Everyone can't look picture-perfect, said fashion guru Tim Gunn, but you can always look better.
"That's often where we start," he said, "by asking the question. Start where you are now, and do you think you can look better?"
Invariably, the answer is yes. In a new hour-long, eight-week series, "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style," he and former model Veronica Webb will coach women on how to look their best.
The makeovers will include lessons on determining the most flattering clothes choices for individual body types; rethinking an existing wardrobe (by sorting items in one of four piles: keepers, menders, throwaways and giveaways); shopping for new clothes; hair and makeup sessions; and a dramatic "reveal" at the end of each episode.
Viewers who have seen Gunn mentor aspiring designers on three seasons of Bravo's "Project Runway" know he "can be incredibly critical but never crushing," Webb said.
The program has an educational component, said Gunn, who taught at and was chair of the fashion design department at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. But, he added, "there's a lot of emotion that bubbles up in the course of doing the show."
Gunn, a District native, is chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. Besides discussing his new show, he also talked with TV Week about:
Living in the District: "I feel lucky to have grown up in Washington because it's a cultural wonderland. It was like growing up in a giant cultural candybox. And living with the Smithsonian's resources, and the Corcoran, and the Phillips Collection and the Kennedy Center. My family, because they are really committed to the arts, we took advantage of all those things. I went to the ballet, and I went to the opera, and I went to all the art exhibitions. I still remember the opening of [a new] wing of the National Gallery and how thrilling that was. And the Hirshhorn Museum. It informed who I am."
D.C. fashion: "I have respect for a uniform and I understand it -- you want to fit in with the crowd. Washingtonians' clothes are too big in general. Everybody needs to get a tailor or wear a smaller size. They're swimming in their clothes. They can wear the same suit jacket, the same skirt -- get a better size."
The cost of being chic: "One can be fashionable on a small budget. Thanks to places like H&M and Forever 21 and even Banana Republic, it can be cheap. Just as many mistakes come out of Neiman Marcus as come out of other places."
The 10 items on Tim Gunn's essential shopping list for women:
*Basic black dress
*Classic dress pants
*A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit
*Bonus: an indulgent, trendy item
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