Stacy London, who is best known as the fashion goddess and go-to mentor on TLC’s long-running program What Not To Wear, which aired from 2003 to 2013, is not just a stylist, but an author, magazine editor, creative director at Westfield Style, as well as an ambassador for multiple brands. She’s a modern day fashion icon, yet really could not care less about the “rules” of fashion and style at this point in her life.
This witty bada** of the fashion world has won the adoration of fans across the continent due to her straightforward manner in making her point known. She doesn’t hold back, even when it comes to describing herself. London’s openness about her life’s path, which many would find to be unconventional, is inspirational and reminds that there are no rules when it comes to the path chosen, so why adhere to those restrictive rules of “what not to wear” at a certain age? In a penned tell-all for Refinery 29, the beauty got right to the heart of the matter.
“At my age, if you aren’t Oprah or a man, the stigma of getting older starts to take shape…I’ve grown up without becoming a conventional grown-up. Meaning, I’m not married. I don’t have kids, a second home, or a mortgage. I don’t run an office full of employees. I don’t go to the same job every day. And because of this, sometimes people (myself included) find it hard to measure my value without the traditional milestones of a life lived or a collection of identifiable CliffsNotes at the ready.”
London shares that she is pleased that she doesn’t bow down to the conventional societal pressures and noted that not being labeled really has its advantages as it allows her to remain a bit of an “enigma” and a mystery of sorts, which causes people to want to know more. ” People seemingly want to know more about me, because I haven’t played by conventional social rules. I don’t ‘act’ my age,” she writes.
Although WNTW seems like it left airwaves only a short time ago, the 47-year-old shares that even over 3-years time her sense of style has changed and she looks at herself on rerun episodes in realization that her style while on the program does not reflect who she is at this point in her life.
“When I look back, I realize the style I had while I was on What Not to Wear — the pencil skirts and sheath dresses, the floral and ruffled tops — does not reflect who I am now. It reflects the television persona I gave up a long time ago. It no longer “fits.” (Pun intended.) I dress much more androgynously than I did when I was younger…I like suits and leather and jumpsuits, and I almost exclusively wear pants.”
Although there is a worry that some of her fans, who came to be so because of her time on the hit show, may not like her current choices of style, she admits that in growing older and experiencing more, influences along the way have shaped who she now is.
“It isn’t simply that I no longer play by the gender rulebook, it’s that the rules suddenly feel stacked against me. We still live in a culture where men grow more handsome, distinguished, and even trustworthy with age. Women are not afforded the same. Sociobiologically speaking, in caveman days, if we could no longer bear children our use-value dropped sharply and inevitably…Current culture leads me to believe I’m supposed to attempt to look 25 for the next 50 years. Even if we’re past bearing children, are we meant to look as if we still can? Is that what Botox and fillers and peels and exercising 11 times a week are meant to do for us? Hang on. What?”
This Renaissance woman is not apologizing for her transition to style quite far-removed from her days on the TLC show, but does hope that fans don’t feel betrayed due to her transition in style.
“I don’t want people who have believed in my advice over the years to feel I’ve betrayed them by no longer ‘looking the part.’ The fact is, my public persona was only ever ‘part’ of who I was to begin with. The Stacy I was in 2002 cannot possibly be the Stacy of 2016. Age is part of time, and does in fact change things.”
Stacy London is a true inspiration to women, not only for her wonderful sense of style that is always fluid and a reflection of who she is, but also because she reminds to live life for you and not in response to the societal pressures that surround on the daily. Make the world uniquely yours, lovelies!
By Jessica Ashley Dafoe