You might get addicted to looking like a new you.
—Jai Rodriguez, Ultimate Style
You are the energy you project—from the inside!
—Cesar Milan, Dog Whisperer
It’s time for you to wake up and see the new you.
—Nick, hair stylist, to subject Christine, What Not
By way of conclusion, I want to turn to two shows that premiered as I
was completing this book, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and How to Look Good
Naked. Both programs illustrate the multifaceted justifications for selfhood
that permeate makeover programming. Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style instructs
fashion-frustrated and esteem-blocked women in how to locate and cel-
ebrate their unique selves through a style makeover that promises greater
personal and professional success. We are told, for instance, that subject
Rebecca’s self-esteem issues, like many other subjects in the makeover
maze, stem from her “chameleon” wardrobe that is too broad, masculine,
and unflattering to offer a suitable platform for selfhood. Other subjects
on this show experience similar issues: Nicole is a frumpy mom; JeAnne
doesn’t know how to dress her newly slim body; Stephanie is a doctor who
looks like a teenager. All say that being looked at brings uncomfortable
self-consciousness. Confesses Rebecca, “I would feel better just almost
being a wall flower sometimes.”
After the initial search and seizure of the subject’s wardrobe where
stylists enact the tough love of affective domination by calling clothes
can this makeover be saved?