If the fashion disaster of the early aughts was wearing horrible clothes in public, the problem of 2015 might be wearing those hideous clothes in your online-dating profile.
Clinton Kelly, former co-host of TLC’s 10-season hit makeover show “What Not to Wear,” is on the case — this time with relationship expert Devyn Simone as his partner in crime. The pair host TLC’s new “Love at First Swipe,” in which they rehab people’s online dating profiles in a mere 22 minutes of television. (Four episodes have aired in the past two weeks, but a TLC spokeswoman said Monday that the show won’t return until the first quarter of 2016.)
The latest episode, for instance, featured a 40-year-old woman named Lynette who owns more than 50 wigs and has names for each of them. From the collection of photos in her profile — a new wig in each one! — it was hard to get a handle on her age and personality. (And no, she’s not a cancer survivor — just a wig aficionado.)
Kelly and Simone swoop in with some fashion tips and tough love — and yes, they convinced Lynette to let her natural hair down. The show ends with Lynette on a date with a man who had seen her revamped profile.
But the show is about more than new profile photos and a few dates. Just as “What Not to Wear” was about the image the person projected to others through the clothes he or she wore, “Love at First Swipe” does the same with an online dating profile. The show carries heavy tones of: Your profile is your personal brand.
“Once you take control of your image, that’s everything,” Kelly says in an online teaser for the show. “In this world today, it’s all about marketing yourself. And you have to market yourself online the way you feel you should be sold.”
In Kelly’s words, that sounds a bit cold and calculating, but it’s a message viewers already know from social media: What you choose to share tells others, in essence, who you are. When it comes to online dating, Kelly and Simone stress the need to craft an image that matches the kind of relationship you’re seeking. So if you’re looking for something serious, they advise dressing like a professional adult — add a blazer, don’t show too much skin, no Crayola box hair colors.
Curiously, though, the show only makes over women’s disastrous profiles. Trust me, men could use some help, too.