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Series: What Not to Wear
"What Not to Wear" (2003-2013) was a reality TV show in the U.S. based on a cancelled U.K. TV show. Hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly ambush badly-dressed people in public places, and inform them that friends and family think they have terrible style. Hilarity Ensues, and eventually the person is revealed to be Beautiful All Along, after a few style tips and a haircut. It was announced in March 2013 that the 10th season would be its last and the finale aired in October.


Tropes featured include:

  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: A common issue.
  • Aborted Arc: Male makeovers. Executive Meddling is likely responsible, as the show's audience has long been primarily female. The opening is thus a bit of a fake out since it still implies that the show devotes equal attention to both genders.
  • Beautiful All Along: Nearly every. single. person. ends up improving vastly with their week spent under the guidance of the hosts. The phrase "as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside" is used in reference to almost every guest, as well.
  • Big Apple Sauce: For most of the episodes, save specials, the guests are usually shipped to NYC.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Even the gals who have some weight on them learn how to dress for their body and accentuate their good features. And they look amazing.
  • Brutal Honesty: When they start giving out advice, it's genuine, realistic, and usually dead-on. They always have a person's best-intentions at heart, but they can come across as abrasive.
  • Camp Gay: Clinton Kelly, though it varies. Clinton and Stacey sometimes come off as Platonic Life Partners, and apparently some more in-the-dark fans have wondered if they may be a couple.
  • Catch Phrase: Stacy's "Shut the front door/shut up!"
    • Ted "I'm gonna mix up the magic."
  • Celebrity Star: Mayim Bialik, Mindy Cohn, singer Tiffany, Nicole Eggert, and Shannon Elizabeth. Notably, with the celerities the hosts never mention the $5,000 they get to shop, likely because the ugly clothes they are tossing are still worth more than that. Hey, it costs a lot of money to look cheap!
  • Comically Missing the Point: Most of the nominees at first, on why they don't look good.
  • Face-Heel Turn: C & S start out handing you $5,000. Then when you get to NYC they rip apart your wardrobe and point out your every fashion-flaw in a 360 degree mirror.
  • Fashion Hurts: Averted. While being fashionable is the goal of the show, comfort is right up there. Even if it looks good, the hosts contend; if it doesn't feel good, go find something else.
  • Fashion Show: The guest gets to do a strut down an aisle for a final review. Additionally, the 'big reveal' to the guests, friends, and family qualifies.
  • Fashion Shop Fashion Show: Averted, on the first day it's usually the guest, alone, with just the mute cameraman recording. The second day, it's a gay-man and a fashionista. Neither one will get bored of you popping out of the changing room. But there will be music!
  • Get It Over With: The way some people cling to their hair, you'd think they are being tortured, or getting ready to be sent to an electric chair.
  • Hidden Buxom: It happens every so often that a woman on the show will find out that her bra size is 5+ sizes too small for her.
    • Or if her clothing becomes form fitting, the hosts will point out that she's showing off 'the girls' far better than she previously was.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Clinton was one-time caught on camera on his day off breaking EVERY RULE that they give to other fashion victims. Stacey never lets him live it down, but it's pretty hilarious when you see him in ratty clothes, no make-up, and completely disheveled.
    • In the finale, they show the current guest's trashy "Before" pictures to a crowd of their former guests, in Las Vegas for the finale party. When the crowd groans, Clinton jokingly calls them out on it: "Some of you have no place to talk!"
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Just when you think they've found the worst of the worst, something even more horrifying will come along.
  • Magic Mirror: Played with. The 360 degree mirror shows off EVERYTHING. Add in two fashionistas who stand in there, pointing out every. single. flaw. with what you are wearing, and how you're carrying yourself. As well as how your wardrobe reflects you. You suddenly find yourself completely revealed.
  • Only One Name: Carmindy.
  • Outdated Outfit: The source of the hosts' strife and pain.
  • Product Placement: It IS a fashion-show where people go shopping around town. Quick shots of store fronts and the clothes inside are to be expected.
  • Reality TV: Par for the course, being a show where people get plucked from their daily routine, flown to NYC, and then transformed.
  • Road Trip Episode: The finale, as the hosts visit some of their former guests to see how they've fared. Doubles with Clip Show, as the two swap stories about their memories of the series.
  • Rule of Drama: Whenever they "trash" the clothes. They have admitted that it is simply for dramatic effect, and the clothes are donated to charity.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Sometimes a guest will completely ignore the rules given to them, and buy their old wardrobe back. The hosts can't do anything except hope you don't spend all $5,000 the first day.
  • Serious Business: At one point, Clinton began crying and had to leave the room for about a minute because a woman wouldn't accept his (admittedly useless) criticism.
  • Shout-Out: Often in the intros prior to ambushing their guest. For example, in one they sent the woman to a fake computer class and then communicated with her via a green screen text chat, ala Neo and Trinity in The Matrix
  • Skunk Stripe: Stacey has a grey streak in her hair that became more prominent over time. If you see her in some of the commercials she appears in now, though, it's minimal or completely colored over.
    • The stripe first grew in when she was 11.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: They occasionally use a knock-off of Duran Duran's "Rio" for their subject's post-makeover interview.
  • We Help the Helpless: Stacey and Clinton's mission statement, a bit of a variation since they help the fashionably helpless.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Stockphrase 1 of 2 for Carmindy.
  • Worthy Opponent: Stacey and Clinton do enjoy a good challenge to the rules. If someone is persistent in their fashion sense, the duo have no problem in verbally sparing it out.
  • Viva Las Vegas: The finale was filmed in Las Vegas, complete with Stacy and Clinton getting drunkenly married and annulled while the guest did her own shopping at night.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back
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alternative title(s): What Not To Wear
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