What We Can Learn From TLC’s “I’ve Got Nothing to Wear”

We carry with us the wonders we seek without us. Sir Thomas Browne

Dream, dream, I want to dare, I want to dream, but how?

Good question, and TLC's I've Got Nothing to Wear offers some suggestions…

Figuratively, not literally, so stay with me.

In this six-part summer series, a professional stylist assigns the guest's clothing to one of two categories: salvageable and non-salvageable. The non-salvageables are sent to the “chop shop” where three designers have been assigned to cull, rip, redesign, and resew these items into fresh, fashionable pieces (e.g. an outdated pair of slacks might become an evening gown). In the meantime, the stylist shops with the guest for 4-5 classic items to complement the salvaged clothing. When the stylist creates a “look book” which shows the student how to mix and match the salvaged clothes, the newly-purchased classics, and the revamped pieces, the wardrobe refashion is complete.


I'm not suggesting that each of us begin to personally redesign our clothing, but rather to propose that the premise of “I've Got Nothing to Wear” can help us think through what tools may be available to us as we dream.

Salvaged clothing, or clothing that is wearable today — This is a metaphor for our strengths. Just as the stylist helps identify clothing which works, we may need a see-er of our strengths until we see them. Howard Gardner and Laura Morgan Roberts' work are great resources.

What are your strengths? What about you is magnificent that you don't see, but others do?

Newly-bought classic items — Think new skills and competencies. Just as the student's wardrobe needs a few new classic pieces, we may need to acquire a new skill to achieve our dream.

What skill can you learn in a matter of days, maybe even hours, that would move you closer to your dream?

Revamped or refashioned clothing — Consider the importance of repurposing strengths that once “fit and were in style” and no longer are. Just as each of us have clothes that we love, possibly inherited from our grandmother or mother that no longer fit us or who we are, we also have strengths, ones that may have even gotten us through tough times, that no longer serve us.

What skills or competencies no longer fit? If you sent them to the chop-shop for a repurpose, what fabulous new something about your self might you discover?

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