top with the wedge shoes and trousers. Ugh. Even my mom who is in her 70's says that is such an old look for young women. Boring......

puppy... puppyraiser8

This is why I quit watching the show. Long before I had my first child, I realized that, while the show has good ideas, they work off the premise that everyone has the money to purchase ridiculously over-priced clothes. Now that I have an infant, I realize even more that I'm never going to be able to dress as the show wants. I'll stick with my jeans and washable tops.

RanaA... RanaAurora

I think Gaia was right on.  I'm sorry, but the clothes they make those people buy are ridiculously overpriced, and unrealtistic for people with small children.

For REAL moms, they need to teach how to look nice and not frumpy, while shopping at Wal-Mart, Kohl's, etc, and the idea of banning the word "comfortable" from a mom's vocabulary is about the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Poled... Poledancemama

I agree, I love their ideas about body type and fit....but the type of clothing they want moms to wear is CRAZY. If your main job is to stay at home, caring for kids and the house hold, then is not practical. I have 4 kids and no house keeper, so I can't imagine having to hang around the house all day in my dry clean only cloths just because later, I'll have to go pick up the kids from school. I THINK A MOM CAN LOOK PUT TOGETHER AND BEAUTIFUL IN A PLAIN T AND JEANS! Just choose the right fit! My youngest is 7 months and there is no way I would feed him his CARROTS with good clothes on.( hes a spitter) LOL I love to wear nice clothes for a night out but, thats it.

Lumin... LuminousMom

I see both sides of it... I don't have "babies" anymore so I don't really have to deal with the sticky pukey messes, and I totally see their point. Sure they should take into account that dry clean only isnt a great option for mommies... and focus more on wardrobe staples (a pair of great jeans, a few comfortable and easy to clean tops, a pair of nice black pants, a trench, a simple black dress).. but in the end, the people on the show are getting FREE CLOTHING. Since when is it polite to spit in the face of something given for free?

Its a TV show.. I don't think its anything for anyone to get upset about. IMO, if you are given $5000.00 for clothes, you take what you are given and you are grateful. Frankly it angers me that people complain so much about something many of us would jump through hoops of fire to get.

Lumin... LuminousMom

PS.. that money is given to them by some of the stores seen in the show.. if someone wants to run out and get a couple of pairs of jeans and T shirts after the fact, thats their business.. and for all we know, they do.. but just dont show it on camera. Would you watch if there wasnt an element of drama or interest to it? We dont see all that they buy, or all that happens behind the scenes.

I for one would do anything and buy anything they told me too.. considering the only jeans I have are either so loose they fall off, or have holes.. and I SERIOUSLY cannot afford to go buy new ones.. I wouldn't be one to bitch about getting anything for free.

Freela Freela

I do like the show a lot.  And I think a lot of the 'rules' (those having to do with shape, proportion, etc.) can be applied to casual-wear as well as other clothes.  However I do TOTALLY agree with the bf'ing issue.  As a mom who has spent a large amount of the past seven years nursing, my biggest criteria for shirts has been: can I breastfeed discretely in it?  Is it going to survive being pulled up over my boobs on multiple occasions?  If not, it's just not going to get worn!  On a couple of occasions where they have had moms with infants I have wondered just how practical all that stuff will be when they get back home!  I would still love five thousand a couple of personal consultants to shop with me though!

Lelan... LelandsMommy

I completely agree!  I would NEVER wear most of that stuff when I'm just outside playing with my kids, or running into Target. It's just not practical AT ALL! My clothes started out perfectly clean this morning, but right now I have peanutbutter crusted on my jeans, and some sort of stain on my shirt... and that's without even leaving the house today! Things get much messier out in public!

And, LuminousMom... they are NOT giving you those clothes for FREE... they come at the price of your current wardrobe! I'm sorry, but trading my 7 pair of Wal-Mart/ Old Navy/ Plato's Closet jeans for 2 pair of over-priced, dry-clean only slacks is not practical or a good deal!

Lumin... LuminousMom

LelandsMom.... these people arent forced to do it. Dont want to participate.....then dont go on the show. Simple as that. And like I said, they dont show all of the clothes the people buy on the show, how do you know they didnt buy jeans? They only show three of the outfits at the end, that doesnt mean they only bought 3 outfits.

Chick... Chickadee

Love the show, love the rules, but, seriously, Stacy and Clinton need to see what moms of infants and toddlers go through. I have an even better idea, how about they babysit a couple of toddlers for a few hours in their expensive, dry clean only clothes. Then they might change their tune a little. lol

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