How Stacy London's Pre-What Not To Wear Survival Job Prepared Her For The Hit Show

You'll likely recognize Stacy London as the stylish, charismatic co-star of the hit TLC show, "What Not to Wear." At the time of the show, the channel was arguably in its prime. From "Cake Boss" to "Toddlers in Tiaras," most of the country was addicted to one or more TLC reality series. Not all of it was quality television per se, but if you made a list of best and worst shows on TLC, "What Not to Wear" would rank high on the list of the "best."


Hosted by London and Clinton Kelly, the show followed a transformative journey of fashion makeovers. Each episode featured a participant nominated by friends or family for their questionable fashion choices. The show would then gift them a $5,000 budget to revamp their look using the expert advice of London and Kelly.

When Stacy London was cast as the co-host of "What Not to Wear," she had already styled and edited for one of the world's most prestigious fashion magazines. Surprisingly, this wasn't the job London credits for her success on "What Not to Wear."

What happened when Stacy London was fired by Vogue

Throughout her college career at Vassar, London was already taking high-profile internships in the fashion industry. By graduation, she had been offered a job at the world-renowned fashion magazine Vogue. London's career was clearly off to a good start, and in the years that followed, it only seemed that she would only continue upwards, climbing the fashion industry ladder. After years with the media company Condé Nast, London worked her way to the role of fashion editor at another of its outlets, Mademoiselle.


After four years of working in this esteemed position, London was fired. In an article she wrote for Fast Company, London recalled, "I thought, 'This is just the end of the world. How am I going to get another job? How am I going to prove that I'm talented?'" 

The following year, London took any job she could to pay the rent. In Fast Company, she wrote that this required her to take gigs way out of her comfort zone. She was no longer styling in high fashion but creating looks for commercials and ads.

Stacy London is grateful that Vogue fired her

At that point in her career, Stacy London was simply looking for the best way to cope with getting fired from her job. She didn't love the work she was doing post-Mademoiselle, but she was developing new skills that would prove helpful down the line. After a short period as a freelancer, London walked into her opportunity with TLC. In an article for Into The Gloss, London wrote that her agent called her up one day saying, "They're doing some television show, and they're looking for stylists who are freelance who have worked with celebrities, models, and real people, and can talk a lot off the top of their head. So we thought of you."


As we all know, one thing led to another and she became the star of "What Not to Wear" for an entire decade. In her article with Fast Company, London shared how grateful she was in retrospect to have been fired from Mademoiselle. It pushed her to take jobs she otherwise wouldn't have in order to survive and also gave her the experience she needed to host "What Not to Wear." 

She wrote, "If I hadn't been able to dress real people, if I'd only ever been able to dress models, I would never have been qualified."