It's Your Business: Clinton Kelly: Money doesn't always buy style

Clinton Kelly, of TLC’s “What Not To Wear,” will be at Macy’s in the Coastland Center mall on March 16.

Clinton Kelly, of TLC’s “What Not To Wear,” will be at Macy’s in the Coastland Center mall on March 16.

Dave Osborn

Dave Osborn

“What Not To Wear” co-star Clinton Kelly says consumers too often believe the more you pay, the better you look.

Not so, said Kelly, who visited Naples on Saturday.

“It’s not about money at all. Money does not guarantee good style, first of all,” Kelly said in a sit-down interview at Macy’s at Coastland Center mall before hosting a fashion show near the store. “And if you’re strapped for cash, you can still look great. It’s about making wise decisions. A lot of times, in America, we look for the easy way out and style is not easy.”

Kelly and “What Not To Wear” co-host Stacy London are wrapping up their final season of the popular TLC television show that began in 2003. Kelly joined the show a year later.

At the time, Kelly said, he was working as a magazine editor when TLC ordered 10 episodes of the show his first year. He said he thought for sure he’d be begging for his old job back, anticipating that TLC would cancel “What Not To Wear.”

That, of course, never happened.

“I thought we would do 10. We did 350 episodes,” said Kelly, 44.

The hourlong TV show features a bad dresser who Kelly and London work with to improve her fashion sense. By the end, the transformed “contestant” usually is pleased with the outcome.

“It’s kind of sad that we’re going away on some level, because there really are people who need help and they feel like the fashion industry has basically ignored them,” Kelly said, drinking from a bottled water.

“And I think, what Stacy and I have been doing, is saying, look, you might not be 6 feet tall and a size 2 but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be beautiful. ... We were sort of cheerleaders for a long time. I feel like we’re America’s cheerleaders going into retirement.”

Kelly said he doesn’t believe the show has had a major effect on fashion in society as a whole, but it has succeeded on some levels.

“I think it has impacted a small sliver of American society greatly,” he said. “Those people who watch religiously, now that they’ve announced the show is ending, people are writing to me, saying on Twitter and on Facebook, that they’re sobbing because they’re going to miss the show so much, not just for what it does for other people but for the advice they get and for the encouragement they receive by watching the show every week.”

Kelly offered design pointers of his own. Women can immediately upgrade their wardrobes by wearing better-looking footwear.

“If you’re a woman, instead of wearing a white cross-trainer, which drives me bonkers, you can do a cute flat shoe, which is just as comfortable as a cross-trainer,” he said.

For men, “a suede loafer goes a long way to upgrading your style,” he said.

Kelly said he’ll continue as a co-host on the ABC daytime talk and cooking show “The Chew” and have more time to host fashion shows for Macy’s, as he did Saturday in Naples.

“What I love more than anything is helping real women express themselves through style,” he said.

__ Connect with Dave Osborn on Facebook and Pinterest at Ndn-Dave Osborn and on Twitter at NDN_dosborn.

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