What Not to Wear

WNTW-scripps-reveal_resizedHidden cameras secretly followed Sheaffer Lapham ’03 for two weeks last year for the TV show “What Not to Wear” on The Learning Channel. What the cameras revealed was not pretty. Her friends described the then-social worker from San Francisco as intelligent and driven, yet she had a tendency to dress like a kid, not a 25-year-old future law student. “I don’t really have a set style,” said Sheaffer. She also admitted that she raids her grandmother’s closet and enjoys wearing Grandma’s slips out on the town.

With one week and $5,000 courtesy of TLC, Sheaffer headed to New York City to transform her non-style with the help of the show’s hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. After assessing her wardrobe and throwing most of it away, Clinton ruled, “She has the wardrobe of a 14-year-old. She needs to grow up!” Added Stacy, “She wants to relate to the kids she works with,but she needs to look more presentable.” As a final blow, Clinton shouted, “Stay out of your grandmother’s closet forever!”

Sheaffer took their humorous jabs good-naturedly, and set out to shop for a new wardrobe. After trying on many clothes, Sheaffer found the right fit for her. “I feel like I have a style, and that it’s mine,” she enthused. “I feel like a grown-up.”

Sheaffer thanked the hosts profusely, saying, “You’ve made me convinced that I’m going to law school, and I can do what I wantto do.” Added Sheaffer, “I am so thankful that [my friends] Annabelle and Nicky love me enough to have nominated me for public humiliation on national television. I’ll take a little sarcasm about my outfit for five grand any day!”

Surrounded by friends and family at the “reveal”, Sheaffer stunned the crowd with her new look. “I’m happy to see her looking so happy and gorgeous,” said Rebecca, Sheaffer’s sister. “This by far is one of the best weeks of my life,” gushed Sheaffer.

Since the show originally aired in February 2007, Sheaffer has moved to Texas, where she rooms with Annabelle Lamy ’03, and is completing her law school applications. She works as a patient advocate for people with little or no medical coverage. “I’m definitely keeping my look (except for lazy Sundays) and still finding new ways to mix all of my awesome pieces. My $500 handbag goes with everything, of course!” says Sheaffer. “Ultimately, it was a dream come true. What girl wouldn’t want to stay in a fancy downtown hotel and spend $5,000 shopping in New York?”

Above: Lapham at the reveal, looking stunning in hot pink, surrounded by her sister and fellow alumnæ. From left are Olivia Taylor ’06, sister Rebecca Lapham ’06, Megan Freeman ’03, Annabelle Lamy ’03, Elena Popovskaya ’03, Lapham, Nicky Van Maanen ’03, Anya Lazovsky ’03, and Lauren Wildberger ’03.


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