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

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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

16 Comments

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Billy... BillyKraftsMom

LMAO! i live in Kailua Kona Hawaii where NO! I WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT WEAR LAYERS!? are u kidding? layered clothing whilst holding 23 ib infant in 96 degrees... no mom ANYWHERE really can pull that off, and if they can... holy moly that nanny must be EXPENSIVE! lol

Angel... AngelBeBlue

My thing with that show is Stacy's obsession that every woman should wear heels. I don't like heels when it is just me balancing on them, but when I have a 4 year old and a one year old going up and down, up and down. Forget about it.


I get that heels are flattering to legs, yahda, yadha, but a corset makes for a nice slender waist too. You would get me in one of those either. They tend to forget clothes are not just for looking at, they are also for living in.

Kerind22 Kerind22

I love the show and I think that Stacy and clinton are great! If I had the chance to go on the show and have a wardrobe makeover I would do it in a heart beat. The clothes that they buy on the show are exspensive(overprice in my opnion) but if I had a gift certificate I would have no problem buying them when on the show. I think that they should include a couple more kid friendly outfits. But the bottom line is that they show some one how to wear clothes that flatter their body, and  make them feel good about themselves. That way when they go back home they know what to look for when shopping.

nonmember avatar Tasha

People, seriously, don't you WATCH the show? How are jeans and a blouse any less comfortable than jeans and a tee shirt? And if you simply won't do dry clean, Stacy and Clinton are always pushing cotton blend fabrics. No dry cleaning there. And there are a lot of home dry cleaning products for those few things you like to wear out. I agree with the breastfeeding issue, but breastfeeding in public is always tough, even with clothing specifically designed for it. A large shawl to put over any outfit is my personal favorite. You can put it in the diaper bag and take it anywhere. The point of the show, and the clothes, is that a woman will always feel better when she looks better. It's not that wearing sweats to the grocery store is a faux pas. It's that the woman wearing it will have NO confidence walking around that store. Switch to stretchy jeans and a cardigan and all of a sudden you're just as comfortable but much more confident.

nonmember avatar Carol

I am 73 years young and don't know how to dress.. I am ashamed to say
after so many years of feeling young, I now don't know how to dress.
I also have never known how to pick out a Bra... I know weired, huh! Carol

nonmember avatar Amanda

I totally agree with Tasha! I feel so much better running errands with my kids when I look stylish. I refuse to turn into a frumpy mom with a stained t-shirt and mom jeans. As far as the price goes -- you get what you pay for. I would rather have 2 'expensive' cardigans than 25 'cheap' ones. I have found that the cheaper stuff pills and fades a lot faster than the quality pieces -- and that is what Clinton and Kelly preach on their show. I live in South Georgia where the temp is unbearable at times but the quality pieces I own are more breathable so I can layer them and not die of a heat stroke. 

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