As the fatherly mentor on "Project Runway," Tim Gunn tells the designer contestants which dresses look like winners and which ones are coming apart at the seams. The man has good taste, and he's putting it to effective use in a new partnership with Weight Watchers that has him advising the slim-to-be about how they can re-imagine their wardrobes to fit their new, thinner bodies. Gunn spoke with Wonderwall about the relationship between weight loss and clothes, the future of "Project Runway" and the ups and downs of red-carpet style.
WONDERWALL: What is the single best purchase someone can make after they lose weight?
TIM GUNN: It should be something that shows off your new shape, your new body. It should certainly subscribe to what I always say is the core of getting your look right, which is silhouette, proportion and fit. When they're in full balance, you really will look great. But when it comes to a particular item, there's so much about taste and lifestyle and individuality. And I'm too respectful of people to say, "It must be X." I will say, though, when you're transitioning through weight loss, you're going from a larger size to smaller size. Speaking to women specifically, it's a wrap style, whether it's a wrap dress or a wrap top. The construction elements of wrap items allow you to really customize the fit and the shape of that item of apparel to correspond to your own shrinking fit and shape. So they're very user-friendly items, and they're great to have.
WW: That actually leads into my next question: When someone is dieting, how do they plan their future wardrobe, especially when they don't know how much weight they're going to lose?
TG: Well, you take it one step at a time. I think it's certainly good to think aspirationally about where you want to be and about that goal weight, but it's really about taking the items you already have, the wardrobe you already have, and altering the fit. When it's a pair of pants, you can certainly go to a tailor. Pants are a very easy thing to tailor. When it comes to tops, I'm a huge fan of the belt, because it can take a top that suddenly has a lot of volume for you and give it some shape. It gives it some proportion and depth, and it makes it still usable and workable in your wardrobe. I find with most people, it's difficult for them to anticipate where this weight loss journey will take them and where they will be in terms of their own personal fashion and style. There, when they reach that goal, they realize that there are so many more options available to them than were even in their fashion vocabulary at the beginning of the journey. It's an exciting place to be. It's a place that's full of opportunities. And it's also a place that's quite daunting. And that's why I'm partnering with Weight Watchers to say that fashion is indeed a corresponding partner with any weight loss journey, and I'm here to give advice and counsel and to be cheerleader.
WW: That's awesome. The Golden Globes are on Sunday, and I'm curious to know if you think there's any actress who's just been killing it on the red carpet.
TG: Red carpet appearances are like any appearance, any performance, really. You're only as good as your last show. Regardless of how great someone may have looked on the past red carpets, it's all about the here and now. And what I love about award shows -- and especially when we're talking about the Golden Globes, which is really launching the 2011 season of award shows -- [is] you don't know. You really don't know who is going to present themselves in what manner and way. And you'd like to think that there are the reliables and that there are those who tend to trip, stumble and fall, but you never really know. You can be incredibly surprised.
WW: Is there anything you can tell me about the upcoming season of "Project Runway"?
TG: I'm hoping there will be an upcoming season of "Project Runway." We're coming out of the highest ratings we've ever had in Season 8. And we shall see. There's not been any formal announcement made. I look forward to it.
WW: Oh, we do too. Finally, is there any item or trendy clothing piece that you have been seeing a lot lately but which you think women should avoid?
TG: Oh, you know, Drew, I'm glad that you mentioned trends, because I have to tell you I'm not a trendchaser. Women are constantly asking me, "Tim, what should I go out and buy?" I don't know that you should go out and buy anything. It depends on what holes there are in your wardrobe, what voids there are; it also depends upon your lifetime and your taste. I mean, I know that women in particular want to feel as though they're on trend with the season. You don't have to do that with an item of apparel. You can do that with accessories. It could be a color. It could be a shoe. It could be a handbag. So as long as you look good and you're confident in your fashion and your style, don't even bother with trends. Don't go there unless you feel compelled to do so and there is something that is particularly attractive to you. I'm kind of the anti-fashion fashion guy.
WW: Well, thank you very much. That's really good advice. We're glad you got to talk with us today.
TG: Thank you very much. Delighted to talk to you.