I’ll be honest: Fashion isn’t really my thing. I’ve never been particularly good at seeing something on a hanger and visualizing how great it would go with something I already own, and people that put unexpected things together and make them look good amaze me. I’ve just recently started looking at the way we dress ourselves as design, worthy of attention and applause, like good graphic, page or home design.
But despite my serious lack of fashion expertise, I bring today a little bit of advice from Tim Gunn, the much-loved “Project Runway” mentor, former Parsons The New School for Design professor and Liz Claiborne exec. I went on assignment for the Daily Pilot today to Fashion Island, a Newport Beach hub of haute designer goods and small dogs in strollers, and covered an appearance by Gunn. He showed some spring styles in a mini-runway show, giving advice along the way. You can check out my full story at the Daily Pilot website, but here are a couple tidbits that didn’t make it in, as well as some photos I took.
1. “If you look in the mirror and think ‘I look like an ass,’ chances are you do, at least to yourself.”
Gunn stressed sticking with classic pieces that flatter and not chasing trends just because. Even if everyone else thinks you look great in something, if you don’t like it, it’s going to show all over your face. Although he was showing pieces for some hip brands (Juicy, Lucky), he cautioned they aren’t right for everybody. Short shorts can be “lewd,” he said, and a romper just isn’t appropriate for anything too much fancier than the beach or grocery store.
2. “You ask yourself, ‘Am I wearing the dress or is the dress wearing me?’”
This is relevant for petite people like me! Big, bold patterns can overwhelm someone who’s petite. Clothes must have the right sense of both scale and proportion to look good on someone (Another Gunn-ism: A calf-length skirt is the “fastest route to dowdy”). And of course, you’ve got to own the look.
3. “If your goal is to feel like you never got out of bed, don’t.”
Ah, so classic. Gunn was wearing a suit and tie and it was upwards of 85 degrees and sunny! He did not even move to take his suit jacket off. The message? Don’t wear anything you’re miserably uncomfortable in, but don’t go out in a sweatsuit either.