Me on “What Not to Wear”

October 6, 2007

clinton and stacey

I sometimes watch makeover shows.  Especially lately as I am getting to the point where I am going to need a fair amount of new clothing.  With major shopping pending, I am paying more attention to clothes.  I am paying more attention to the fundamentals:  fit, proportion, patterns.  I imagine myself as the first covered muslima on TLC’s What Not to Wear.

First comes the beginning, in which the “fashion victim” is shown going about her daily routine in her unflattering clothes.   There’s me, in a somewhat tattered black jilbab and ivory scarf.  Cue the voiceover:  “Meet foreverloyal, busy stay at home mom with X children.  This  devoted mom actually loves fashion and makeover shows, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her.”  

Cut to my mom in my closet:  “This is what my daughter has:  Pullover black jilbab with vertical trim, another pullover black jilbab with vertical trim.  Here’s one that buttons down the front, sort of a nice coat design.  Tie front black jilbab with brown trim, another tie-front black jilbab with brown trim…oh wait, here’s a fancy crepe black jilbab with black embroidery and black crystals.  Too much BLACK!  Let me show you my daughter’s other clothes:  pink polo, white jeans, blue jeans, white satin shirt, ivory skirt suit.  She has other colors but you almost never see them!  Clinton and Stacey, get rid of all the black clothes and make her bring in some COLOR!”

  Next comes my interview by someone posing as a market researcher.  I can just picture it:  me outside the Target with the little kids.  “My style?  I don’t really have a style.  My mom bought this–it’s called a jilbab– from Saudi Arabia, and I pretty much just throw it over anything and walk out the door. Easy.  These white sneakers go with anything, and they’re really comfortable, great for running after my children… I pretty much always wear this ivory scarf, it goes with anything… of course I almost always wear this jilbab or the other black one my mom got me…Do I every wear anything else?  Well sometimes I wear jeans and an ivory tunic… I wear them with some nice sandals so I do make an effort now and again… I’m just too busy with the kids to put in too much effort.”

Then come the hosts viewing the footage.  “She looks like she had a fight with a bolt of black crepe–and the black crepe won.” “Those sneakers are a crime.” “When are moms going to realize that they deserve to put a little effort into themselves.”

I get pounced on when I think I’m at the masjid for a potluck, and whisked off to New York.  Then the problems begin.

“You’re clothes completely hide your shape.” 

“Uhhh… That’s kind of the point, Stacey.”

“Look, it looks like you have no waist.  If you would just wear something that nips in here…”

“Don’t touch me, Clinton.  I don’t like people touching me.”

Then of course there would be the appointment with Nick Arrojo.  “So what have you been doing with your hair?” 

“Shampoo, conditioner, coconut oil as a leave-in.  I use a deep protein treatment sometimes, and I love VO5 hot oil.”

“Can I see your hair so we can talk about a new style?”


Makeup appointment with Carmody:

“We’re going to use this great foundation and apply it with a sponge.  It’s a great formula, you put it on once in the morning and it stays all day.”

“Not after wudu it won’t.”

 Those poor people would not be able to handle me.  Although I am tempted to write in sometimes and see if they are up for the challenge.  It would really test their creativity if they could give a muslima a fashionable makeover and still keep to the code.  It could definitely be done.  The question is, would it be too frustrating for them to be unable to use tools such as “nipping in to draw the eye to the narrowest part of the torso”  and “using a deep V-neck to frame your face better” and not being able to touch their subjects to make their points?

Just might be.  So I’ll just have to do the makeover myself.  I’ll keep you posted. (insha’allah)


9 Responses to “Me on “What Not to Wear””

  1. My younger sister had to teach me how coordinate colors, but I refuse to wear different colors so she gave me up as lost cause. I usually stick to browns,dark reds,and other earth tones. I usually take my husband with me shopping for clothes to make sure that my colorblindness isn’t affect my good judgment(laughter).People have also chastised me for not wearing “sexy” clothing. I think you can be tasteful and alluring without putting your goods out for display. Thanks again for commenting at my blog :).

  2. cozy sister Says:

    Heh. That would be worth watching. I keep an eye on the fashion world a little bit because I make jewelry, and I enjoy The Sartorialist. I’ve been surprised a few times in the last year to see Muslim women featured in what is a mainstream fashion blog.

  3. MuslimahWarrior Says:

    Great entry. I adore makeover shoes, you could use their tips for the clothes u wear at home/ under the jilbab. There are some great blogs on muslimfashion try and

  4. Salam sister… Great post! I actually saw an episode of “How Do I Look” which featured a woman who was married to a Nation Of Islam guy. I know, not exactly Muslim, but it was interesting to see how they dealt with her issues about modesty.

    What was a bit frustrating though was that by the end of the show, her head-covering and modest clothes were replaced with a cleavage revealing dress and heels. I wish that people understood that you don’t have to dress frumpy in order to be modest.

    On another note, I have done my own little version of What Not To Wear on my Islamic clothing magazine. Check it out when you have time inshallah: … Salam 🙂


  5. Sabbah Haji Says:

    Great read, mashaAllah. 🙂

  6. keena Says:

    assalamu alaikum

    That is hilarious I always thought abt being on one of those shows…But u point out the trith of what the reality would probably be like.
    I saw one where there was a girl who used to be married to a “muslim” man (from her lingo it seemed he was Nation of Gods and Earths) and they wanted her to get away from the Modest look…It was the show with a british actress hosting..and two family members/friends and a stylist competing to find the “fashion victim” a new look.

  7. keena Says:

    OOps I see that someone already mention the other TV show above

  8. emily hough Says:


  9. Anonymous Says:

    I read your blog, and I think the same thing about having muslim women on the show and how it might be frustrate them but also force them to get creative with style. I hope you send them a copy of your blog.


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