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Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style (Tim Gunn's Guide to Style) Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Plucked straight from Parsons's New School for Design, television network Bravo found a surprising hero in Project Runway style mentor Gunn, whose catch phrase "make it work" has inspired an undeniable following of armchair fashionistas. Though he'll admit that book writing isn't easy, this venture marks another feather in his tasteful cap. A precursor of sorts to his new series on Bravo, Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, this accessible guidebook covers it all, including the "hunt," "stalk" and "pounce" of "shopping at its most instinctual" (inspired by cheap, forward-looking clothiers H&M), what to ask yourself before taking advantage of a bargain (is it season-appropriate?), the difference between a fashion icon and a mentor (Gunn's the former, Coco Chanel the latter) and full-on closet reconstruction. Gunn's friendly, conversational prose will give readers the feeling of a face-to-face encounter, and Runway fans will be happy to find Gunn hasn't abandoned his colorful metaphors (shopping as "safari") and 50-cent words ("insouciant"). Whether revealing the secrets of "The Under Arsenal" or ruminating on the "tone" and "diction" of a handbag, Gunn's text is clever, a touch waggish, and highly practical for both ensemble mavens and fashion criminals.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Gunn is one of the stars of the hit Bravo show in which aspiring fashion designers compete for a runway debut at New Yorks Fashion Week. He was the Chair of the Fashion Design Department at Parsons The New School for Design and is now the Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc. He lives in New York City.
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There's the usual list of wardrobe and personal care must-haves (trench-ish coat, boots, occasion-appropriate evening wear, perfume, exfoliant and moisturizer) and also a list of must-see films.
One quirk that I noticed he dropped in his most recent book, "Gunn's Golden Rules" is that he speaks in the royal "we." I have no way of knowing whether he was referring only to himself, or to his co-editor, Kate Moloney. It was quaintly old-fashioned in this book, but I'm glad he dropped it for his autobiographical book. Hopefully it won't make a comeback.
In the "Who You Are" chapter he sets you at ease with his characteristic warmth as he tells you that you are who you are for a reason and he is here to help you accentuate your positive features and mitigate the negative ones. He recognizes that there is a connection between inner and outer beauty and encourages you to think hard about who you are.
This book doesn't contain lots of details about what to wear or not to wear. He zeroes in on the basics - he provides a top ten list of wardrobe essentials (he convinced me that ballet flats are necessary, for instance) - and doesn't overwhelm the reader. There is a chapter devoted to posture and walking. A chapter devoted to style icons ranging from Katharine Hepburn to Kate Moss to Patti Smith. Instructions for how to dress for various special occasions. There's a chapter about the challenge of finding the right fit. There's much more to style than merely the clothes and his book addresses this very well.
The most helpful section is the one that addresses Creeping Closet Syndrome. He gives specific instructions about editing your closet and every woman should heed them. The New York apartment in which he lived for 15 years had seven linear feet of closet space so he knows how to edit.
He praises stores like H&M and encourages quality over quantity. Every woman would do well to read his chapter on shopping before succumbing to the urge to go on a shopping spree. He says, "The most important part of your expedition should take place before you leave home. The salient question to ask is: 'Why am I shopping today?'"
I finished this book with regret, wishing for more, which is how I imagine I would feel after finishing a conversation with him over lunch. Now, I'm off to buy some ballet flats...
For example, had I been Mr. Gunn's editor, I would have suggested that he use photographs to help present his case. Reading about how to develop one's sense of quality, taste and style is one thing; illustrating those traits with actual before-and-after examples is quite another. I think this would have given his words more emphasis and greater meaning -- and perhaps save a few more trees.
Still, this is an informative read by a master of fashion for those of us who want to expand our knowledge of the art of presentation, and thus increase our self-confidence and enjoyment of life. We are so worth it.
There are so many books about style on the market - most of them by thirtysomethings who are telling us how to dress hot, keep up with the fashion trends or imitate well known celebrity fashions.
It is a joy to read Tim's book about identifying and capturing your own definitive signature style. I love that he includes "Blind Spots" - things we do to sabotage our fashion wardrobe.
Tim starts by helping you define your style and the pitfalls we often make in choosing and wearing fashions. He takes us shopping, warns us about the "it" bag while we choose accessories and the right outfit.
At the end of the book we are treated to a little fashion dictionary and a list of fashionista movies that are fun to watch.
I highly recommend this book over all the other fashion guides for its classic take on being your authentic fashion self and its timeless advice.
Be sure to watch Tim Gunn's new show on Bravo - which continues his take on style and taste.