Miami University’s Lecture Series has boasted speeches from successful entrepreneurs, accomplished actors, and fall-out-of-your-seat funny comedians. But the University’s latest star was the incredible Clinton Kelly, former host of TLC’s What Not to Wear, and ABC’s The Chew. Kelly visited the Brick and Ivy to speak to college students about the importance of “Dressing For the Body You Have, Not the Body You Want.”
Sitting in the auditorium as an undergraduate, I was surprised that the audience was filled with people of all different ages, not only those I recognized from class the members of the University’s fashion organization, MUF&D. Instead, the seats were filled with postgraduates, mothers with their daughters, and even a few children who appeared to be from the local middle schools. It was evident Kelly’s influence goes far beyond the 18-34-year-old fashion-conscious demographic of women.
Although Clinton Kelly is most well known for his fashion and lifestyle advise, he spoke about much more than his time on the small screen. He spoke about his time in college and the several majors and minors he dipped his toes in before he graduated from Boston College, and his many years spent in journalism while working in New York City.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Kelly’s speech was the least expected aspect of it all. He engaged with the audience and conveyed that the importance of self-confidence is worth far more than any designer label one wears on their back. Kelly spoke about his time on What Not to Wear, mentioning that the most rewarding part of hosting more than 100 episodes was watching the women transform mentally by the physical changes he helped them make through their wardrobe. At 50 years old, Kelly revealed that a life-changing moment of his life was when he realized that life “is supposed to be fun.” That it’s not worth stressing over an outfit, it’s wasted time to spend hours comparing yourself to the images in magazines, and that scrolling through social media does more harm and good. By stressing the benefits of a good self-image, and the dangers of constant comparisons, Kelly revealed that what’s on the inside is worth far more than any pair of designer shoes.
Clinton Kelly is in the works of creating something new, but nothing he can mention as of yet. But he hopes to continue his work in television and speaks of his hopes to dive back into the writing he so loved at the beginning of his career.