Tuesday, February 5, 2008

'cause there's beauty in the breakdown

What I Learned from my 3-Week Unemployment
Installment 2
What I Learned from "What Not to Wear"

During my unemployment, I spent a lot of time at the gym.

My motivation? What Not to Wear. I have fallen in love with Stacey and Clinton. I want them to be my friends. I want them to tear apart my wardrobe. I'm tempted to dress really badly as I slim down so that someone will refer me and they will come and see me! Somehow, I doubt that would all work out for me.

But, deep in the heart of their catty remarks are a lot of lessons.

1. There's beauty in the breakdown. The more difficult the process, the greater the transformation at the end. There was one episode where the girl was cute, she just wore sporty clothes all the time. She was eager to change, and she went from cute to really cute. But usually the person is incredibly resistant and goes from shockingly oblivious to stunning. Through the process, we get to see the tears fall, the insecurities crumble, and the self-esteem grow. That's what I like: the Cinderella story where the beauty was there all along. The process that must go on internally amazes me.

2. Change your focus. "It's not that my hips are freakishly huge, my waist is just tiny!" My favorite thing about the show is that there isn't a huge body transformation. No surgery or botox or anything fake. It's just about using what you already have. Stacey and Clinton do such a good job, in my opinion, of reframing negatives. It's not about focusing on what I hate (what belly?) but instead I need to accentuate what I know works (hello breasts!).

3. If the piece of clothing only works when you pair it with another piece, then it doesn't work at all. I have a closet full of clothes that can only be worn as a pair. I have to wear this shirt with these jeans to disguise my muffin-top. No, I cannot wear that sweater with that jeans or I'll show my crack to everyone. No, I have to wear this bra with this shirt or otherwise it won't button. I deserve better than buying clothes that need other clothes as accessories. My clothes should just fit. Amen.

4. If you get something cheap, people aren't going to think you got a bargain. They will just see that you are wearing cheap clothes. I am so tempted to take my in-between times and shop at the really cheap places - you know, where the clothes fall apart or shrink up the second time you wear them. I am going to try really hard to buy a few pieces of nice clothing (on sale of course!) and feel good when I am able to donate once they outgrow me. And I have found a high-end consignment store!

5. If you can wear it to the gym, you shouldn't wear it anywhere else. This is the concept that I am most guilty of. I used to wear my gray lounge pants to work. And then I'd sleep in them. I have been known to wear draw-string pants to work. I figure that my shirts are so long, no one will know. Besides, who expects a fat person to dress nicely? So all of my lounge pants have now been demoted and are no longer on hangers. It's baby steps.

And there you have it. Life lessons from tv.


Heather said...

those are all very good lessons and very true!

Michelle said...

I love this post and I love that show! I agree with #1 all the way, my insecurities are crumbling with each pound...

S said...

I love that show too! I too wish Stacey and Clinton would befriend me and get me a whole new wardrobe. My one gripe with the show--they are all about jackets--and jackets just don't work in Texas heat about 10 months out of the year. But I guess I could choose to look my best or be cool (literally). I know what Stacey and Clinton would choose. :)

Scale Junkie said...

I love the show but so much of what they do wouldn't work 90% of the time in Florida. If you want advice on what would look good on your shape, I found a site called myshape.com and you enter your measurements and they determine your "shape" and then recommend clothes that look good on that shape. The idea is to get you to order through them but I found that by looking at the styles, I'm able to go to the store and find similar and come out quite happy. I'm hoping once I drop 100 more pounds or so it will work even better.

Hanlie said...

We get the British version with Trinny and Susannah, the original WNTW girls! I have bought their book and I never go shopping without it in my bag!

T-shirts and sweats should only ever be worn while actually exercising! And golf shirt are for playing golf in!

Great post!

Lora said...

Oh yes - love that show! And you're so right - the beauty was there all along - it just had to be unwrapped!

meredith said...

I adore Stacey and Clinton!!!!

And I never analyzed it, but you are so right... :) My husband hated the show at first, because he had only see the beginning, where they are picking apart people's style... once he saw a whole episode and he saw how much people's lives were changed... yadda yadda yadda... He loves it with me. :)

Grumpy Chair said...

I have been away from computer since Monday but enjoyed reading your last three posts.

I admire how you put your faith into God's hands. I love how God responds to us sometimes.

Good rules regarding dress.

Christie said...

I love Stacy and Clinton too, especially for the internal transformation of each person. I want to go through that!
I like your lessons, this is a great post.
I too am quite guilty of the wearing gym clothes. Especially when all of my "real" clothes are feeling tight. I wear them as PJ's, as loungewear at home, and to the grocery store. I usually don't wear them for anything like work or going to the mall or movies or anything like that, but I do wear them a lot which is weird because even though they are comfy, I feel bad about how I look in them.

Lidian said...

I love that show too, and I agree with everything you said (& well said it was too)


I have dreams of Clinton and Stacy, and when I shop I always think "what would Clinton and Stacy say?"