Q and A With… Tim Gunn

The fashion guru from Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style shares some date-night fashion pointers—for women and for men.

Tim, as one of the hosts of Bravo’s Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, what would you tell a woman to wear on a date, and what would you tell her not to wear?

I really don't subscribe to fashion prescriptions. And what I would tell that woman would depend upon who she is and who the date is and where they're going. I think if you make an effort to look great, you will feel great, no matter what.

As for an absolute no-no to wear—for me, it’s always the same matter: items that reveal too much skin. Unless we’re at the beach, don’t show me that bare midriff! Also, the biggest fashion foible committed by most people is that their clothes don't fit them properly—they’re either too big or too small. We would all benefit from having a good tailor, and when one is shopping, try everything on and be very discerning when you look in the mirror about how well it fits you. Do this before your date!

People tend to think that, if their clothes are a little bigger than they are, it can hide a lot of imperfections. In fact, it just tends to accentuate those imperfections. It is better to have things that are form-fitting!

The “little black dress” is on your essential clothing-shopping list. Why is it so perfect for an evening out with a date?

Well, it's undeniably a must-have because of where it can navigate one! I mean where it goes and what it does, it's simply one of those things that every woman must have, and I'm constantly surprised by how many women just don't have a basic dress.

Is there a celebrity out there that always looks sexy and amazing to you?

I'm so tired of saying Angelina Jolie, but she never disappoints! She's always occasion-appropriate, whether she's picking up the kids somewhere or walking in Beverly Hills, on the red carpet or at a movie premiere, she doesn't look like she's trying too hard.

What about guys? Any advice for them to look more stylish for their potential dates?

My advice for men is the same for women. Find a fashion mentor. Personally, I have several: Cary Grant, George Clooney and Patrick Dempsey. When presented with a fashion conundrum, I ask myself, “What would they do?” In terms of clothing, I would say dress pants, a classic white shirt and a blazer. You can go anywhere and do anything.

Contributing entertainment editor Susan L. Hornik is based in Los Angeles.
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