Overdoing "Fashion" on The Voice

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home

The rants, aka: opinions or pet peeves, not so gently expressed in the following are the sole opinions of Sarah G. Schmidt. They are not meant to target, insult or harm. They are to spark conversation and really I may just need to vent. You’ve been told and forewarned, all right? Here goes...

What is up with over-styling talent show contestants? As a former choir, band and drama participant, I am a diligent supporter of The Voice. On The Voice they encourage contestants to show who they really are in their song choice, singing style and fashion style. Be their best self. I understand and I support that. However, I don’t support their current fashion styling.

These blooming artists are not established artists with full fledge stage characters such as Lady Gaga or Gwar. They are not yet formed. So why are so many of the contestants so done up that they don’t look like themselves (or a real person for that matter). They tend to be rigid, uneven, and they look downright uncomfortable. I want to see people, not wax-esque figures.

As a small child of the late 80’s and early 90’s, I was drawn the big hair and even bigger dresses. Flashy suits appealed to me too. I get it, or should I say, I got it. But like most children should, I grew up. My tastes matured. A forced pageant dress is no longer ‘my thang.’ Why must we put grown ass women into ball gowns on a Monday night while we hear them sing their rendition of “Wrecking Ball”/ “Halo”/ “On My Own.” She’s already a female, must we stuff her in a dress that makes her look like a cupcake? Why not something more streamlined, modern and flattering? Maybe pants?

I love dressing up, don’t get me wrong, but there is a time and place for it. To be clear, there’s no place for cupcake dresses spewed with glitter, rhinestones and more hairspray than Studio 54 on adult women in my life. Unless, of course, it’s worn as costume or sartorial joke.

You don’t see me wearing pajamas to work. You will not see me wearing workout gear to a Christmas Party. Dress for the occasion. There are books and blogs dedicated to attire etiquette and what to wear where. If you don’t know what to do you can hire a professional to help you navigate these situations. That’s one of the services I provide my clients. That, fashion friends, “is my thang.”

Just once I’d like to see a T-shirt and jeans on a teenage contestant when she is gushing her heart out singing a ballad. Why so much glitter and make up AND ringlet hair extensions all the time? Yuck. She’s fifteen. Why don’t we encourage her to look fifteen? There are so many options, age appropriate, for a teen.

Or why are we forcing other contestants into clothes and styles that are not reflective of them? Please stop cutting hair into styles better suited for boy bands of the 90s. He’s not that kind of artist, Max Martin wannabe. Let’s show him how to refine his look. Show him how to make it more flattering for him while maintaining his personality. Refrain from attacking him and his authenticity with scissors. 

Your wardrobe should accentuate your personality, not change it altogether. You don’t see the judges gussied up as if they’re heading to a club in Vegas, so why are the contestants? A simple, well-cut jacket goes a long way. 

I assume that many of the contestants are asking to wear this garbage. As a professional on the styling and production team, it’s your job to advise them in their best interest. Let’s think about a situation outside of style to get a reference point. If a client, for instance, asks her accountant to not pay her federal tax because she’d prefer to keep that money, the accountant doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) say, “Okay, let’s break the law together. It’s what you want.” Like many things in life, just because you want something, doesn’t mean you should have it.

So contestants and stylists everywhere dial it back, would you? Reflect the personality that's already there. Don't try and change it. I want to hear this budding artist sing, not be distracted by all the over the top fuss.