Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear had an important challenge with Sara, a 32 year old mother, 4-year cancer survivor, and spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society. Diagnosed at age 28, Sara had a double mastectomy and opted to not do reconstructive surgery. As she later explained to the What Not to Wear team, she wanted to show her children that a person’s inside was more important than their outside.
After her recovery, Sara worked on losing 90 pounds. With her drastically altered appearance, Sara was unable to find any clothing she truly felt good in, and had lapsed into track suits and t-shirts. Wanting to give Sara the self-confidence and attractive wardrobe she deserved, friends and family nominated her for What Not to Wear.
What Not to Wear Makeover — The Secret Footage
Sara’s body issues surfaced immediately during the What Not to Wear secret footage. She was sure that nothing was going to look good on her, adding that “the mannequins have bigger boobs than I do.” Stacy and Clinton assured her that they would be able to help, and that it might be frustrating at times finding the right clothes, it was by no means impossible.
Sara’s footage included shots of her wearing her track clothes. Sara admitted she wore her gym clothes out to do errands after working out in them. Stacy and Clinton also noted that Sara had difficulty figuring out where her clothes should sit on her body, now that she no longer had the typical hourglass shape. Interviewed by What Not to Wear, Sara’s family and friends said she focused more on familiar things like her children and husband and giving to others, while avoiding her new and unfamiliar body.
What Not to Wear Makeover — First Outfit
Stacy and Clinton put Sara into the What Not to Wear 360 mirror. Wearing a track suit, headband, and flip flops she claimed to wear “even in winter”, Sara did not look like the confident survivor and ACS spokesperson she wished to represent. When Stacy and Clinton questioned why she didn’t wear more flattering outfits, Sara said she didn’t feel “worthy” and figured everyone who saw her considered her a “freak show”.
Heading over to the first What Not to Wear mannequin, Stacy and Clinton tried to bolster Sara’s confidence. They showed her a ruffled blouse with a draping neckline, with a cami underneath to offer more coverage. This was paired with a jacket, atop straight leg jeans and boots. Stacy and Clinton offered her the clothing advice they would give to any woman with a smaller bust size, to look for blouses with extra detailing that created the illusion of curves, as well as figure flattering jackets to create the shape she wanted.
What Not to Wear Makeover — Second Outfit
Sara appalled Stacy and Clinton by donning a short sleeved sweater that resembled a t-shirt, and a floor-length print skirt, and calling it wedding attire. Since the skirt was too long, Sara was also hiking up the waistband and creating an even frumpier look. Stacy and Clinton informed Sara that long skirts did not equal formality, and were unflattering on her petite frame. When asked why she couldn’t put on something that showed how proud and confident she was to be a survivor and an inspiration to others. “I don’t want to seem too boastful,” she replied. Our two favorite What Not to Wear stylists quickly told her to ditch that thinking and allow herself to be proud of her accomplishments.
On the second What Not to Wear mannequin, Stacy and Clinton showed a slinky black dress with a fluttery silk panel at the bustline and print detailing just below. Sara liked the dress but wasn’t sure if she could pull it off. “Sexy is not in my vocabulary.” Stacy and Clinton assured her it should be, and told her that this style of dress was something that a curvier woman couldn’t wear, but she could.
What Not to Wear Makeover — Third Outfit
Sara went into the What Not to Wear 360 mirror for the final time in a boxy and too-large gray suit, a hot pink polo, and square toed shoes. She said she felt it was “sophisticated” and perfect for speaking arrangements. Stacy and Clinton did not agree. After talking with Sara, they confirmed that she wanted to convey a positive image to other cancer survivors that there was “life after cancer”–and she probably wasn’t doing that as well with her “frumpy mom” image.
A 2-button classic gray suit awaited on the What Not to Wear mannequin, with a draping hot pink blouse. It was a more attractive and flattering version of the outfit Sara had on, and helped her to see what the next step in her wardrobe would look like. Asked how she felt about the outfits they’d shown her and her upcoming What Not to Wear shopping spree, Sara was nervous but “excited to try” these new looks.
What Not to Wear Makeover — Shopping Day One
It didn’t take long for Stacy and Clinton to throw out all of Sara’s frumpy clothes, including the floral skirt Clinton dubbed “a table runner with an elastic waist”. With a clean slate, Sara headed out for her first shopping day on What Not to Wear. Unfortunately, she tried on a lot of strange clothing, seeming to set herself up for failure by trying on a strapless dress and then a triangle shaped bulky sweater.
Stacy and Clinton watched the What Not to Wear film with horror as Sara repeatedly remarked on all of her perceived flaws, her “bubble butt”, “thunder thighs”, “heavy calves”, etc. She even went so far as to say she couldn’t wear a small stiletto heel because a “girl of my size will probably break the heel.” Stacy and Clinton could see that Sara was still seeing herself 90 pounds heavier, and not as she actually was.
Disappointed at the end of the shopping day, Sara confessed to the What Not to Wear cameras that she was “psychologically screwed up”, and that despite beating cancer and losing so much weight, she couldn’t stop being hard on herself for not being “perfect”.
