Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style: 10 Essentials

I’m a little behind in my TV watching–too much going on with work and back-to-school stuff–but I finally had the chance to see the first two episodes of Tim Gunn’s new show.

I love Tim Gunn, but his show does seem to be a ripoff of that other style-makeover show, What Not to Wear. His cohort, “supermodel” Veronica Webb, doesn’t bring anything at all to the show. Seeing her go through the style-challenged victim’s underwear drawer is creepy, and in my opinion, unnecessary. Why not just head straight for the lingerie shop and show them what works, rather than parade their existing sundries for all to see? Blech!

The show’s openings are so contrived. We see the fashion victim out for a stroll with a loved one, blissfully unaware that Tim Gunn is about to phone and tell her to hurry home, because he’s coming over in 20 minutes. You’d think the camera crew following her around would have been a tipoff, but no–there’s lots of mock-panic and rushing home to find something nice to wear when Tim and Veronica arrive.

There’s the obligatory “verbal contract” where Tim gets all stern and serious, staring down the participant with a warning of tough times ahead: a painful emotional journey that will wring the tears from your soul and turn them into a river of discarded clothing, mental turmoil, and fashion upheaval. Forced drama, anyone? Then he intones his ultimate words of wisdom, “We can’t want you to succeed more than you do.” ooooh….are you scared yet?

That’s my biggest issue with the show: it tries to create angst where there isn’t any. The thing I liked about Tim Gunn from his appearances on Project Runway was his ability to scare the crap out of the contestants with just a few pensive”hmmmms” and an arched eyebrow. He had a quiet confidence about him that is lacking in his new show.

The “let’s go through your closet and ditch stuff” segment is way too reminiscent of What Not to Wear, even though this show claims that “the decisions are totally in [the participant’s] hands.” Again, he’s got Veronica tagging along making useless comments.

Overall, I think the show isn’t meeting its full potential. My least favorite part of this show (and What Not to Wear, too) is when we have to see the participant struggle as they go store-to-store, searching for new clothes and feeling totally clueless. I’d much rather see the participant go shopping with Tim at her side, pointing out what works and what doesn’t, and why, right from the beginning.

The only truly helpful info that has emerged thus far is Tim Gunn’s list of the 10 Essential Items Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet. They are:

1. Basic black dress
2. Classic dress pants
3. Classic white shirt
4. Blazer
5. Skirt
6. Cashmere sweater
7. Day dress
8. Jeans
9. Trenchcoat
10. Sweatsuit alternative

Bonus item: a special occasion dress or other high-end item that makes you look and feel fabulous

This is the kind of information that is lacking out there, and where I think Tim should focus his efforts in the show. Provide more tips about what looks don’t work for anyone (horizontal stripes, pleated pants) and be less concerned with building hype and false drama. He doesn’t need those tricks to get our attention, and should let his expertise be the true star of the show.

2 thoughts on “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style: 10 Essentials

  1. I don’t have – yes, yes, I do have a skirt!

    But I don’t have a cashmere sweater, though I agree, I should.

    Oh – and no blazer. I wore too many of them in the early 90’s to be able to wear one now without being absolutely certain I’ve somehow welcomed back my girl-mullet.

    I have the same issue when it comes to jean jackets, and I LOVE jean jackets.

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