Stacy London From ‘What Not To Wear’ Opens Up About One Of The Hardest Years Of Her Life
"Being broken doesn’t presuppose you can put yourself back together just as you were."
Stylist and fashion consultant Stacy London is known for looking like she always has it together. A former fashion editor at “Vogue” and “Mademoiselle,” fans got to know London from her role as co-host on “What Not To Wear,” the popular TLC makeover show that ran for 10 years from 2003 to 2013.
London made a career out of helping people refine their personal style and putting together super-polished looks. Now, she is reflecting back on a difficult 2017 and letting the world know that her life is not always as glamorous as her public persona might suggest. In fact, London calls last year a “financial, physical and emotional s*** show.”
In an essay for Refinery29, London opened up about the personal struggles that made 2017 such a difficult year. At the end of 2016, she found herself without a job after the end of “Love, Lust or Run,” another TLC show that focused on “makeunders” for people with over-the-top styles. She also learned she would need expensive spinal surgery that she was told would require about six weeks of recovery time.
However, London soon learned that things don’t always go to plan. In addition to pain from the surgery and nausea from the painkillers, she began to realize that she had bigger problems than simply being out of a job.
“I wasn’t just untethered from a job, I was untethered from a purpose. I had nothing to hold on to. And, honestly, I just wasn’t thinking about my finances. In fact, I would have thrown money at anything — material or procedural — to make the recovery process easier,” she wrote.
She came to see that her recovery would last much longer than six weeks. In pain and without a job providing structure in her life, she began to overspend frivolously by ordering in food, buying toys for her dog and shopping for clothes online.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY. Disabled, immobilized, terrified. Spine surgery. This year has been hard work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything: I’m out of chronic pain physically AND psychologically. It feels like it was yesterday and at the same time, so very long ago. I have my friends, family and @hspecialsurgery to thank for that. #countyourblessings PS: pretty sure I took this selfie high on Oxy, Fentanyl and Ketamine. Although I don’t really know whether it was a selfie or not. TBH, I don’t remember much of anything. #fuck2017
All that spending not only burned a hole in her wallet, but London wrote that compulsive shopping also prevented her from facing her problems:
“Shopping provided me with a very interesting version of magical thinking at this time. I imagined parties and places I’d go, the people I’d be with, and when I bought this one last dress, shoe, bag, or necklace, my image in these imaginary scenarios would somehow be complete…or whole. I realize now it was just a fantasy future, to distract me from an agonizing present.”
Soon, London began to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, including fits of crying and insomnia. London and her boyfriend also broke up in early 2017, in part due to his difficulty caring for her after the surgery. After both going to therapy, they took an extravagant trip to Europe to try and save the relationship, but it didn’t work. By July, they were over for good.
Soon after, London experienced a major flood in her apartment and was forced to temporarily relocate to her parents’ home. Then she received the heartbreaking news that a good friend of hers had committed suicide.
When she met with her accountant in December 2017, London realized just how far off-track her finances had become. She realized that, despite her pain and hardship, she couldn’t keep living like this and resolved to make major changes in 2018.
She ended her an essay on a hopeful note for the future:
“Being broken doesn’t presuppose you can put yourself back together just as you were. It means there will be cracks and wounds, battlecries of a life lived and mistakes made. We move forward, and everything changes. Nothing is static, including me.”
It’s so powerful when someone in the public eye opens up about their real-life struggles and shows us all how no one is immune from difficult times. Thank you, Stacy London, for being so candid in your essay. We hope you’ll have a happier 2018!
[H/t Refinery 29]