Most of us know Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear, on which she whips unsuspecting ordinary citizens into stylish shape, but we're about to see her in a new light, with her new book, The Truth About Style. The revealing tome details everything from her battles with psoriasis as a girl to the anorexia and compulsive overeating she struggled with, partially while working on staff at Vogue magazine. (Gaining 40 pounds at the world's top fashion magazine while working alongside stick-thin women is as tough as one might imagine, Stacy has said.)
Suffice it to say, if you've ever felt unpretty or ungainly, Stacy understands. And it's not all about having a pair of killer heels (though she has many) or a fab pencil skirt (though she rocks them so well) — in fact, when she and I talked, she was sporting sneakers and a black knit beanie, downtown-style, but looked no less chic and put-together. Here's what she told us about being your best self, whatever shape or look you've got:
"Whatever you do with your friends and however you want to be with them is one thing, but don't ever put your job in jeopardy by giving the impression that you're a whore."
"If you're going to show skin one place, don't show it another. So in other words, just limit the amount of skin. If you're going to show your legs, do a dress that's got a longer arm or a flowier top, so that it doesn't feel like you're just on show. If you're going to do something like show your back, well then make sure your arms are covered and your dress is a little bit longer. It's just being smart. Again, too much cleavage — if you really wouldn't show it at the office, there's no reason to show it at the holiday party."
Throw these away now: "Any sweatpants with anything written on your ass. Not even for the gym. I don't wanna see it."
"Before you buy anything...take a good long look at who you are — your age, your body, your lifestyle, your finances, everything — and why it is you feel a dissatisfaction, and then see if you can let go of the dissatisfaction. Like, if everything was perfect, it would still be a problem. Start from there."
"When I talk about reinvention, usually it has to do with a woman wanting to change circumstances. Get a new job, or find a new boyfriend, or whatever it is. You have to think about whether or not it's you who needs the reinvention or that it's the way you see yourself. I think having a very clear mindset to your image is almost the most important thing you can do before you start to play."
"Too many women are dissatisfied with their bodies, and they end up wearing clothes that don't fit. In an effort to feel invisible, people wear clothes that actually make them look embarrassed [and] ashamed, which is much more visible than dressing with pride."
"We don't take a lot of stock — especially in this country — in our image as people. We forget how powerful first impressions are... The fact is, you may think you're comfortable, you don't care, but when you have people thinking that you're lazy — a potential mate or a potential boss — you're closing doors, you're closing opportunities."
The easiest way for a woman to feel beautiful? "Appreciate the fact that there's nobody with her genetic makeup in the world."
"I talk about snowflakes all the time on Twitter. And the reason I do is because I had a lot of very young girls contacting me, 'You're so pretty, you have so much confidence.' Meanwhile, I'm like, 'I have crappy days, and I've never thought I was pretty!' Different is nice, but it's sure isn't pretty. That's sort of always been my theme song. It really started to upset me that there were these girls who were heaping this idolatry onto me, when, one, I don't feel that that's appropriate, and two, they felt there was some magic recipe to feeling good or being perfect, when it's about being imperfect, and that is perfection... Just like a snowflake, what is the point of comparing yourself to something that can never look or be like you? And it takes a lot of the pressure off."
"I've found that a lot of the girls who follow me on Twitter have become like this little snowflake family, and they really rely on each other, and they're really supportive of each other, and that is how to feel beautiful."
The new season of What Not to Wear premieres January 3rd on TLC!
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