Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I will no longer be watching Tim Gunn's Guide to Style

You all know me. You know my affection for Tim Gunn and his advice-giving on Project Runway. And once PR starts back up, I'm all over it.
But after watching one TGGtS episode all the way through, then two more in snippets, I will state flatly that it's over.
Here's why...
...not because on the first episode, as soon as she was all made up, the woman was tossing her hair in that broken-neck, stiff-shoulder, aren't-I-the-best-thing-ever way (a really sweet woman, who looked in her body language all of a sudden like no one should dare touch her, and a real snot, despite her smile)
...not because all of the women can't seem to get over someone looking in their underwear drawers (grow up, geez! It's underwear. Not a breast exam)
...not because the women are suddenly completely devoid of clothes, have a few new ensembles, and then we never find out if they get to actually have more than those few ensembles, particularly their casualwear (NOT "sportswear"), and therefore have to completely restock their closets out of their own pockets with their new "knowledge"
...not because no one seems to be allowed to wear a pair of cozy lounge pants in the sanctity of their homes
The moment of complete rejection came today, as a mother of 2 was being remodeled. She was given a shiny (and I mean shimmery, not simply lustrous) diaper bag/purse (I think it was shiny leather, actually). Personally, I found it odd and not very attractive, but that is a taste thing. But what Veronica said next was unforgivable:
Everything you buy needs to be this level of style, chicness, and quality.
My response to this: CLICK.
I was so disappointed! I mean, as a teacher I will be the first to acknowledge that people, particularly students, wear some pretty ridiculous things to class, and when flip-flops came back as "fashion," not as beachwear, I was mortified. But I categorically reject any notion that all clothing you buy has to be metaphorically or truly shiny, high-maintenance looking, and even expensive-looking. At "this level."
I reflect on a pair of pants I picked up at Victoria's Secret on clearance. They are lounge pants, light yellow with white and grey racing stripes, and even a little rhinestone decal. They were cheap, but decently made. I bought them because they were soft and the color was pretty, and new to me. Now, I think that in the right instances they look stylish and chic, and they're cute on me. They're perfect for running or walking, going to Meijer, or "walking the dog," as was the case in the first episode (the woman got a DRESS for that, which was stupid). But they certainly aren't part of a category that would include that pretentious bag, and the comment I rejected so strongly makes me wonder if Miss Priss would reject my pants. And I just can't be a part of a show that would.
I generally applaud a show that encourages women to think outside their fashion boxes, and get excited about new things that fit them well, and a new understanding of what shapes look nice on their bodies. But I question the practicality of the actual choices made, and also teaching women the one side without giving them the balance of the other side...those moments at home, or when you simply want to go take a walk by the pond, or when you're feeling sad and just want to curl up, these require a different side of fashion, and women need to believe that this is acceptable, too. Women don't need a "sweatsuit alternative." They need to wear things besides sweatsuits, certainly, but every fashion item has a time and a place. Having nice things is great, but a wardrobe devoid of true "puttering around" wear and casual comfort that makes you feel good is not a proper wardrobe at all. Slobification? Fine, but don't let the inverse be true--please don't snobify these women.

I will not start watching this show again unless I hear they miraculously buy a woman an inexpensive and everyday (stylish? fine. but not "this level") set of cozy clothes to go for a walk in. And Veronica buys some, too.
Tim Gunn, I'll see you on PR.


Mrs. White said...

I'm not a fan of make-over shows, but I am a fan of Tim Gunn, so I was conflicted on whether or not I wanted to watch this show. Since I loooooves me my ugly, old pajama pants, it sounds like "not." Thanks for saving me an hour of my life :)

Anonymous said...

I caught the shiny-brown-diaper-bag episode while nursing Ruth, and I have to agree...I wasn't impressed. I thought the mom was lovely as-is, and became just a generic-looking thirtysomething flippy-hair "yummymummy" type. Even her husband had a look in his eyes..."I need to be supportive but I'm secretly distressed. Where's my pretty, quirky wife?"

Tim seemed stiff and uncomfortable himself, forcing gleefulness. And that her name? Ugh. I wouldn't trust fashion advice from her if she gave me a $5000 wardrobe. She looked like an overcooked, rather flashy socialite.

I do agree with buying quality, however, and I try to do that in my life. Buy a few slightly more expensive but well-made pieces rather than a dozen pieces of cheap. Like, I'll buy three good tops from Eddie Bauer or LL Bean rather than six at Target or Wal-Mart, because I know the seams will be straight and neatly finished and the fabric less likely to pill up. What I don't do is try to be *trendy* - I can't afford to buy trendy quality, and neither can the women on Tim's show, I'll bet. I have to be classic, not current. (One exception: I have been impressed with the finishing on some La Redoute items. Must be because they're French.)

Comfortable in fitted tees and pajama pants,


Carrie said...

Wow. I had a completely different reaction to this show, but I've only watched one episode so far. I also watched the one with dog-walking dress outfit (which did strike me as ridiculous) and I liked that one.

When they were shopping, I was intrigued by their search for a sweat suit alternative- I was all "Oooh, what's that?). I didn't like the dress they found eventually either, it was not practical, but I liked the idea. Sometimes there are other things that are just as easy to throw on as sweatpants and look better.

That being said, I've never been much of a sweatpant proponent. I used to say in high school that if you wear sweatpants out of the house you've just given up on life. Now, sweatpants are much much cuter these days, so I've loosened up on that a bit. :) Still, I really only wear them to the gym, and then maybe if I have to stop at Kroger after, since it's right next door.

I think I'm just really tired of the whole Juicy trend that has made it acceptable to wear sweatpants wherever. I look at students on campus and I'm like please, try to put a little effort into your appearance, for god's sake. So, for me, comfy pants are fine for working out or sitting on the couch, but that's kinda it, really. If they're trying to tell me to lounge in something more fashionable, forget it, but if they're like, you should muster up more energy to dress to shop or walk the dog, then maybe they're partly right. Does this make me vain?? :)

Enough about sweatpants. Based on the one episode I watched, I liked the show. I laughed out loud to Tim's gut reaction to the idea of leggings - thank you Tim! I liked how it made me think about my wardrobe and what I should have in it, and what parts I need to work on. I now want a trenchcoat. :)

Paul liked it enough too, and I went and recorded a few more and they're sitting in the DVR. I'll have to watch them to see if I like them. I'll be watching them with a different eye now, definitely. Interesting critiques, Abigail...

Abs said...

Wow, what great comments from some of my favorite people!
Carrie, I'm totally with you that sweatpants and so on are's that borderline between trendy fashion and pajamas that people don't always master. But I'll be damned if I get all flashed out to go to Meijer. I want to be comfortable and warm.
My problem is that, when shopping for a "sweatsuit alternative," this is on the understanding that these ladies' closets are OBLITERATED. They have nothing left for those moments when a pair of lounge pants and a cute tee shirt are the best option. I'm coming from the standpoint of add to, not replace. That's just too inflexible for me.
SECP, I'm glad you are seeing good things from La R. I like them, and I feel almost sinful buying there because their clothing is so inexpensive. I like your position of classic, and always have. You are a far more sensible shopper than I!