Yes, it’s true: I got a makeover on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”
First off, let’s get to the immediate questions. Yes, the show’s hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are as warm, friendly and sweet off camera as they are on. Yes, you really do get $5,000 to spend on clothes and shoes in two days. Yes, they take all of your old clothes away and donate them to charity. Yes, Carmindy is a genius when it comes to makeup and Ted Gibson is a hair wizard.
But probably the most pressing question—why I, a style editor at a major women’s website, would need a complete “What Not to Wear” makeover—is going to take a little longer to answer.
My “What Not to Wear” ambush and subsequent full mind-and-body makeover airs tonight on TLC, and will show you all of my oversized sweater and misshapen clothes glory. Because the truth is, despite being able to recommend what others should wear, I’ve always struggled with my own fashion options. And that’s mainly because I have what’s called body dysmorphia.
If you haven’t heard of it, body dysmorphia is a psychological condition wherein you become excessively concerned that one or some parts of your body are deformed or defective. Symptoms include being overly critical of one’s appearance, depression and social anxiety. It’s onset is usually in adolescence. For me, my dysmorphia is rooted in the distinct sense that my body feels very large and unwieldy. I look down and I see massive thighs, an immense blubbering stomach and huge, disproportional hips.
You may say, don’t all women have this? Well, any woman that’s looked at a fashion magazine and compared herself to a super skinny Photoshopped model has probably felt a twinge or two of self-criticism. But having body dysmorphia is different, for the sheer amount of self-loathing and discomfort you feel in your own skin. It had been holding me back from feeling really happy and comfortable, in both my work life and my personal life. How bad had it gotten? I’d taken to buying things off the rack and not even bothering to try them on, because I just couldn’t deal with disrobing in a store anymore.
Catch “What Not to Wear,” featuring yours truly, on TLC, Tuesday, March 29, 9 p.m. EST.