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Image source: Michele Phoenix

5 Shows like What Not to Wear: Makeover Mayhem

Charlotte Lucas itcherTV is fit to burst with makeover shows. ‘What Not to Wear’ was the top contender of the early 2000s in makeover show territory, with hosts Trinny and Susannah dressing the nation and becoming household names. Famous for their brutally honest and straight-talking approach, the presenters really made the show what it was. If you loved ‘What Not to Wear’, be sure to check out TV shows like it including ‘Fashion Police’ and ‘Snog Marry Avoid?’ ~ Charlotte Lucas

Make me Over

Honesty makes a makeover show. There’s no use in sugar coating your criticism and ‘What Not to Wear’ was so popular because it didn’t pull punches. Trinny and Susannah would tell it like it is; if you looked awful, they weren’t afraid to let you know.

The recommendations in this list are equally as savage, accepting no weaknesses and sparing no feelings. If you believe advice should be given with absolute truthfulness, read my suggestions for series similar to ‘What Not to Wear’.


Shows Similar to ‘What Not to Wear’…

‘Fashion Police’ (E! Entertainment Television, 2010–Present)

The premise of this show is slightly dubious – panellists critique outfits worn by celebrities, often in a harsh and unforgiving way. Female celebrities in particular are regularly ridiculed and degraded for entertainment, with the hosts offering their opinion as if it were fact.

I know I’ve painted a daunting picture of the show, but I think it all depends on your sense of humour. If you’re not easily offended and tend to find harsh criticism wickedly funny, you might just like it.

‘Fashion Police’ has not been stingy on the controversy. Take a look at this article for details on the latest.

Similarity Match: 90%
Though ‘Fashion Police’ is much more Hollywood than ‘What Not to Wear’, the two are equally brutal.

‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ (Endemol UK, 2008)

This short-lived series presented by stylist and presenter Gok Wan was a whirlwind of fashion. The style advice was based on the concept of living on a budget, with a high-end vs high street catwalk competition at the end of every show. Famous guest stars included Alexa Chung, Mischa Barton and Joan Collins.

It’s sickly sweet and if you’re not into clothes all that much, it could be a chore to watch. However, if you do love to hear about the latest trends and style tips, the show is executed well and Gok Wan is as charming and flamboyant as ever. If you don’t have a lot of disposable income but still want to look good, I’d give the show a go.

Similarity Match: 80%
Though ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ is much less outdated than ‘What Not to Wear’, Gok Wan is just as hands-on a host as Trinny and Susannah.

‘This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show’ (RDF Television West, 2014)

This is a fashion makeover show with a twist: participants are taught to shun the high street in favour of vintage clothes. They are taken to thrift stores to buy pieces they would never usually wear, as well as being shown how to do up old clothes to make them look better than ever.

The show is presented by vintage lover Dawn O’Porter, a well-meaning but erratic host who goes big on the one liners. It’s oddly refreshing to watch a makeover show featuring clothes from the past, but this seems to be niche viewing – if you’ve no interest in second hand threads, you’ll be on the fence. Read this review to make up your own mind.

Similarity Match: 65%
‘This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show’ is current and topical, but Trinny and Susannah would eat Dawn O’Porter alive.


If You Like ‘What Not to Wear’, You Will Like…

The following recommendations are alike to ‘What Not to Wear’ but they don’t solely focus on fashion. These are makeover shows, but they branch out of the style world into general appearances – transformation television at its finest.

If you’re after TV series like this, you’re going to love what I have in store for you.

‘How to Look Good Naked’ (Maverick Television, 2006–2010)

Another Gok Wan show, ‘How to Look Good Naked’, took not-so-confident contestants and turned them into women who would be happy to do a catwalk show both in their underwear and out of it.

To reach this level of self-esteem, Wan puts the participant through her paces with exercises including placing herself in a body line-up and plastering her half-naked image on to tourist attractions. I don’t know about you, but this would make me want to put even more clothes on.

Surprisingly though, this approach usually worked – enthusiastic and touchy-feely, housewives everywhere were won over by the show and the thought that they, too, could look good with their tits out. That is some achievement.

Though ‘What Not to Wear’ also encouraged women to bare all in confidence, ‘How to Look Good Naked’ was much more sensitive, working on building up self-esteem rather than being overly critical.

‘Snog Marry Avoid?’ (Remarkable Television, 2008–2013)

‘Snog Marry Avoid?’ is trash TV, but with a good message. Members of the general public step into a ‘pod’ and are then judged by the machine based on their looks. They are then given a ‘make under’ rather than a makeover, in order to achieve a more natural look. Before and after this process, other people are asked the question – snog, marry or avoid – in relation to the contestant’s looks. The aim is to show that having a less is more look will make more people want to ‘snog’ or ‘marry’ you.

When you think about it, the show is sort of problematic as it perpetuates the idea that beauty is only skin deep. Who cares what the public thinks of your appearance? However, it also carries the message that you don’t have to try too hard to be beautiful, which is always good.

‘Snog Marry Avoid?’ shares a sense of superiority with ‘What Not to Wear’ but it tries harder to be positive and pro-natural beauty.


Transformation Television

It’s human nature to want to see others transform into better people. In the television universe, this is hardly a lengthy process. Quick fix makeovers are all the rage – ‘What Not to Wear’ was no exception to the rule.

What do you think of my list? Got any more to add?

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