LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Anyone who thinks the British are more decorous than Americans is in for a shock when "What Not To Wear" hits America next week. The cheeky and irresistible makeover show, starring U.K. fashion mavens Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, got in trouble with British censors for referring to a very short skirt as "a pussy pelmet."
But don't worry. Even if BBC America, which premieres "What Not to Wear" here Dec. 10, edited that one out, there's still plenty of salty commentary.
Here's Trinny, for instance, grimly assessing one woman's penchant for leather pants:
"First of all, however cold it is, you sweat in the crotch," Trinny says firmly. "You end up with this wet, humid pubic area. Leather on the tits, NOT on the bum!"
She's interested in how such talk will be received in America. "Because I did one interview with a TV magazine who said, 'you talk about tits a lot,'" notes Trinny. "And I said, 'Well, that's life."
Yes, it is indeed. And she's right about the leather pants, you know. That's the thing about "What Not To Wear" -- Trinny and Susannah really are always right.
Of the three episodes I saw on the promo tape, the least successful transformation was Geneve, a bossy, busty hairdresser who fought them the most and insisted on buying a hideously unflattering dress in peacock blue that made her look jaundiced.
Still, at least they got her into a decent fitting bra.
Each week, the "What Not To Wear" camera crew secretly tape a woman whose best friends have nominated her for a style makeover. Then they accost her, "Candid Camera" style, with evidence of her shlumpiness and offer her $3,000 to spend on a new wardrobe -- IF she sits down with Trinny and Susannah and listens to their advice.
The makeover subject then goes off to the mall to shop by herself. But Trinny and Susannah watch remote camera footage of what she's picking out - and rush in to offer suggestions if she strays too far from their rules.
And their rules do make sense. The most successful "What Not To Wear" makeover I've seen so far is Sam, a deli worker so slovenly she actually used a paper bag for a purse for three months.
"A mess of mismatched, ill-fitting casual wear," as the "What Not To Wear" girls put it, summing up Sam's style.
"It's like this great LUMP across her chest," Susannah says, observing how Sam's bra flattens her out.
"It's like she's lost respect for her bosoms," Trinny notes.
"I bet she doesn't even know they're there," muses Susannah.
Looking around Sam's closet, Trinny comments, "You obviously don't possess any shoe polish, do you? Or suede brushes? The problem with your shoes is they've all HAD IT."
Or they're unflattering to Sam's stumpy feet. "It's like a pig's trotter!" exclaims Trinny, as Sam models one of her own shoes.
"I feel like a bucket of poo," says Sam sadly, seeing herself on tape, visible panty lines and all.
But she's young and malleable and follows Trinni and Susannah's suggestions carefully (fitted, feminine tops, flat-front pants that zip up the side, underwear that hides visible panty lines) and the results are, as Trinni puts it, "sen-flipping-bloody-sational."
Trinny and Susannah have been compared to the acid Simon Cowell of "American Idol" for their bluntly British commentary. But the truth is that they're actually pussycats. They may rip apart fashion faux pas, but they're enthusiastic about praising and highlighting whatever small assets their plain Jane subjects have.
"She's definitely not shy about...um...dressing a little younger than her age," Trinny observes about Geneve, the flamboyant, 50-ish hairdresser.
"Can I just say I find her very glamorous?" adds Susannah. "Tina Turner is not that different from Geneve..."
"Yeah, she's a couple of sizes different," points out Trinny.
Still, at the end, as Geneve models a tight-fitting bustier, they gush that she looks just like something out of Toulouse-Lautrec.
Trinny Woodall, whose background is in public relations and marketing, is the stricter and more governessy of the pair. Tall and slim and fineboned as a model, she is, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way - despite her insistence that "I don't even have a bosom." (Well, of course not! She's far too tall and skinny.)
It's Susannah Constantine, a fashion columnist for the (U.K.) Daily Telegraph, who can get away with softening advice with descriptions of her own faults. Susannah is also slim and pretty, but shorter than Trinny and with more genuine figure flaws.
"See, you're like me," Susannah tells a woman who - ignoring the pair's advice - has picked out a high-necked top. "And I would never in a million years wear a neckline like that, because it would make my head look like a pit growing out of a flowerpot."
Chic and pulled-together as they appear on camera, the pair own up to their fashion disasters.
Susannah, for instance, recalls going to Elton John's annual ball after she'd just had a baby in a dress that was a lot more revealing than it should have been.
"I thought I was a lot thinner than I actually was," she recalls. "I had the opposite of anorexia and thought I looked like Elle McPherson. And my God I did not! I wore a dress that was very plunging. My tits were H-cup, my arms were huge to carry the weight of my breasts and I wore this little strappy dress with this net coat over the top. I looked like a barmaid."
Trinny, on the other hand, readily admits to an unfortunate history with fake tanning lotion.
"I wore orange fake tan for many years, between the ages of 15 and 19," she says. "I got more and more orange and I'd wear bright yellow and it would have orange fake tan ingrained into the collar of the shirt, which was disgusting. People would occasionally say, 'Please don't come and stay with us anymore, Trinny, because when you leave, the sheets are orange.'"
"Some people say you are born with style," she adds. "I think that is bullshit. I think you can achieve it, but you just have to understand what suits you.