I'm Tim Gunn, a career educator and now mentor on Lifetime's Project Runway and the new series, Project Runway: Under the Gunn, of which episode 5 airs this week! I'm here at reddit headquarters with Victoria in NYC to take your questions. AMA!

https://twitter.com/reddit_AMA/status/433299374920441857

This is my first reddit AMA, and I'm so thrilled with how much fun it's been, and I can't wait to come back and be with everyone for a reprise! Thank you!

Comments: 2039 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

TheTimGunn2247 karma

Someone asked what's my best life advice, and deleted their comment: Take the high road.

No matter how much stress, or strain, or consternation you are facing, take the high road.

You will never regret it.

However, when the high road gets so high that you get a nosebleed, get off it. My mother could do that to me. She'd say "take the high road, take the high road, take the high road…"

TheTimGunn1742 karma

Erik is introducing me to /r/MaleFashionAdvice.

jdbee1130 karma

I'm one of the moderators of MFA, and I'm going to jump on this to ask a question. One of the recurring complaints on MFA is that the community only caters to thin, athletic body types, but in a lot of ways, I think this is a self-perpetuating cycle. Very few mainstream companies cater to big guys, which makes it easy for them to feel unwelcome. I know you've worked with the folks at The Biggest Loser for the last few years, and I was wondering what general advice you'd give to heavier guys who are interested in dressing well.

On the show, I notice you putting a lot of guys in structured jackets, which makes sense for someone who needs a business casual wardrobe, but what about casual clothes? Or for a college student, where a jacket would be inappropriate?

Thanks for doing the AMA and for your perspective on this!

TheTimGunn1740 karma

Well, regardless of your size or shape, I subscribe to 3 elements that must be in harmony and balance at all times.

They are:

  • Silhouette
  • Proportion
  • And FIT.

And it works. And men: don't wear the untucked shirttail. It cuts you in half, which is a very bad proportion. Think of yourself as a series of thirds. So when the shirt is tucked in, you're 1/3 on top, 2/3 on the bottom.

A couple of things for the not-so-diminutive man: avoid any prints that are large scale, because you will look like the print is wearing you, as opposed to you wearing the print. And at all costs, avoid clothes that are too big. The more volume your clothes have, the more volume you appear to have.

jdbee531 karma

Thanks, Tim - it echoes the advice we give on MFA, especially the point about not hiding behind baggy clothes. It's true for underweight guys too.

An important follow-up question - will you post in our special "crotch-shot edition" What Are You Wearing Today thread?

TheTimGunn683 karma

You mean, take a picture? Sure!

jdbee316 karma

Awesome.

TheTimGunn1039 karma

Maria_Poppins1295 karma

Your quote "If you have to ask if a clothing item is a dress or a top, it is always a top." Is one of my fav fashion quotes EVER! Thank you!

What advice do you have for a size 12 25 year old with an hourglass figure?

TheTimGunn2309 karma

Congratulations! You're lucky to have a shape! Show it off, belt it, avoid shapeless apparel. Buy clothes that accentuate your own shape. And on the topic of is it a dress or a top, when did the legging become a pant?

WHEN?

I want to know when it happened.

It's vulgar. Plain and simple. It's way too much.

superman11831285 karma

They should have called it Project Gunnway...

TheTimGunn2009 karma

Hahaha! Heidi, Nina and I were on Larry King during season 3, and Larry declared, 30 seconds before we were going on air, that he had never seen the show and was it about an airport?

TheTimGunn1876 karma

Can you imagine being a host and declaring that to your guests?

honeybfly1097 karma

Hi Tim, I want to thank you for your It Gets Better video. I was having a really rough year and was planning on trying suicide again. I started to search for something, anything to give me hope or to make me feel a little bit better. Even though I'm not gay, I looked at the site and started watching videos. Yours was the one that got through to me. I felt this enormous sense of relief and weight lifted off my shoulders after watching it. Thank you times a billion. It didn't get better right away, but your video gave me enough hope/comfort to hang on til it did.

TheTimGunn1548 karma

Life is a big collaboration. And we can't navigate it alone. As much as we may think we want to. And it's so important to reach out to people you trust, and who can give you honest feedback, and keep those people close to you. You don't want to surround yourself with enablers.

astrograph837 karma

I've seen you appear a couple of times on the Daily show and i have to say, you are one hilarious dude who also dresses so damn magnificent

TheTimGunn1071 karma

Aw, that's nice.

And who doesn't love Jon Stewart?

