The ultimate wardrobe makeover experience
Oodles of money, a good chunk of time devoted entirely to shopping, your own stylist and clothing stores of varied types waiting to give you the ultimate chic makeover equals the definitive dream for most aspiring fashionadas. However, in the case of seniors Erinn Johnson-Long, Clarence Turner and Susan Blythe-Goodman, this experience was no dream but rather an exciting opportunity for remodeling their fashion outlook and tastes.
The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees.
Of the three featured students, only Johnson-Long's makeover was publicly televised on the TLC channel over the summer in a special "Back to School" episode of "What Not to Wear." Turner and Blythe-Goodman's makeover footage is tentatively to be released on a promotional "What Not to Wear" DVD. All three of the make-overs had major financial backing.
Dressed casually in a green blazer and pants ensemble tinted with an elegant black necklace, Johnson-Long appears to have put her provided $5,000 shopping spree in the ultra hip SoHo area to excellent use. Johnson-Long says though, that even such a large sum of money was almost not enough for her fashion agenda.
"When [the "What Not to Wear" staff] first told me $5,000, I thought 'that's a lot'…then I looked at the price tags," she recalls with a quiet chuckle.
Johnson-Long adds that at the first store alone that she visited on her makeover mission she spent $1,000.
She also says that her favorite store she shopped at was Club Monaco, a shop she describes as being relatively inexpensive, yet exceedingly classy. She went on to compare the style of clothing in Club Monaco to that of The Limited.
Among all the new clothes she acquired, Johnson-Long loves a pair of green suede shoes the most. "They're really cute…and I'm really into this green thing now," she says.
On his shopping spree Turner was also especially taken with one purchased clothing article, a two-piece black suit with white stripes. He describes the suit as being particularly well suited to his fashion tastes for its color and style, as well as a great outfit for college interviews.
Blythe-Goodman was just as satisfied with her own new wardrobe. In an e-mail she writes, "I think the green jacket I bought is my favorite article of clothing from the show. It isn't too formal, and it fits with my already existing wardrobe."
Out with the old and in with the new
Before Johnson-Long, Blythe-Goodman and Turner were able to begin reorganizing their closets they were ordered to evict certain "unfashionable" clothing articles from their collection.
"I miss my overalls, they were comfy," jokes Johnson-Long, who says that the What Not to Wear hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly had her remove both her beloved overalls and tee shirts adorned with cartoon prints from her attire.
Similarly, Blythe-Goodman says that London and Kelly urged her to stop wearing shirts with Superman logos on them. However, she says that she still indulges in sometimes wearing the castaway shirts.
Despite being made to part with some of their once treasured clothing, Johnson-Long and Turner both had lots of praise for their fashion guides.
"I was surprised...[Kelly and London] really cared about style and helping me out; they got really personal [with making over my wardrobe] they weren't detached or just trying to get another show done," says Johnson-Long.
According to Turner, Goodman, Kelly and Clinton were all such nice company that one of the biggest highlights of the entire "What Not to Wear" makeover was sitting in the changing rooms talking with the three in between shoots.
Blythe-Goodman had a different view. She recalls, "I had no idea how mean Stacy and Clinton, mostly Stacy, were going to be."
No Pain No Gain
In contrast with all of the positive aspects Johnson-Long speaks about involving her "What Not to Wear" experience, she also remembers the long and stressful daily filming schedules for the show, which forced her to almost literally shop until she dropped.
"When you see a show, you don't really know what goes in...[the "What Not to Wear" staff and I] were taping eight hours each day for a week," says Johnson-Long.
Although the recording was quite tiresome for Johnson-Long, she also says that the overall shopping experience moved quickly. According to her recollection it was a Friday when she was alerted that she had been selected for the show. Just two days later, early Sunday morning, she was off to New York City for her full on fashion renovation.
Despite her hurried week, Johnson-Long didn't let the hectic filming schedule spoil her fun. "I really enjoyed just being there, [the entire "What Not to Wear" crew was] all nice," she says with a warm smile.
Meeting the standards
At the end of all of the makeovers, the newly styled participants found out whether or not they had meet their own expectations as well as those of their friends and family.
"The highlight of this experience for me was how my family and friends reacted. Even though none of them made it on the show, it was nice to have the support from my family and friends no matter what I looked like," says Blythe-Goodman. She also says that although a majority of her friends preferred her new style to that of the one she had preceding the show, there were also a few friends who, "didn't like my new look at all, and asked me to change back."
Turner also received much applause from his friends when he revealed the outcome of his makeover. However, he also received some less enthusiastic feedback. "Some have gotten used to [my new look], and some are still skeptical," he says. Turner is pleased with his makeover's results and says that his expectation of finding a different and more appropriate style for himself were fully met.
Johnson-Long says that although she had full confidence with what she wore before the show and aimed to dress with sophistication, she knew her style still lacked consistency and says, "my [daily] mood really affected my wardrobe." Now Johnson-Long feels that she has matured and polished her own style and like Blythe-Goodman and Turner she is very satisfied with her "What Not to Wear" look.
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Emma Zachurski. Emma has lead a bohemian lifestyle ever since her birth to an eccentric pair of a journalist and an artist. She is now currently a senior and looks forward to another great year with Silver Chips Online! Her spare time is best spent listening to … More »