If you’re like me, you’ll have gotten serious wardrobe envy while watching the first two seasons of Netflix’s Queer Eye.
In each episode, fashion expert Tan France decks the makeover recipient out with dozens of fresh items of clothing, leaving them with a jam-packed closet full of new clothes.
And, after each episode, my wardrobe looked more and more dated and uninspired.
It left me feeling badly in need of a Queer Eye makeover of my own – or, you know, a career switch into a sturdier industry like banking or dentistry.
So, when I spoke to Tan ahead of the release of season three, I took my problem to the man himself.
“I’m sorry to hear that what you found with the episodes was that what you were seeing wasn’t accessible,” Tan told me, as I stopped short of reading my current account statement from last month. “What we did, and a main goal of mine, is to make sure that I’m showing options that are accessible and attainable for everyone.”
He added that while a lot of the clothes might look luxurious, they are often not.
“I hope you’ll have noticed the likes of [season one’s Bobby Camp]: we took him to a store called Target, which is, in America, our equivalent to a Tesco. We shopped at Target because it was the only shop that was close to him, it was accessible to his price point and so almost everything we purchased was under $50, which I don’t think is an unreasonable price point for most people.”
He continued: “I never took anyone to a designer store, I never spent $100 on any item other than outerwear or maybe footwear, which always costs a lot more. So I do all I can to make sure that it’s something that will connect with the wider audience. “
It was certainly comforting – Bobby Camp looked pretty sharp by the end of his episode. But what are Tan France’s tips to attaining Queer Eye style on a budget?
“For the younger audience,people who are in their late teens and early 20s, maybe even their 30s, I love a store called Weekday,” he says. “I know they have a physical location in London but they are also available online.”
As for UK stores, Tan says we’re spoiled for choice.
“I love places like Zara, Bershka and Topman [full disclosure: Tan has previously said he worked for Zara after graduating, and appeared in a promotional video for Topman in 2018]. They’re the ones I hit up when I’m back in the UK, because they’re accessible, I love a lot of their products.”
“I think the English high street is one of the best on the planet,” he adds. “I think that we have options here that the rest of the world would only dream to have, so we have a luxury here that they don’t have in many places in the world.”
But if you don’t fancy hitting the shops, there are other options.
“If you have access to good WiFi, ASOS is another incredible resource, so is [fellow online fashion retailer] Zalando. There are many, many options out there that are very very affordable, and you’re getting a lot of cover on more expensive pieces.”
Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all be buying high quality, ethically-sourced garments that last forever. But it’s not a realistic proposition for most young people trying to get a fit off on their IG stories.
“I would always prefer to invest in quality and get less stuff, but get stuff that’s ethically sourced and ethically produced,” Tan says. “However, I know that for many people that’s not possible. Up until recently, that wasn’t possible for me either. I couldn’t afford to spend £1000 on a suit. I would go for something more accessible to me. So I think it would be unwise for me to say, ‘Yes you should only invest in pieces that are something that you’re going to keep for years and years and years and they’re classic’. That’s not an option for most people.”
“If you are going to spend on fast fashion, just try and make sure you go to places that you know people are doing to the research to make sure things are ethically sourced,” he concludes. Hear hear.
Queer Eye season three is released on Netflix on Friday 15th March 2019