Andot_L_Pab746 karma

What are 5 situations men should suit-up for but often don't?

TheTimGunn1697 karma

Oh my god.

1) Going out to dinner

2) Weddings (I run into men all the time who proudly tell me they don't own a suit, and my first question for them is "What about weddings or funerals?" and they say "I would never wear a suit to a wedding or funeral" and I say "What about the deceased? Or their friends or family? Isn't it disrespectful? And most importantly it's disrespectful to you.")

3) Funerals

4) I also ask about Job interviews (and I'm told "Well I wouldn't want to work anywhere where people have to wear a suit" and again, it's disrespectful, find out what the job dress code is and dress accordingly but dress up for it

5) First date.

TheTimGunn1678 karma

Respect! And then find out on date #2 you can wear sweatpants and a tank top.

I'm joking, of course, under no circumstances should you wear that.

jaroberts24662 karma

Hello Tim.

I don't know if you remember me, I was the Production Coordinator on the first season of 'Guide to Style". I don't have a question, I just wanted to thank you for a making working on that show a lot of fun and to let everyone here know that, even after being in this business for over a decade, you are still one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.

Case in point: I started after the first episode was already filmed so I was 'the new guy' and on my first day I was just kind of wandering around set, a little dazed (it was my first network TV gig), and Tim noticed I suppose and he came up to me and said something like, "You are the new guy huh?." and walked me around set (I think we were shooting in Macy's that day) and introduced me to everyone on the crew. I probably never properly thanked you for that out of sheer shyness, but it really helped me get over that hump of being the outsider and calmed my nerves that day.

Anyway, I hope all is well and I truly wish we get to work again together in the future.

TheTimGunn690 karma

Thank you! I do remember you, and I trust we will work together.

FalseGoddess564 karma

Hi Tim!

I don't have an actual question... but did you know? - My husband and I love you so much that we even named our gorgeous kitty after you! He's so stylish in his tux he needed a name to match.

TheTimGunn981 karma

Tim Gunn is the most stylish cat I've ever seen. That is adorable.

Esyla543 karma

Let's pose a hypothetical. Say a girl is moving to NYC and has to cut most of her wardrobe. What pieces should she be taking with her?

TheTimGunn1716 karma

  • A basic black dress
  • A blazer
  • A day dress, preferably wrap
  • A pair of dress pants
  • A classic white shirt
  • A pair of dark wash jeans
  • A cashmere sweater
  • A trenchcoat (you can wear it to the opera, you can wear it to the grocery store)
  • A stiletto, a pump, and a ballet flat

brenswen522 karma

When did you first begin to say “make it work”?

TheTimGunn832 karma

When I was teaching, probably that phrase was about 20 years ago. And I've found that it's always been very useful, especially in a teaching context.

spiderme476 karma

Hello, Tim! Would you be a peach and bump this?

Besides hosting my favorite reality show, you've also had the opportunity to guest star on my favorite sitcom! How did you become involved with How I Met Your Mother, and how does it feel being a part of the final season?

TheTimGunn792 karma

Just did link

I became involved for the 100th episode, which was called "Suits." And the writers and producers thought Barney needed a tailor, and they chose me. And it's been thrilling to be part of the final season, and I hope that people are aware that the final season takes place over the course of 3 days. So I'm in and out of a number of episodes this season.

danteams149 karma

So you're saying we're going to see you in more episodes?

TheTimGunn387 karma

Well definitely when the wedding happens, you'll see me in the audience.

policyadvocate445 karma

Hey, Tim. My question addresses some of my favorite challenges on Project Runway, the ones where designers are challenged to design for more typical body shapes and sizes, including plus-size or curvy men/ women. Do you believe that the fashion world helps or hurts bigger people, and do you see any encouraging trends of designers not just catering to more typical body types, but embracing those differences and showcasing them?

TheTimGunn1258 karma

The fashion industry at large has been the worst public relations vehicle for larger women and petite women, they are both maligned and neglected. And I honestly do believe it's getting better. I do. And I'm doing all that I can to prod the industry and get them to pay more attention. Because I find it to be reprehensible and repugnant that two populations that are so pervasive in this nation should be so badly neglected.

kdemps1020393 karma

Hi, Tim! I'm a huge fan of yours--you're always the best part of Project Runway. (I nearly died laughing at "What happened to Andre?")

My question is how to get out of a fashion rut. I work in an environment that requires business casual dress (though the higher-ups will wear suits). Lately, I've been stuck in a pattern of black or gray slacks, ballet flats, and a plain but nice-looking top. What can I do to jazz it up? I just don't feel like putting in the effort most days because all I do is sit behind a desk.

