I confess, sometimes I like those makeover/reality shows that come a-creepin'' across my television screen. Sometimes, when it is the show that progresses by attrition, I get a smug look when some lout who truly deserves it gets booted off. But where I really enjoy it is...
I confess, sometimes I like those makeover/reality shows that come a-creepin'' across my television screen. Sometimes, when it is the show that progresses by attrition, I get a smug look when some lout who truly deserves it gets booted off. But where I really enjoy it is when I can learn something. And when I heard that the advisor to the contestants on Project Runway was coming out with his own book on fashion, I was certainly interested.
Tim Gunn works with Kate Moloney to produce this slender little book of fashion tips, designed pretty much for women, especially those that have overflowing closets and nothing to wear. It gets worse when you realize that not only don''t you have anything that looks good, but you''re not even inspired to do anything about it, and keep on wearing clothing that makes us look dumpy, flat, and wide. And most of all, where do we even begin to figure out what is going to work, and what isn''t?
Each chapter has a little note at the start, explaining what The Lesson is going to be, then the text, often with various line drawings inserted to either instructor or to amuse, and a note at the end titled The Blind Spot that mentions where things can go a bit haywire.
The information is pretty much what can be found in most books on clothing and fashion, working from getting to know yourself, tackling your overstuffed closet and culling it down to the necessities, figuring out a fashion style that will work for you, getting inspiration from famous fashionistas from the past, how to minimize problems with your figure, the importance of self care, an entire chapter on accesories, and especially the handbag, and how to shop using your brain and eyes instead of just emotion and advertising. What I found most useful was the chapter of various items that every woman really needs to have in her wardrobe, and how to keep things to a minimum without losing your mind. The final chapter goes into special occansions and how to cope with them.
One really fun touch comes at the end, with a list of movies on style and fashion that mostly focus on what we think of as classic and timeless. I wasn''t surprised at all to see several of my favorite films on that list. There''s also a brief snippet on the use of perfume and scent without going crazy with it. Finally, a glossary about all sorts of topics dealing with clothing, cloth, trims and terms that will help to sort things out a bit.
Throughout the book, I found myself chuckling over Mr. Gunn''s observations about modern life, and the role of style that affects everyone. He''s canny, but not cruel, in pointing out that everyone makes mistakes, and gently suggests what might work instead. Co-author Kate Moloney is a bit harder to detect here, and I suspect that she was ghosting and editing in spots. It''s a minor quibble -- what really matters in this book is what Tim Gunn is saying, and it''s very sensible, logical advice as well.
Summing up, I found this to be an interesting book to read, but not exactly the sort of book that I could actually use. While I am not at all in question of Mr. Gunn''s taste and style -- he is immaculate and very well turned out -- there are some mighty big holes for the reader to fall into. It''s not the perfect book on fashion, but it is certainly a keeper of a book, and one that I plan to go back to now and then to give myself a good kick in the fanny and to stay focused on the essentials. By all means, be certain to take a look at Tim Gunn''s Guide to Style on BravoTV, where he puts much of what this book is about into actual practice.
About three and a half stars, rounded up to four, as I can''t give half-star rates. Drat.