July 10, 11:50 p.m.
As I rummage through my closet frantically looking for the perfect shirt, my heart is pounding in my chest. I realized I was more nervous about what I looked like than for any first date. Tomorrow, I was going to meet one of the harshest critics in fashion - Stacy London. I only had 10 minutes to interview her but I knew it would only take her a second to sum up me up from my look. Now normally I didn't care what people thought about my appearance. I was a reporter, it didn't bother me if people didn't like what I was wearing. But Stacy had a way of recognizing a person's self-attitude based on their appearance. So with this in mind I scrambled for something to impress her. But at last I realized nothing was good enough. So I decided instead of going for impressing the TLC fashion star, I would find out what she could say about me based on my appearance. I'd pick out the outfit that summarized me perfectly from my floral silk top down to my $4 sterling silver toe ring.
July 11, 11:39 a.m.
I was suppose to meet her in one minute. My heart started pounding harder as I sat waiting. In walked Stacy's two assistants. With every hair in place, the hair and makeup stylists looked like they just stepped out a designer's magazine. They quickly threw down several bags and took out a curling iron and a bag of makeup. Stacy, dressed in a sheath black dress and shoes with at least 5-inch heels, filled the room with her presence about five minutes later.
"How old are you?" she asked as we were introduced. "I'm old enough to be your mother!" she responded after I told her my age. Her face was thinner than it appeared on television. She had a little bit of graying hair, but overall still looked stunning.
She gracefully took a seat across from me while her stylists teased her hair and traced her lips with a light color of lipstick.
"They're great. I take them wherever I go," she said in reference to her stylists.
After the camera started rolling, I asked her what she thought of Chattanooga fashion and Southern fashion in general. She told me she had seen enough "capris and elastic pants" to make her nervous. I chuckled as I glanced down at the black capris I was wearing.
There are many clichés about the South, which she called "unfair and unfortunate."
"Everybody thinks big hats, and the higher the hair the closer to God," she laughed.
But it's important for people to dress in touch with the climate they live in, she said. At the same time, "I want it to be in a modern way."
Stacy mentioned several tips for dressing in the South, including anchoring bright clothes and florals with neutral colors - and sticking with a solid top if the bottom garment is bright.
When I asked her about how she got involved in fashion, she smiled. "I've always been involved in fashion."
As a child, she said, "I insisted on only wearing purple ... and I never took off my black patent Mary Jane's." She paused. "As most girls, I loved anything sparkly."
After graduating college, her first job was working for Vogue, where she learned everything about fashion. She described Vogue as a "fashion boot camp." After working in fashion for several years, she said she started to learn the difference between "the way you dress yourself and the way you dress a model for a picture."
Fashion doesn't always translate into "real life," she said.
Once she came to that realization, Stacy told me she wanted to find a way to bridge that gap.
She was offered the spot on TLC after doing some freelance work. She said she was in the elevator when she got the call that she would co-host "What not to Wear."
"At first I thought, great I'll do this for a couple of months." She paused. "That was seven years ago. ... This is the job I was made for."
She said no one in fashion was adequately translating fashion for "real people" and that's what she does.
"Style should be about self-expression," she said.
With that sentence in the air, I asked Stacy if she would amuse my readers and describe my self-expression through my outfit. A worker stuck his hand through the door and whispered one minute.
At 22, you can get away with wearing anything, she said. "What your doing is lovely ... crop pants and a floral top."
I laughed, thinking back to the crop pants comment she made earlier. Perhaps the fashion diva was feeling a little soft today. Either way, it amused me.
After that she had it right, saying my clothes were contained to "you and your career."
"Your wearing something to try and get ahead in your career," she said.
Even if she was being nicer than normal, she was the same person on the camera as off, I thought as she left the room. She was a woman who wanted to help other women be confident in their self-expression. I have to admit I was a little impressed.