TheTimGunn494 karma

Well there's a lot of colorful chinos, if they're acceptable in your workplace, those would be a fun addition. And play it up with accessories! Maybe a scarf, a great graphic cuff, a colorful statement purse, even using color in footwear, in shoes.

Godrics329 karma

Mr. Gunn, what advice would you give to someone less-advantaged financial who wants to build a solid wardrobe?

TheTimGunn799 karma

I love shopping on a budget. I believe that more fashion mistakes are made by people with deep pockets than by those who shop on a budget.

To repeat, begin with a closet inventory, and assess what it is you need. And I'm very budget-minded myself, and it serves me well. I have one brand I go to, and it's Suit Supply, and it's fantastic. I was spending $3,500-$4000 on a suit, and the suit I'm wearing today was $500. And they last you forever. The shoulders are set in by hand, it's phenomenal.

highshelfofsteam318 karma

Hey, this is the redditgifts office in Salt Lake City. We're totally jealous of New York and we love you. will you come visit us?

TheTimGunn565 karma

I love Salt Lake City! I've been there 3 times and I will return for a 4th. I especially love it now that there's Gay Marriage in Utah. I'd totally visit.

highshelfofsteam577 karma

Can we create a Tim Gunn app when you're here? We have awesome developers and we'll record you saying encouraging things so whenever someone needs motivation they can just pull their phone out of their pocket and hear your voice telling them to make it work. It would increase productivity and quality results everywhere.

TheTimGunn801 karma

I'd do that in a heartbeat! I would be a full and willing participant.

kickme444194 karma

Tim, I'm already married but I'd be happy to marry you when you come to town.

TheTimGunn362 karma

Haha! Thank you, I'm very happily single though.

NotMyCats309 karma

Is there a moment in your life that stands out for you as a turning point?

P.S. My friends and I started a group in college called "Tim Gunn: Life Coach". We basically discussed our problems and thought "What would Tim Gunn say?" There was a lot of "make-it-work", but it was fun!

TheTimGunn307 karma

Being a student in an art & design school, that was the moment for me, that was when I began to develop a lot of self-confidence and really come into my own.

trashpile302 karma

do you think deconstructionist fashion has a place in the standard american workplace or are office drones doomed to dress the part?

TheTimGunn582 karma

Well it depends upon your workplace. And I want to say to anyone who works in a drone workplace, raise the bar! There's no reason why you have to dress to the lowest common denominator.

doduo300 karma

[deleted]

TheTimGunn644 karma

You know, I've never told anyone this, in an effort to run from my past and disguise it, I got rid of all of the scrapbooks my mother kept going back to when I was a baby. Truly. So that's why whenever talk show hosts or a producer asks for these pictures, there are barely any. My sister had a few, but that's it, and this was before digital. I've never told anyone that, but that's the truth.

thejohnblog275 karma

At my age, 37, I wonder if it's starting to look ridiculous with my simple Jeans, T-shirt and chuck taylors look. But I am not a wealthy man or even close to it to upgrade my look to the kind I see in magazines and such. If I was to go thrift store shopping, do you have any recommendations? I'm a six foot even hispanic man at 200 lbs with black hair and a black goatee and squared glasses if for any reason whatsoever that helps?

TheTimGunn728 karma

You can make your existing look very sophisticated and feel very proud of it by simply adding a blazer. It's the easiest way in the world to dress up the ubiquitous t-shirt and jeans. It should fit you, and the way to tell is the shoulder of the jacket should correspond to your natural shoulder. It should not project out an inch, or in an inch. Men are the worst when it comes to fit. They wouldn't think of getting a garment altered off the rack, they think it's not masculine to show vanity and I think people equate alterations with vanity, and that's ridiculous.

LordPizzaParty270 karma

Tim, you've already appeared in a Marvel Comic (in the Iron Man suit no less!) Any chance of showing up in one of the movies?

TheTimGunn791 karma

I would LOVE to! And I'm always prepared to fight a crime against fashion.

christmas_chicken267 karma

Have you ever fallen victim to a fashion trend that makes you cringe when you think about it now?

TheTimGunn701 karma

Yes, acid wash jeans. Yes. 1980s.

