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Posted: August 20, 2013 5:29 p.m.

Travis: Here's 'What Not to Wear'

Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are beginning their 10th and final season of the television program "What Not to Wear" on TLC.

I am going to miss them. I love "What Not to Wear."

The program began in 2003 in January and was based on a British TV show of the same name. My granddaughters love it, and it is one show we can watch and enjoy together — this one and the show where they bake cupcakes with the weirdest combinations I have ever heard of.

If you have never watched "What Not to Wear,’’ the format is that friends or family recommend someone for a makeover. Stacy and Clinton then travel to that person’s hometown and surprise him or (mostly) her, in front of family and friends and with television cameras.

Some surprise. The makeover candidate usually thinks she is there for another reason; it is usually pretty corny at this point.

The nominated person is offered a $5,000 credit card and a chance to go to New York and shop. The catch is that she has to take her whole wardrobe to New York, allow Stacy and Clinton to trash it, and then shop by their "rules."

Everyone sits down and watches videos of the woman going about her everyday life in somewhat bizarre outfits. Stacy and Clinton keep up a running commentary on what a disaster the clothes are.

The woman then arrives in New York and unpacks her clothes. She is invited to show off about three outfits she likes in a 365-degree mirror.

I don’t think anybody would look good reflecting that many times.

The woman is told what is wrong with her outfits and shown a mannequin with what Stacy and Clinton deem appropriate attire. Then her old wardrobe is rifled through rather quickly, and with a few exceptions, the whole kit and caboodle is thrown in the trash, hangers and all. Even shoes.

Next, the viewer is treated to seeing the woman shopping alone and trying to find something that she thinks is appropriate under "the rules." Stacy and Clinton watch on a television monitor and make catty comments about what the woman picks out. This part of the show can generally end in a meltdown. The woman needs more direction as she is bombarded by clothing choices.

It all sounds increasingly cruel up until this point. And the comments Stacy and Clinton make are sometimes hilarious. And they are right. You have to agree with them.

But the next day, the woman is met in a department store by Clinton and Stacy. Here they actually show women how to shop, how to match pieces for a wardrobe, and how to ensure that things fit properly.

That’s the point of shopping their way: to find something that does fit and does flatter a woman’s body.

And the more you do it, they insist, the better and easier it will get. They never mock the person, just the clothes. They also advise women to get clothes tailored to fit.

Next the woman gets a new hairdo and a new makeup routine.

At the end of the show, the woman shows off three new outfits with her new hair and makeup. Stacy and Clinton are amazed at the differences and give the woman lots of compliments and positive reinforcement.

Then the woman goes home to a party and reveals her new look to the amazement of her friends.

She then, about a month later, models her new wardrobe and comments on how she is pleased with her new look.

What I like about the show is that the women who get makeovers are just ordinary women with body faults like anyone else. Some are overweight; some are middle-aged, and even a few were over 50.

No major alterations are done to their bodies: no surgeries, no dental work or hair implants or wigs.

And they really do look so much better. The transformations are amazing.

But most of these women had a long way to go.

Most wore super-revealing clothes or super-frumpy clothes or were 30 years old and buying clothes in the junior section.

Some have even admitted to wearing their daughters’ clothes.

Anyway, it makes me feel a little better when I look in the mirror.

I don’t look as weird as those women do when they first meet Stacy and Clinton.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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