By STEPHANIE HAYES
Times Staff Writer
Fans of Stacy London have an almost spiritual reverence for her fashion wisdom. They tune in every week to see her with partner Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear, taking hopeless women with weird, dumpy, sad looks and transforming them into sharp style mavens with actual self-confidence.
She banishes I-give-up dresses and mom jeans. She hates cheap shoes, ratty hemlines and shapeless blob dresses. And she'll tell you to your face.
You want her to tell you, right?
Good news. London will be at Westfield Brandon mall Saturday, giving advice and meeting shoppers. Makeup artists from Sephora and stylists from London's company, Style for Hire, will offer free makeovers all weekend.
London is busy producing a documentary series about plus-size design, set to air in May on TLC. And her new book, The Truth About Style, comes out in October. We chatted with London via e-mail between stops in her schedule.
You're always at malls working with average women. What do you like about that interaction?
I love what style can do with real people. How it can help them transform not just how they look but how they feel. Shopping centers can be overwhelming, but with a little style guidance, they are an amazing resource, and I love to be in the middle of the action.
What is the most common problem women come to you with?
Fit is usually the most common problem women come to me with. And usually it's because they think fit is a question of size and not shape. You need to be able to identify your body shape, then the clothes that best flatter it. A close second in terms of style issues would be what is age-appropriate. You can't wear juniors when you are out of your teens, people.
Do men ask you for style advice, too?
Men care about their style too! They just don't talk about it as much! They have the same concerns as women — proper fit and body challenges, how to change up their look, how to invest wisely in their clothing.
If the house is burning down and there's only time to grab one style staple from the closet, what should it be and why?
Oh, seriously? Clean underwear. If your house is burning down, grab your kids, your pets and clean underwear. No one can judge you in clean unders.
How has your personal style changed through the years?
I looked like Robert Smith from the Cure in high school and some of college so I guess my style has come a long way. I love classic pieces like sheath dresses and pencil skirts, but as I age, I'm into tougher clothes, more leather and layers and interesting knits.
What's your all-time biggest fashion regret?
That I didn't start collecting high heels earlier. Like at 9.
We know you hate crummy plastic flip-flops. What's a good casual alternative for women living in Florida?
FLATS. Flats are a great alternative to flip-flops!
And sandals not made of rubber. Or super chic sandals made of rubber. Or non-athletic, chic sneakers. There are so many options! Enough with the c----- flip-flops!