Artvandelay1263 karma

Hi, Tim. My wife is a fan of yours and Project Runway and therefore I too have watched you on TV on several occasions. It's her birthday in a couple weeks and I would really like to get her something special because she's been having kind of a rough year. She loves to wear scarves and she loves cashmere but doesn't have something that is both in column A and B there. So, based on my in depth study of her scarf drawer (yes, she has one located beneath our living room television), I have it narrowed down to 6 finalists to become the winner of this year's Project Gift-For-My-Wife.

It would be the biggest favor to me if you could click here and give me some help as to which scarf I should get (they are numbered for your convenience). You don't need to put too much thought in, just maybe suggest which one you think will still be cool by this time next year. I know she'd love any of them but it would mean the world to me if I could tell her that Tim Gunn picked it out for her personally. I'm sorry that I don't have the fashion language skills to describe her style to you but she's a 25 year-old middle school teacher who likes funky patterns as accents to her outfit.

Thank you for you taking the time to come to reddit, we always appreciate people who wish become one of us. By the way, I loved your message to Sean Hannity on the Daily Show a couple weeks back. And as the lead for her school's gay-straight alliance, my wife was actually able to appreciate a tv show I watch, so thank you for that too!

EDIT: wow I got gold 2 hours into this comment with 20 points. Definitely not one of the fastest golds but probably one of the lowest. But thank you very much, kind stranger.

TheTimGunn324 karma

I would go with #6, the leopard print. Animal prints are timeless.

And that's great. You sound like the sweetest husband ever.

brenswen227 karma

Hi Tim! I purchased your Fashion Bible for my mother for her birthday, and she loved it so much! She made a point of saying how great of a writer you are. She is a long time viewer of Project Runway and says you are her favorite part. It would make her incredibly happy if you’d answer some questions for her.

Her questions are: 1. At what point did you know that fashion is what you wanted to do with your life? 2. If you could live in any decade simply for the fashion, which would it be? 3. What is an element of fashion that you would like to see more often?

Thank you for doing this AMA!

TheTimGunn530 karma

Delighted!

1.) Well, I was a teacher and an administrator at Parson's School of Design, and as an administrator, I was associate dean. And in that role, I went around fixing things that were broken. And the Parson's fashion program was broken. So it ended up being a 7.5 year gig, and that was the final 7.5 years I spent at Parson's. So fashion chose me. It needed to be developed and evolve. I don't know if it comes naturally to anyone.

2.) Easy! The 1960's. Think about it: it begins with demure, Mad Men, Kennedy / Camelot, and it ends with hippie-dom, and in between, we have the miniskirt, we have the paper dress, we have the clear vinyl dress, and what can shock after the 1960's? Lady Gaga, you're not even close.

3.) The element of fashion I'd like to see more often? Clothes that fit people well. For me it's not so much about the clothes. People dress for comfort, and therefore buy clothes that are too big for them, and my refrain is, if you want to dress to feel as though you never got out of bed…don't.

ClearEyesxFullHearts225 karma

Hi Tim!

My 4 year old daughter is a huge fan of Sofia The First. After Sofia, her favourite character is Baileywick. She constantly sings the Baileywick’s Day Off song. What has your experience been like? Do children recognize your voice in public?

Thank you for contributing to her happiness.

TheTimGunn636 karma

Aw, that is so nice!

I just recorded the first 2 episodes of season 3 yesterday. I'll be in an elevator, speaking to someone, and there will be a little child in the elevator, and generally they will just stare. And then I will say "Are you watching Sofia the first? What's your name?" and they will say their name, and I will say "Why Hello Princess Patricia! I am Baileywick" and it's so fun.

wobbly_orbit224 karma

Hi Tim, thanks for the AMA. In your opinion what is the biggest faux pas in fashion right now?

TheTimGunn836 karma

BARE MIDRIFFS.

Sometimes it's more subtle than a crop top, where it's a top where the bottom of the top does not reach the waistband. If you're older than 16 and you're not at a beach, forget it! It needs to go away.

sciencebro220 karma

Hi Tim, do you have any advice on how to maintain poise and class in the face of adversity?

TheTimGunn508 karma

Well, it goes back to what I said earlier about taking the high road. And it's very disarming to the other party when you are calm and poised through adversity. And what happens is, your attitude and disposition is an unexpected dimension that enters into the whole dynamic, and it tends to disarm people. They are not expecting that.

Lizziedeee196 karma

Favorite meal to make for yourself?

TheTimGunn898 karma

My favorite meal to make for myself is meatloaf, but not just any meatloaf: I prepare the the ground beef (I don't use anything else) and flatten it out so it's about 1/2 inch thick, then I spread shredded cheddar all over it, then I roll it up. It's amazing. Like a big cheeseburger.

