Yesterday I attended the first-ever taping of “What Not to Wear” in front of a live studio audience. I was invited to attend because, as you may remember, last year I was surprise-ambushed by my friends and family and coworkers and given a $5,000 makeover — complete with a wardrobe overhaul, make up assessment and new hairdo. As a past contributor — which is what “WNTW” calls its makeovers — I was invited to update viewers on my life since the show aired. But I also learned a ton – from “WNTW” experts Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, Carmindy and Ted Gibson– about what exactly goes into putting together a hour-long TV program in front of a studio audience. I won’t reveal exactly what went on during the one-of-a-kind episode — you’re going to have to tune in to find out! — but you should definitely click through for tips on makeup, clothes and how your TV sausage is made.
1. Making a TV show takes a long time. Like, a really long time. To produce one hour of TV (with commercial breaks) took around eight hours.
2. Producers will lie to you and tell you that it will only take four hours. Don’t ever believe them.
3. Carmindy Make Up Tip #1: To ensure that your make up doesn’t slide off your face over the course of the day, make sure to apply foundation first, then concealer over top of your foundation, and then powder to set it. If you don’t do all three steps, well, you are SOL.
4. Clinton Kelly Fashion Tip #1: If you are of the long torso variety, it might be worth it to purchase tops from the “tall” section — even if you’re not very tall overall. The best companies that offer tall tops are J. Crew, Banana Republic and Gap.
5. Ted Gibson Hair Tip #1: Have long hair and want a change, but don’t want to sacrifice any length? Go for a color change. Ted recommends that you change your color at least twice a year, with the seasons. And if you’re worried about damage, go for a subtle glaze color shift. Glazes contain no ammonia or peroxide, which are the damaging components in hair color.
6. Stacy London Fashion Tip #1: Every outfit should have a “completer piece.” That’s a piece that — like the Dude’s rug in “The Big Lebowski” — really ties the look together. If you’re wearing a pair of dark jeans and a sparkly multi-colored top, grab a lightweight solid-color cardigan to go over the top.
7. Despite the fact that Stacy London is obviously the most petite adorable flower of a person — seriously, the woman disappears when she turns sideways — live audiences will still say ridiculous things about the way she looks. For instance, someone sitting behind me, who obviously weighed at least 200 pounds more than Stacy, had the gall to say, “Oh, Stacy looks so much fatter on TV.” What are you tallllllking about?
8. TV show tapings will offer you copious amounts of water but very few snacks. Like, you keep me somewhere for eight hours, I WANT PIZZA. So yeah, bring a snack.
9. Ted Gibson Hair Tip #2: You are never, ever too old to dye your hair. Or to have long hair. Ted recommends throwing all the rules out the window and do what you like.
10. Clinton Kelly Fashion Tip #2: If you’re going for a retro look — say ’60s “Mad Men” retro, for instance — don’t make the mistake of imitating the look exactly. Otherwise you’ll end up looking costume-y rather than cute. Instead, peel back a layer or so from your reference point. If you were going to wear pearl jewelry, choose one piece instead of three. Think of the time period as an inspiration point, not a guidebook you need to follow word for word.
11. Carmindy Make Up Tip #2: CARMINDIZE! Don’t know what that is? It’s highlighting on your cheek bones, the inside of your eyes and right underneath your eyebrows. Use a highlighting powder on those three points for an added glow.
12. There will never be enough audience gift bags, so make sure you sit at a seat that definitely has one. Most likely, they will be filled with tons of crap you don’t want. But sometimes they will have things like Carmindy’s makeup line in ‘em that you’ll absolutely want to cut a bitch for.
13. Ted Gibson introduced a hair tool called a bungee, which is like a ponytail holder with hooks on the end. One end of the bungee device is hooked into the hair, looped around your ponytail and then other end is hooked in to the hair. He was like, “Oh, this is so easy! You’ll have a perfect ponytail!” It is only easy if you have Ted Gibson doing your hair for you.
14. Stacy London has a tiny man in suspenders come out and smooth out her dress for her in between takes. It’s also his job to stretch out her incredible Miu Miu shoes (size 7.5) before she puts them on. The way he does this: a clothing steamer, and having someone else walk in them.
15. Ted Gibson Hair Tip #3: There are now hair straighteners on the market that will straighten and dry at the same time. But the key is making sure that your hair isn’t sopping wet, first. You should blow it somewhat dry before turning the straightening iron on it. And straighten it in small 1-inch chunks for optimal results.
16. Carmindy Make Up Tip #3: Your ideal foundation shade should literally disappear into your skin. You know you’ve found the right color when you put a swipe of it on your jawline and it disappears when it dries. Buy that shade.
17. Did I mention that taping this show took friggin’ FOREVER?
Got a style emergency? We don’t have Stacy and Clinton but we’ll try our best! Feel free to send us your pressing questions!