Stacy London of What Not to Wear occasionally blogs about her show for TLC. In two recent entries, she discussed Leanne, a Salem witch whose emotional transformation premiered on Friday’s episode, and self-esteem issues that arise when addressing people’s dress.
Of Leanne, Stacy London made the observation: “It was on her shop-day two when she started to talk a lot about the idea of using actual witch clothing as a defense mechanism and that it was like her wall and it was her protection; it was her armor against people, and we talked to her about the idea that it wasn’t necessary for her to do that in order to be a powerful practicing witch.”
People on What Not to Wear frequently resist changes to their wardrobe claiming “I don’t want people to judge me by the way I look.” To which, the reply is often, “But everyone does, including you.” Leanne, in a recent episode, was willing to admit that while some people look at her witchy wardrobe and assume she is scary and dark, she looks at “muggles” and thinks they are boring followers.
Stacy addressed the question of how people choose their clothing, and what emotional significance it has for them. “I’ve found that style is the tip of the iceberg, and when somebody is dressing in a way that doesn’t really measure up to the standard that they could look — when you see somebody and you see how much potential they have and recognize that they’re not realizing it — nine times out of 10 the reason is much, much bigger than just, ‘I’m lazy’ -– it’s a barometer, and it informs us how one feels about oneself.
And when someone is dressing in a way that’s either inappropriate or a caricature, it’s almost like, ‘Don’t look at me, just look at what I’m wearing,’ or in a way that says, ‘Don’t look at me, I want to disappear.’ Whether it’s clothes that are too big or sweats or whatever, there’s usually so much more going on underneath the surface, and that’s part of what this experience [undergoing a makeover on What Not to Wear] allows a person to recognize and confront.”
While none of us want to make superficial judgements about people based on their clothing, we all do it. We asses what we have in common with them, what we don’t, what they think of themselves, who they’re trying to impress, and so forth. Getting to know someone should always move beyond externals, as evidenced by our kind and open-hearted witch Leanne, but at the same time, ask yourself what is your wardrobe saying about you? Are you, a “caricature,” as Stacy says, or maybe someone who tries to disappear behind shapeless sweaters? The clothing choices we make are often a “barometer” of how we feel about life and about ourselves.
For more information on Leanne’s makeover: Check out her shopping list and details on her makeup and hair transformation.