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?

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