Friday, December 11, 2009

A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style by Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney

Tim Gunn is familiar to many as Style Mentor on Bravo's "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and Lifetime's "Project Runway". A dapper man invariably clad in a black suit and gray tie, he's perhaps most famous for telling designers on Project Runway to "Make it work!". But even before he became the icon that he is , he was a chair at Parson's School of Design.

Tim is no stranger to struggling with fashion and having a sense of style. Back when he was an instructor at Parsons, all he wore was gray. Gray suits, gray ties... he had three colors in his wardrobe: Gray, Grayer and Grayest. And then one day he took a good, long look at himself and noticed he looked like a little, dried-up stick of a man and asked himself. "Is this the image I want to project? Is this who I want to be?"

The answer was no, so he immediately went out and added color to his wardrobe with the addition of black, and then other color. But what about someone who has no idea what style they have, or what style they want to be? What if you are addicted to following the latest fashion trends slavishly?

That's what this book is for. Tim takes you through the entire gamut of dressing yourself, from paring down your closet to only what looks good on you and makes you feel fabulous, and then shopping for just enough to give you a multitude of fashion choices without ruining your budget or overstuffing your closet. But to ensure that everything you buy looks good on you, no matter where you shop, from the vintage store to Bloomingdales, make sure what you buy fits you. If your usual size rides up or is too tight, don't be afraid of going up a size.

A size is, after all, just a number. What's more important is the way the clothes look and feel on you. if the number bothers you, just cut it off! Sizes change from year to year and decade to decade anyway. What is a size three today may have been a 12 or 14 in the 1950's, so it doesn't pay to obsess about the size numbers.

But what kind of style fits you best? And is it possible to be comfortable without hoodies and sweatpants? Yes, it is possible, and Tim Gunn also gives advice on finding a style icon to emulate, how to pack and the modern day essentials beyond the "Little black dress" and how to update the signature piece of jewelry without resorting to the string of pearls. Get started on a fabulous, classically fashionable new you without dipping into expensive fads that may not look so good on you.

I loved this book. Tim Gunn's writing voice is just like his speaking voice, and I could hear his voice in my head as I was reading this book. His book reminded me that fashion is not monolithic, and there is plenty of room for all- but that Tim Gunn has a definite inclination to the classic and clean end of the spectrum, as you can see very well in his own mode of dress.

But even if you like different things, there is still plenty to love in this book- which gives you all the little secrets of fashion to make your life easier- from packing for travel to what to keep out of the closet full of clothes you have undoubtedly amassed, and how to find a style icon to steal ideas from and adopt into your own style.

This book outlines how to set your own style and keep your wardrobe down to the necessary basics to avoid overwhelming both budget and closet (especially necessary if you live in a big city like New York, LA or Washington D.C.). While you might not agree with him at every step, his advice is invaluable for living stylishly. Recommended.

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