Stacy London, the snappy, silver-streaked stylist on TLC’s What Not To Wear, recently revealed a past struggle with eating disorders, including anorexia and compulsive eating. Stacy says she ultimately learned that self-worth is in your style and confidence—not your weight.
If you’ve ever seen What Not To Wear, you know that Stacy doesn’t shirk from the truth. She’s bold, honest and outspoken, and the style-challenged people on the show benefit from her no-holds-barred attitude. That’s why it’s so important that she’s speaking out about her experiences with anorexia and compulsive overeating. Stacy, who has a book, The Truth About Style, coming out in October, told People: “I felt like I’d never had a serious boyfriend and I really wanted to be attractive.”
These feelings led to anorexia when she was in her early 20s. At one point, the 5’7″ Stacy got down to 90 lbs. Within a year, her recovery from anorexia (including a brief hospitalization) led Stacy to gain weight again. Only this time, she was eating, so she said, to mask her “self doubt.” This compulsive overeating doubled her weight to 180 lbs.
I’m not surprised Stacy suffered from an eating disorder. After all, our society has set us up for body-image struggles at almost every turn (and did you know rates of eating disorders in women over 50 are rising?). Plus, Stacy works in the fashion industry, which isn’t exactly known to foster body positivity. Stacy, whose new book is about how finding her personal style ultimately led to finding self-confidence, says that she wanted to finally share these experiences because, “When you can talk about something and shine light on it, you’re obliterating shame.”
On What Not To Wear, people cry, yell and get in touch with the not-so-pleasant sides of their personalities. Clothing and style choices are often connected to people’s complicated feelings about their lives, their past experiences and/or their bodies. It’s easy to see the connection between the people Stacy helps on her show and Stacy herself: the common denominator is style. And what style really means is feeling comfortable in your own skin. As Stacy told People, “My value doesn’t simply come from [being thin]. It comes from me and solely from me. It took me a long time to recognize that.”