Tim Gunn: Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

Know, first, who you are; then adorn yourself accordingly." ~Epictetus

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By Christina Pippin

Local Shopping & Fashion Blogger

Tim Gunn is Project Runway’s style mentor and candid counselor who knows a well-constructed, stylish design when he sees one. And he’ll tell you if there’s not one in sight. He is the calming and congenial style adviser whose catch phrase “make it work” has spread like wildfire.

He has authored Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work.(Two easy-to-read and easy-to-follow guides.) 

Gunn shares sagely: A closet isn’t a clothing store. It’s a collection of items that reside there for the purpose of being chosen—or not. So why is it that I so frequently ponder and search, but come up empty, declaring, “I’ll need to shop for X so that this dilemma can be reconciled”? That’s the wrong approach. The correct approach is to make it work! I merely need to take my own medicine!

I ask that you rid yourselves of boundaries and barriers in order to examine who you are and what your lifestyle is like with same directness and tough love. You are who you are for a reason.

The content of the book seeks to enhance you, accentuating your positive aspects and mitigating your negative ones.

“Quality, taste, and style” is my operative tenet for most what I do. It’s another way of saying, “The Best.”

Gunn’s Golden Rules includes helpful chapters in cultivating your closet and refining your style: Chapter One: Who You Are; Chapter Two: The Fit Conundrum; Chapter Three: Diagnosing the Common Closet; Chapter Four: The Fashion Mentor, Beyond Audrey - these are just a few of the chapters to be found inside this helpful style handbook.

The following excerpt from Gunn’s Guide to Style is my favorite fashion advice:

Understanding and acknowledging who you are is the most important key to the content of your wardrobe. If you consider your wardrobe to be a sphinx, then the sphinx’s riddle is surely, “Who are you?” Only you possess the answer. (I interrupt this blog post to remind you that not one of us is one-dimensional, we are multi-layered, complicated, sentient beings, and this means we can be classic, prim, punk-rock, and boho-chic if we want to! We now return to Gunn’s fabulous fashion counsel.)

Who you are can take us down the longest metaphysical road, so try not to get swept up in too much brooding self-examination and analysis. This doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, we believe this book can make it fun.


Ok, friends, with all that style advice and fashion guidance, I’m gaining fashion momentum, style confidence, and an unprecedented itch to conquer my closet and create fun, fetching ensembles with all the scraps and left-overs that have suddenly become oh-so-appealing. (Thank you very much, Tim.) I hope all women revel in the glamorous experience of creating your best self.

Find Gunn's books at the The Book Table in Oak Park. For store hours or prices, visit www.thebooktable.net.

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