My Beef with The Style Network

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Right now, I’m kitty-sitting. My Dad has shed his hard, rough, I Hate The Small And Furry shell and become a father yet again to two gigantic kittens cats. I have been summoned to watch them play, cuddle with them, and live in their house while my parents escape the impending snowstorm and charter a boat in Cabo. I do not want to talk about it.

Realizing that I was house-sitting, as well as kitty-sitting, I came to a shocking fact: I would have cable – BIG 5 Million Channels Cable – television at my disposal. Prepared to put my streaming Showbox and Netflix-Through-Xbox addiction aside, I admit I was excited. I arrived to the house this morning, put my stuff down, and, still running off the high of “Fashion Month”, decided to jump to the Style Network (for the first time, I might add) to see if there was anything interesting.

I know that everyone has their own interpretation of “style” – that’s what this blog is all about: defining your style through your life experiences. So naturally, when you call something being given to the public “The Style Network”, interpretations are going to vary. All we know is that it has something to do with attitude, aesthetics, and… let’s be honest: clothes. Yes? Ok. I couldn’t find a mission statement on Style Network’s site, so we’ll just have to go with whatever I say. AKA How it usually works.

Surely, though, if you’re appointed an executive position at parent company, E! Entertainment… AHEM, NBCUniversal, you know that appealing to many subsets of a niche is going to maximize your chances for success. Totally get that – awesome. That being said, I’d like to direct your attention to the show list, as seen on Style Network.

Clean House

Clean House is hosted by Niecy Nash, who I love unabashedly forever due to Raineesha Williams. Hoarder-type houses are raided by Niecy Nash and her whip-quick team of clean, white, southern people and – from what I can see – scoff at huge messes, tackle on emotional problem, and inevitably bring up the idea that, with a clean house, you will have more sex. House is cleaned, host returns (as a “surprise“) in a number of months, and gifts the “contestant” with dinner & a show, or something comparable.

FYI: This is the only programming on the Style Network today. THE. ONLY. 6am to 2am. Clean House.

Super Nanny

It’s clear why this program was included in Style Network’s scheduling. Obvious. I mean… Super Nanny? What about that doesn’t say “style”?…

Jerseylicious

Ahhh, Jerseylicious. Sadly, this is the most style-oriented show in the lineup. A couple brazen Jersey girls work in a dress shop and hold discourse with one another in exciting, high energy, … assertive ways. But they also sell/talk about/show dresses! Just look at that cast. Style.

How Do I Look?

This has been on forever. Big fancy stylist comes in, tells your friends to throw your clothes away, then you get to be told how to dress “with your own style mixed in.” Please see: formulaic. This is nice because you get to see clothes, and hear a stylists opinion (& painful television presence, typically) on ~*dressing for your figure*~, but is otherwise boring.

Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane

Can we just skip this one? Please?

Fashion Police

If this is the Fashion Police hosted by Joan Rivers with Kelly Osbourne and some other folks – I can get down with this. I like seeing the red carpet/celebrity photos/videos, I can’t deny it. I love seeing runway gowns make it to award shows & on the bodies of faces I recognize. Joan Rivers – she’s horrible, but she’s hilarious, and I could stare at Kelly Osbourne for a few hours, easy.

The Dish

Ohhh, Topanga. You were the first girl on TV to teach me what a privileged white feminist looks like. Now you have a show that is basically a rip-off of The Soup, but much less hilarious. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

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Then there are a bunch of reality shows about “beauty” (i.e. Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, Dr. 90210, Ruby) and a slough of makeover shows (i.e. Style Her Famous [look like your favorite celebrity], Dress My Nest, Peter Perfect [someone makes over… businesses?]), there’s… not really anything fashion- or style-related. See also My Super Sweet Sixteen. Why? I don’t know.

I think that there is a maaaaaaajor opportunity being missed here. We are in the thick of fashion week – and digital information is so prevalent and available – why is it not being utilized to create amazing content for this Style-focused network? I mean, honestly… E! has more fashion content than Style Network. Mostly celebrity style but that’s better than Kimora Lee Simmons, am i right?

If I Were CEO of Style.com for One Week…

Particularly last week… Wouldn’t it make sense to show:

  • NYFW, LFW, PFW, MFW coverage, including video footage of the actual shows, interviews with the designers (if NBC’s mini-stations can do it, why can’t they send their STYLE NETWORK? They cover it on their blog.)
  • Inside The Actor’s Studio-style presentations with designers, stylists, muses, models, bloggers, store owners, buyers… The potential is infinite!
  • Emerging designer features, crafting/DIY programming, etc. Exposure for new talent!
  • News! Freaking news! WWD has been in business with daily “newspapers” for how long? You can’t come up with a little 30 minute news program with the latest in fashion, style & beauty? Honestly.

Why do I care about TV so much? Because! I am constantly told that my field of work (fashion) is silly. It’s cute. Ridiculous. Or, God help us, “fun.” The assertion that fashion is not important in any way, shape or form is constantly impressed upon me when I talk about my job(s).

“Oh, that’s a fun job! AND you work from home? What a super great easy fun happy wonderful frivolous not-that-important life for you!”

