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TCA press tour: 'What Not to Wear' still stylish after 7 seasons

January 14, 2010 |  6:03 pm

Whatnottowear2 Clinton Kelly and Stacy London have schooled a nation of fashion-challenged participants (and viewers) on the ABCs of how to achieve a chic wardrobe on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” With horrors such as graphic T-shirts, clunky shoes, mesh tops and oversized (or undersized) jeans, the fashion police duo has gone through racks (and racks) of unfortunate wardrobe ensembles and seen more than their fair share of skin in that 360 degree mirror over the course of seven seasons (six for Kelly).

Now the show, based on the British series of the same name, is about to hit the 250th episode mark (set to air Jan. 29). As Stacy might say, “Shut up!”

“Over the years, we’ve made some great friends,” said a scruffy Kelly, during the pair’s appearance Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. “And, of course, some people we were glad to see go."

In case you were wondering, they do keep in touch with the one-time fashion victims — whether it’s through e-mails, phone calls … or even Facebook.

“They e-mail us saying, I got a new job, I got a promotion or I found the love of my life … or I dumped the chump I’ve been seeing for the past three years,” Kelly said.

But back to the shopping.

Wonder how they choose the stores and boutiques where we see participants agonize over pleated skirts and whether to get a one-button or two-button blazer? It’s a matter of finding the stores that will best clothe a certain body type … and, of course, a matter of getting clearance because there’s more than just a cameraman tagging along. Try a crew of about 20.

“And a lot of people don’t realize is that on that second day of shopping, when Stacy and I show up … we spend the entire day shopping with them all over New York,” Kelly said.

A-line skirts and snazzy haircuts aside, the transformation isn’t just physical physical, London said.

“It really is a metaphor,” London said. “It’s not just about the clothes. It’s never just about the exterior.  Style is — when you’re not feeling great about yourself — it’s the first thing to go. It’s also the first thing you can pick up when you decide you want to take control of your life again. It’s a very easy, very visceral way to see a quick change. “

And their reach extends beyond the TLC arena. London tosses her brunet mane in those Pantene commercials, and Kelly is a spokesman for Macy’s. Together, the duo has co-written a book, “Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That's Right for Your Body.”

So you’d think the fashion personalities would get bombarded with style questions from friends and family. Not so — unless it’s a special occasion, both said.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t give their opinion.

“I’m not into censoring myself so much,” London said.

Clinton, at least, knows how to filter himself.

“I have a switch I can turn off.”


— Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Clinton Kelly and Stacy London at the TLC portion of the 2010 Television Critics Assn. press tour today. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images.