One lazy afternoon as I was trying to flip through the enormous selection of cable TV to find something entertaining, the title ‘What not to wear’ jumped out at me. Obviously, it’s one of the many improvement/makeover programs which are aimed to uplift your dreary existence by adding that much-needed professional touch. The turn-of-the-century answer to all your existential problems- get a new look. There’s a tad bit of a difference with this program though– a pair of chic fashionistas help those who are afflicted with weird, whacky, drab, frumpy, boorish, childish and other such senses of style. They are approached by friends and family of such ‘bad-dressers’ who feel that these people are disguising themselves and not exploring their potential to look good. The pair then come down and take a poor thing shopping to buy a brand new wardrobe and in process educating her about style. (I’m not being gender insensitive here, it’s almost always a she and not a he. I mean come on, there are so many things to talk about- accentuate your assets, accessories, hair, make-up. Also, the majority viewership will be female.)

For instance, a plain girl with no extravagant tastes and fuss picks up utilitarian clothes for herself and looks, well, plain. Her girl-friends think thats so boring and that she needs to have a change. The pair enters the scene, takes her shopping, ask her to watch out for new trends and tell her what does and does not compliment her in terms colour, size, pattern, the works.

However, how many of such episodes can you watch? We need some fun, after all it’s entertainment! We need weird people, crazy people, stubborn people that we can turn around. Tada…

Enter Erin. 100% polyester and vegan. No leather, (duh!) all pvc. Her friends send a video of her clothes over to the pair describing one red outfit as ‘space hooker’ and another as ‘I-don’t-even-know-what-this-is.’ The pair, expectedly, can’t wait to get their hands on Erin.


Do you think you look good??

You do realise people are laughing at you not with you…

Who would take all that lashing without a $5000 credit to buy new clothes? Hm? Hm?

So, next step, current wardrobe inspection.

Ohh-meyegawd! I feel like we went through the inner sanctum of hell! No, we went through the wardrobe of a serial killer. (Peels of laughter)

Who else wears this apart from ice skaters or hookers? (the family and friend crowd looks like– ‘they said it, oh, thank god, they said it to her’)

After dumping most of the clothing Erin owns into a big trash can, they ask her to join them back in New York where she would be shopping for her new and approved wardrobe. How is one supposed to buy clothes for themselves that some one else likes but not necessarily them? Therefore, the pair guide her.

Guide her!

Your personality is so overwhelming that we are trying to counter it.

Why don’t you try to be a little girlie?

We believe the way you are dressing is not helping you get a raise.

Erin: I don’t care about what someone thinks of me.

The Pair: Why dont you care??

Erin: ‘cuz I’m not impressing anyone…I can look $5 and still have respect for myself.

The Pair: Tone it down, do fewer weird things…classy and classique.

Erin: Boring!

The Pair: I’m sorry, is sanity boring these days?

In the end, Erin buys clothes that the pair think are chic and not weird. She gets a new hair style, learns a few make-up tricks and voila, you have a new Erin. The pair, family and friends announce her as sexy, hot and oh-so-chic!

The Pair: Now you are not unapproachable in a bad way, you are unapproachable in a different way.

Erin: Like people will look at me with longing but can’t approach me. (Oohs and Aahs in the background)

Everyone goes home happy and stylish. The audience is entertained with someone else’s embarrassment and The Pair once again establish themselves as the style gurus.

Did something inside you scream– Ekks-cyouzemee? Who’s definition of sanity are we talking about again?

Well, even without all that debate of definitions and labels and squares and pigeon holes,what happened to individualism?

Turn that around a bit. Why do conformists feel threatened by those who refuse to tow the same line?

The colours may catch your eyes or may even blind you, the cuts may be enviously out of your pocket, the weave may speak of exotic holiday, the coordination may be unthinkable until that moment, theย  embroidery style may be extinct… sartorially speaking, you can be taken by surprise or shocked in a gazillion ways. Or, would you rather see clones of yourself and your style everywhere?