Sigh. Why do people jump to this “That’s easy!” conclusion about fashion news/writing? Do you think it might be because the things attached to the word “Style” are things like [overheard this morning] “These are, like, the best boots for spring because it’s a 2-for-1 Trend Buy! You get in on the fur trend with the shaft of the boot, and the wedge trend with this great wedge! Also? The fur’s volume makes your legs look super skinny, which we all want, am I right?” Shortly followed by a commercial for Topanga on The Dish trying to be witty, and making this face:

So pretty much… I’d love a network that fashion professionals could actually watch without putting their head into their hands and wondering what the hell they’re working for. Style.com, Vogue.com, the bajillion blogs I follow – yes, those are adequate, and I love that blogging is turning into a respected media source, but that doesn’t mean that television – the most viewed information source in the home – should be forgotten? Filled with garbage that’s supposed to be representing an entire industry or thriving artists?

Don’t get me wrong, I “get” that they’re appealing to a demographic of somewhat-stylish, stay-at-home folk who want a break from the serious stuff for a minute… But it’s really doing a disservice to the industry as a whole.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Tell me what you think in the comments – also…

Tell me what you would put on the Style Network if you were head of productions for a week!

  • Definitely fashion shows!!! They use to show them late at night. Now the programming is pretty crappy.

  • Marta

    Just FYI, the Jerseylicious girls don’t even work in a dress shop, they work in a salon.

  • Marta: Really!? I thought they were… Wait, which Jersey show am I thinking of!?

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  • Ferris Michelle

    Not to be kiss a**, but I would totally watch all the shows you sugested if you were CEO :)

  • Awesome post. I’ve actually been thinking about this too, ever since I got cable and naively assumed the Style channel would be my go-to. How about a show like MTV Cribs, except it’s a walk through the closets of fabulous wealthy people? Or how about a show in which a charming host goes shopping at amazing boutiques around the world? (i volunteer) And maybe even a few behind-the-scenes shows, like at peek at the factories where handbags are made, or a day in Chanel’s sewing room — that’s a reality show for you. I’m sure interesting characters could be found doing the legwork at a fashion house, Kell on Earth-style. The opportunities are endless and the Style network is totally missing the boat by repurposing and watering down ideas other networks have already mastered.

  • Ferris: AWWWW, YOU WIN THIS POST! Congratulations! You are the best commenter ever, ever. (Apparently, I am weak for asskissing.)

    Mary: Oh, wow! Those are… AMAZING ideas! I would watch ALL of that!

  • I wish you really were the CEO of the Style Network, because I would watch it more often than those rare occasions when “nothings on my other 5,000 cable channels.” I feel like the Style Network is just E! reject shows, or where their syndicated shows go to die. I think when it first started, it was more geared to actual fashion-y stuff, but not anymore.

    p.s. Why would I watch Jerseylicious when I could drive 25 minutes west and experience in real life?

  • Wholeheartedly agree. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained to my bf about this. We used to get Fashion TV (ftv.com) and I loved their runway coverage but our cable bill was getting too high so we downgraded to a cheaper basic package. I miss it :(

  • Oh girl, you read my mind. For the past 2 years me and my friend have been ranting about the Style network and its bad programming. We started dubbing them The Clean House network because that’s all they show and don’t let it be a holiday weekend because then its crazy marathons of Clean House, Clean House behind the scenes, and let’s not forget Clean House outtakes. They used to have a nice selection of actual fashion shows. Remember Look For Less, Fashion Police, Glamour Do’s and dont’s. Oh, how those were the days.

    How do I look sucks now, but, it used to be good. I actually don’t mind Jerseylicious and Kimora in the fab lane, reality shows bring rating.

  • FYI – this is why I sprung for the sports pack instead of extended programming! Ugh.

  • Just wanted to let you know that I was so moved by your post that I wrote up my own diatribe and linked back to your story: http://artofwore.com/blog/2011/2/24/how-to-fix-the-style-network.html I hope you don’t mind. Maybe if enough people blog about this, the powers that be will take note and the Style Network we truly desire could take form!

  • Alisa: I LOVE “CLEAN HOUSE NETWORK”! I am totally stealing that!

    Jaime: I forgot you were such a jock! I don’t blame you – Style is easily forfeited for shoe money.

    Mary: That is awesome!! Of course I don’t mind – bravo!!

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  • I agree with you 100%. And it’s the same thing with music networks – broadcasting very little of what they’re supposed to be about. I gave up and canceled the cable, because television just isn’t a valuable source of information.

    If it were up to me, I would show favorites like Project Runway, Fashion Television and the UK version of How to Look Good Naked. But it’s true that the potential for new shows is endless. People need clothes. We like makeup and jewelry. And during a recession, fashion is an ideal diversion topic, because we can’t live without clothing.

  • Mortira: SUCH a good point!! I love your reasoning. It’s so true!

  • amelia

    I totally agree! There are more style shows on Bravo but even those are all reality. When I first saw the Style Network many years ago they did have runway coverage, yet. Not sure what happened.

  • I totally agree. I rarely watch the Style Network, and when I do, it’s an episode of How Do I Look. I wish they would bring the Look for Less back. That was my favorite show on that channel years ago! I think the show that you were thinking of is Jersey Couture, where the women ran a boutique.

  • Niki: YES! Jersey Couture. Oi. But that’s not even ON the Style Network, huh?!

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  • @lindsay lol, i think it’s on the oxygen channel

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