‘Daring’ Greatly

Last night, TLC unveiled its all-new lineup of summer shows know as “Summer Fridays.” After watching the great Stacy London work her magic on “Love, Lust, or Run” and Gretta Monahan and Robert Verdi turn a heavily-tatooed bride into the picture of elegance on the new series “Brides Gone Styled,” the final show of TLC’s all-new Friday nights was “Dare to Wear,” hosted by Style Ambassador for InStyle Tai Beauchamp. And it was worth the wait!

The show approaches traditional makeovers in a way I have never seen: two women with opposite styles are selected to participate in the makeover, but before they can receive their makeovers, they must switch outfits with the other participant. After they literally strip down and trade the clothes off their backs for those of the other participant, they must spend the day in the other participant’s outfit; this means running errands, going out to eat or going to the gym in a perfect stranger’s clothing!

Once their day in each others’ clothing is up, they report back to the studio and tell host Tai Beauchamp and the other participant how it felt to wear the other’s clothing, how they were treated in the clothing and if they liked it. In last night episode,  a participant who normally dressed in more revealing clothing and high heels swapped clothing with someone who wore oversized plaid shirts and cowboy boots. Doing this made the flashier participant realize she needed to tone down her look a little bit while making the more laid-back participant realize she could wear girlier, more form-fitting clothing every now and then.

Then the makeover moved into phase two, in which each participant shopped with Beauchamp to figure out what works on their body types, as well as how to incorporate the lessons they learned from wearing their counterpart’s clothing for a day; this meant figuring out how to scale back one’s look while learning how to dress up the other’s look.

With their newfound knowledge, the participants went back to the studio with Beauchamp where she pulled two lifestyle-appropriate outfits for each of her participants. The participants tried on each of the outfits selected for them, modeling it for Beauchamp who told them why it worked for their lifestyles and their body types.

Finally, we arrived at phase three of the makeover: hair and makeup. Each participant received a haircut, styling and makeup from a professional, while Beauchamp worked to create a final, more dressed-up look for the participants to wear when they revealed their look to their friends and families. Once they were finished in hair and makeup, the participants finally got to see their new look, which was later revealed not only to their families and friends, but also to the other participant.

The hour-long show was such a pleasant surprise; the commercials for “Dare to Wear” made it seem like it was merely a show about swapping clothes with a complete stranger for a day and discussing the results. But this show is so much more; “Dare to Wear” is as much about where fashion and psychology meet as it is about stepping into someone else’s shoes (literally).

Each phase of the show builds both psychologically and stylistically upon the previous phase, using the clothing swap at the beginning as the catalyst for the forthcoming change. The clothing swap lets them experience a look completely opposite of their own to show them that neither extreme is acceptable, thus allowing them to hit the reset button on their personal styles.

Once they work with Beauchamp, the participants become students and Beauchamp the teacher, and together, they solve not only their style struggles but also any personal struggles that may be holding them back from achieving their perfect style. Helping the participants reimagine their style becomes as much about picking the right pieces for their body types as it is about picking their brains to get to the root of their problems and ultimately overcome them. As a result, the participants not only received an education in building a personal style, they also received an education in building confidence in who they are and what they look like.

To me, “Dare to Wear” is not just another makeover show; it is equal parts entertaining and educational. It is the kind of show every woman should watch because it helps us to understand how women’s (and our own) style may be the outward manifestation of internal struggles, as well as learn how to begin to fix our style struggles and our personal struggles.

TLC really hit it out of the park with this show, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring!



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