T-Durka172 karma

What are the 4 things that any man should have in their wardrobe? Best of luck with your new season!

TheTimGunn330 karma

  • Blazer / jacket
  • A pair of dark wash jeans
  • A dark suit
  • A necktie (I know just as many men who don't have suits who say they don't have neckties and they don't know how to tie them - and I assume you have shirts. And about most of these items: they must fit properly).

palberca168 karma

What do you think of Kanye Wests influence in fashion and his collaboration with APC?

TheTimGunn862 karma

The only thing dumber than a plain $300 t-shirt is someone who would buy it. If those are the looks he wanted, he sure has good ones.

AlteregoX168 karma

Hi Tim! Im so excited to have this opportunity to hear your thoughts on everyone's questions! I've read your books and have learned so much from you already! I'm a new designer who launched a luxury petite ready to wear brand, fulfilling a niche that's been ignored for decades.

My questions are:

Why do you believe there are no designer brands for women 5'4 and shorter?

What channels should I be targeting to allow my brand to reach the luxury market and show the industry that petite womenswear is in high demand?

Also, I'm in Los Angeles, and not New York, do you believe this is a determining factor in reaching success in the fashion industry when the LA market is known for producing T-Shirts and leggings manufactured in China versus high end in New York?

Thank you so much! Frankie

TheTimGunn270 karma

Well, because until you, it's not an area where designers want to focus or pay attention (regrettably). The same holds true for women who are larger than a size 12.

You need to get onboard with Marketweek, and you need to reach out to the higher end retailers like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Saks.

I think you should come to New York for Marketweek. I think that you should, because the buyers visiting LA's market won't know what to do with you.

thewaybaseballgo151 karma

When was the last time you ate at a Red Lobster?

TheTimGunn277 karma

Actually, it's been YEARS since I ate at a red lobster. But it was years after the Andre Red Lobster episode. And Andre and I tried to go to Red Lobster together, but it was closed and it wasn't open for lunch for some reason. We tried to get a picture taken!

super_slayer148 karma

Hey Tim, what are your thoughts about sweater vests? Thanks!

TheTimGunn310 karma

I love them! I wear them myself. If you're wearing a jacket, as I always am, the sweater vest always needs to be buttoned, with the exception of the bottom button. But if you're going sans jacket, you can leave it open.

TheTimGunn551 karma

I'm speechless at the thought of non-buttoning sweater vests - basically a V-neck sweater without sleeves. You'll probably look like an adolescent.

B911b146 karma

I am a huge fan of your overall positivity and message. Thank you for being a great ambassador. Also I'm very happy you're hosting your own show. Keep up the good work!

What items do you personally always splurge on? What items never seem to be worth spending money on?

TheTimGunn259 karma

I splurge on outerwear because you want to break it in and have it last, you don't want to break it in and have it fall apart. And shoes, similarly you want to break them in and have it last. And with every other item, I'm very budget conscious.

TheTimGunn234 karma

If you take care of your clothes, even less expensive ones, they will last.

super_slayer124 karma

What fashion trend do you think will make a comeback?

TheTimGunn390 karma

The bomber jacket will most definitely return. Most definitely. No question about it. It has a 100 year history and will probably go on for a couple more. And frankly, from my perspective, the bomber jacket is such a classic item you can wear it even when it's not on trend.

madhattergirl123 karma

Hello Tim! Love you on Project Runway and makeover week on The Biggest Loser. I'm a curvy girl (I have a butt and thighs) and really like pencil skirts but can't figure out the best way to shop for them. Should they be above the knee? Below? What should I be looking for to get the best skirt for my body? Thank you and please help me make it work!

TheTimGunn233 karma

A pencil skirt by definition needs to fall at the bottom of the kneecap. Any lower, and it gets dowdy. I'd begin looking online, and find the retailers who have the items. And high waisted pencil skirts are generally the most flattering.

escapetheory123 karma

Hello Tim! Where did the ever popular catchphrase, 'make it work' originate? Love you Tim!

TheTimGunn350 karma

It originated in my classroom and was spoken to a student who wanted to throw out a project and start all over again. And I said no. You're going to make it work. And what it means is: Offer up a diagnosis for what's going wrong, and a prescription for how to make it right. And each time that we engage in that process, we move forward with more resources available to us.

Kishara112 karma

Tim, you are so gracious even to people that are challenging to deal with. Do you have any advice on how you manage to keep your cool with difficult people?

