Q&A: The Truth About Stacy London
The Truth About Style author on overcoming an eating disorder, not fitting in at Vogue, and finding her calling.
January 30, 2013
Stacy London in Miami for a book signing presented by Books & Books at Neiman Marcus last fall
Fashion guru and TLC star turned author Stacy London knows a thing or two about getting dressed. Her debut book, The Truth About Style, hit shelves last year, inspiring droves of women to find their sartorial identity. Part personal memoir and part style guide, the book doesn’t shy away from heavier topics like London’s childhood struggle with psoriasis and college eating disorder. There’s also valuable insight into the place where London began her career, the halls of Vogue, as well as portrayals of the life-changing makeovers the TV star and stylist is famous for. Here, London gives more insight into the book, her writing process, and why it was the “hardest thing” she’s ever done.
As a first-time author, what did you find most challenging about writing a book?
STACY LONDON: I think [the timeline] was probably a little bit stressful for me. It took me literally five months because that was all the time we had. I also think there is a danger when you are considered any kind of expert on television—people think you are talking from high on the mound instead of more in the trenches. I used to be intimidated and afraid by it all, but I understand that is an issue for almost all women. With the book, I just wanted to put that in a context.
What compelled you to share your personal struggles in the book?
SL: I feel like a lot of attention has been paid to the fact that I had an eating disorder while I was in college, and that I had very severe psoriasis as a child, all of which is important, but it is important in regards to the idea that I wanted to dimensionalize myself a little bit instead of just being "Stacy the style coach." You see on What Not to Wear that my style philosophy comes from life experience, not just dressing other people.
You spell out some very clear style rules in the book. Have you always been a rules girl?
SL: The rules, page 119! Rules are a part of the What Not to Wear format. I'm personally finding that I believe in the idea of rules less and less. Technically, when in comes to fit, I believe in rules, but every woman is different.
Explain to us your "Yes, and…" approach to body image and personal style.
SL: [It’s] the idea that you can accept and be honest with yourself about what your body is like—what you like and what you don't like—instead of [ignoring] what you don't like and then highlighting other things at the expense of the rest your body. Let's say you have big hips. I can be miserable about having big hips and dress in a way that says, ‘I wish I didn't have big hips,’ or I can say, ‘I have big hips, what's my strategy to dress them?’ The strategy equals the ‘and...’
If you could go back and talk to that twenty-something Stacy London working at Vogue, what advice would you give her?
SL: The whole book is about that in a funny kind of way. My initial attraction to the fashion world wasn't out of the healthiest impulse. It was out of insecurity, like I was trying to compensate for my scars and that I didn't feel beautiful. I wish that I could tell that girl, that isn't your only route. But in a lot of ways I so appreciate that was the route I took and that it was hard for me. That I didn't fit in so well in that world actually brought me to where I am and now. I really do what I love to do. I love to create a slightly easier style language to communicate with, as opposed to something super high fashion. I like being somewhere in middle and helping women find the identity they want to have.