2013-08-06 / Life

Carnley's Corner

Fashion? Not so much...
Lisa Carnley

I like television. I am not ashamed to admit it.

Even though there isn’t always something worthwhile to watch, I do enjoy some reality television – as long as it has nothing to do with “real” housewives (from anywhere) or folks looking for a spouse, or shows that make it seem acceptable (or admirable) to bear a child while still a teenager.

One of my favorite shows is “Project Runway.” Contestants compete to see who can make the wildest outfit from items purchased at a pet store or grocery store, or that is designed after a child’s painting.

Each week, the challenges seem to get a little more, well, challenging.

I am hooked, and I have been since the show premiered some 10 years ago. I just am not sure why.

Many of the outfits the contestants create are fashioned with the most awful-looking material – gaudy patterns, wild and outrageous colors and fabrics that look uncomfortable to the touch.

And when contestants prepare runway models for the big fashion show reveal, the hairstyles selected by designers also leave a lot to be desired, as do their choices in accessories. I have laughed myself silly on several occasions.

One of the funniest moments came when a contestant, who called his design aesthetic “edgy,” had his model wear a white handlebar mustache. A mustache! Hilarious and ridiculous at the same time.

Whatever was he thinking? Even the judges were speechless – a state in which model, host and judge Heidi Klum doesn’t often find herself.

In another episode, contestants were charged with making an outfit a socialite would wear to a party. I don’t know about you, but I am not familiar with too many socialites in Lampasas, so I guess I’m no expert on what they should wear to have tea (pinkies extended) and eat crumpets.

But I am pretty confident that no women wants to be caught dead in a knee-length black dress with two-footwide pockets on both sides. Why would any woman wear something that exaggerated her hips in any way?

Needless to say, that contestant was out, as Heidi would put it.

Through the years, I suppose there are just a handful of outfits I would have considered wearing -- though none in public. Most of what they create on the show is not for the average woman.

That is proven by the 6-foottall models with perfect hair, skin and teeth – the “average woman,” according to Hollywood standards, I guess.

Not many “average” women really look like that. And I am convinced that designers believe gorgeous models will make women think they can look just like a runway model if they wear the outfits the designers create.

I don’t know about that, but I can guarantee that it doesn’t matter what material they make my dress out of, what gold jewelry they pile on me, or if I wear a white handlebar mustache. I am never going to be any closer to six feet tall with blonde hair than I am now.

In this case, reality TV isn’t reality at all. It’s a fantasy that dress-makers have cooked up to convince the shopping public (by that I mean mostly women) that by purchasing their expensive clothing pieces, people will look at them differently, and they will feel five inches taller and 15 pounds thinner.

Even if their clothing is designed to make me feel that way (and who doesn’t want to be 15 pounds thinner?) I could never go out in public in those outfits.

So why do I watch? I guess it’s because the contestants themselves are so … interesting.

It’s kind of like a train wreck – hard to watch, but hard to turn away from at the same time.

And for me, that’s what good television is all about.

Lisa Carnley is managing editor of the Lampasas Dispatch Record.

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