What Not to Wear Makeover — Shopping Day Two
Sara was still emotionally raw on day two of What Not to Wear. When Stacy and Clinton talked to her about her negative body image, she tearfully replied: “I bust my butt to look like this and I’m still heavy.” This is an example of how terrible the pressure on women is. Here we have a dedicated mom who beat cancer, and then lost 90 lbs. that had been put on by stress and steroid treatments, and she still doesn’t think she’s good enough. With all the constant media images–and pictures in the stores, too–of size 0 and under models, it’s no wonder women have self esteem issues. How much healthier would women be if we saw an array of healthy body types portrayed as role models?
Stacy and Clinton assured Sara that she was attractive and had a great figure. Stacy was sure to tell her that her “bubble butt” was actually something most women would kill for. Since she was self-conscious about it, Stacy recommended slit pockets in back, as they draw the least attention to that area. The What Not to Wear stylists advised Sara to choose pieces that would shorten her torso and extend her legline to make her look taller and leaner.
When they got Sara into a pretty print blouse with a tied bow at the neckline and flattering flutter sleeves, her outlook brightened. She actually commented that she liked the way her arms looked, and she flexed her bicep in front of the mirror. Stacy and Clinton were delighted she finally chose a positive remark about her body rather than a negative. “I need to stop breaking myself down,” Sara agreed.
What Not to Wear Makeover — The Hairstyle
This one was a little tricky. What Not to Wear stylist Ted Gibson talked to Sara about her lackluster washed-out blonde hair. Sara confessed she didn’t do much of anything to it, and was perfectly willing to change. Ted took a risk and chopped off a lot of hair, and died it a fairly bright red. With very short layers and combed forward, it did look a little sparse, but it was amazing how much it made Sara’s eyes and cheekbones stand out. “My face looks thin!” Sara exclaimed.
While super-short isn’t my favorite hairstyle, it actually did give Sara a youthful look, and I think that a drastic change was what she needed. The way it put all the focus on her face seemed to give her confidence, and that’s the most important thing. We’ve seen a lot of What Not to Wear contestants get beautiful hairstyles and still look terrible because they were so miserable. Sara was smiling and bright-eyed and looked beautiful, especially because she was so happy.
What Not to Wear Makeover — The Makeup
What Not to Wear makeup artist Carmindy is all about confidence and playing up your best features. She talked with Sara for awhile, guessing that Sara had built up this “hard candy shell” to present to others to prove she was strong and fine with everything. Sara liked the analogy, and agreed with Carmindy’s assessment, and also that inside she was “the mushy, messy center.” Carmindy said it was time to let everything go and take a moment for herself.
For Sara’s What Not to Wear makeover, Carmindy suggested a liquid foundation followed by a little brow corrector to help fill in her brows and create a sharper frame for her eyes. Carmindy then added two highlighter eye shadow shades in a champagne hue, along with a contour shade in the crease. She finished off the eyes with mascara on the top and bottom lashes, and a dusting of blush on the cheekbones. The final touch was a shimmery pink lip gloss.
Sara was thrilled with her new makeup and was overwhelmed with how vibrant and pretty she looked. She told Carmindy she couldn’t help feeling a little guilty, as if she didn’t deserve it. Carmindy didn’t let that stand, and told her she could be beautiful and take care of herself and still be a wonderful mom. One does not have to exclude the other. With a tear streaming down her cheek, Sara warmly hugged Carmindy and thanked her.
What Not to Wear Makeover — The Final Reveal
Sara had three great outfits for her What Not to Wear reveal. Stacy and Clinton were astonished when she came out with her new bright pixie hairdo and a pink scoop blouse, gray trousers, a black jacket, and dangling earrings. She looked younger and happier, and Stacy and Clinton made sure she knew how gorgeous and confident she looked–the perfect look for her ACS presentations.
Her second What Not to Wear ensemble was a gorgeous abstract print ruffly blouse, a camel leather jacket, jeans with a slight boot cut, and plum flats. This was her “mom on the go” outfit as Stacy called it, and it was a far cry from her old track suits.
The final What Not to Wear outfit was an all over print blouse with a scoop neck and pleated detailing, tucked into a belted slim skirt and capped off with pretty heels. Stacy stressed that they had made these outfits around Sara’s body, showing it to its best advantage. “Women, it can be done,” Sara said directly to the camera, imploring viewers to take time for themselves, as she finally had. She then thanked Stacy and Clinton for being so kind and helpful to her.
What Not to Wear Makeover — Sara’s What Not to Wear Experience
Sara wowed her family and friends when she joined the party in a royal blue dress with ruching and fabulous lace strap details that led from the front to a crisscross in the back. Her husband, mother, and friends were thrilled to see her looking so confident and happy, and dressed to the nines. After so many trials at such a young age, Sara definitely deserves to have her moment in the spotlight.
This is What Not to Wear at its best. Sara was a sweet and generous makeover recipient, and Stacy and Clinton held back on their usual TV sarcasm to make sure Sara was comfortable with them. They gave her some very useful clothing advice to dress her body the way it is, to make her feel confident and beautiful, and to maintain the modesty she wanted to keep people’s prying eyes from her scars. What Not to Wear helped out a very deserving woman, who is an inspiration to all women.
Watch What Not to Wear on TLC, Friday nights at 9/8c. Check local listings for encores and repeats of previous What Not to Wear episodes.