TheTimGunn185 karma

I believe in taking the high road. Don't stoop to their level, no matter how difficult it may be.

happpyheart109 karma

Tim Gunn!!! oh my goodness, I have always felt that we'd be good friends, just putting it out there. ;) I'm such a fan of your impeccable sense of style and vocabulary to be envious of!

My question is, when did you develop a flair for language? Do you study the dictionary or have a ”word of the day” app that you religiously learn from? and lastly, what is your favorite book (bedsides your own!)?

TheTimGunn315 karma

Well, when it comes to my vocabulary, I felt a responsibility when I was teaching to raise the bar of conversation in my classroom. And with my own students, I refused to let them use the phrase "I like" or "I don't like" when we were engaged in a critique. I would say "I don't care whether you like it or you don't like it, I want to know how this work is making you feel." So we all had to search for more words to describe things.

I have a couple of thousand books in my personal library. Choosing a favorite is next to impossible. But I do love the written word.

timothynguyen106 karma

What is your opinion on Thom Browne and the Thom aesthetic?

Do you see his influence in other designers?

TheTimGunn171 karma

Thom Browne's aesthetic works perfectly on Thom Browne. It's difficult for any other man to pull it off as well.

ferdinandcc88 karma

Thanks for doing this, you’ve always been an enormous inspiration to me as a design teacher (albeit graphic design) working in the developing world with artists who can’t afford college. So, any advice you could give to myself and others who want to teach and help nurture creativity in future generations? Any skills that arts colleges don’t really teach that you feel are sorely needed?

TheTimGunn295 karma

Well, it's a matter of being a cheerleader, a truth teller, a coach, and being an excellent listener. Listen to your students, and probe and pummel them with questions.

The other thing about teaching is, I would say this to my students all the time, it's about 30% you as the teacher and 70% about them. They tend to think that their role is to be the baby bird in a nest and you're going to feed them? They're going to feed themselves, or they're going to starve.

And if you want to, you can share my teaching refrain: I can't want you to succeed more than you do.

T1mac84 karma

Hi, thanks for the AMA.

Who on your show has gone on to be the most successful designer? Do you think they'd have been a success even if they'd not been on TV?

TheTimGunn218 karma

Well, let me say this: success needs to be measured according to the ambitions and the resources of each designer. And many aren't interested in being a megabrand. However, season four's Christian Siriano has achieved the largest commercial success by far. And do I think he would have done it without the show? Yes, but not as quickly.

ohnoitsivy81 karma

Hi Tim – I’m such a fan. I want to first say that you seem like such a sweet, charming man. I have a lot of respect for you as a person and for your expertise of course too.

I want to get into creating clothing but not sure where to begin. My grandmother owned a bikini and cover up shop in the 1960’s in Surf City, USA (Orange County, CA) and made all of the items herself. My mom is also a great seamstress. So it’s kind of in my genes. I learned to sew when I was younger but just made really simple things years ago. I have a sewing machine I really want to use. I’m currently a professional graphic designer so I have all of these fashion design ideas but I can only go so far as putting them “on paper”. What advice might you have for someone who wants to make their visions a reality by producing fashion pieces? Should I just go to the fabric store and get some stuff I like? Should I buy a dress form and drape? Look at patterns? Thanks for doing this AMA - carry on! :)

TheTimGunn193 karma

Well, if you don't have experience sewing, start with that, because that will inform what you are able to design. Start with the lowest grade cotton muslin, just to get used to the process. And I would recommend taking a sewing class, because why re-invent the wheel when you don't have to? And depending upon your proclivities, you'll be a draper or a tailor, but probably not both. And the fabric, in many ways, is the last step. And the fabric is an equal partner in defining what the look will be, because the fabric has properties that will want to do certain things and not other things. And with fabric, you don't want to put a square peg into a round hole. And I wish you much luck! Maybe you'll be on my show someday.

ilikethelibrary75 karma

Do you have more creative control over Under The Gunn? What did you want to be different from PR?

TheTimGunn171 karma

Well it had to be different. Heidi Klum and I made a pact that we wouldn't do Project Runway without each other. So Under the Gunn has, at its core, mentoring. And because we have 3 mentors whom I'm mentoring, we talk a lot about it. So it feels very behind-the-scenes. And it was a joy to create and from day-to-day, we just let whatever happened, happen! There was no manipulation but there was a lot of creativity when it came to our challenges.

cinemachick73 karma

Hi Tim! I don't know if I'll ever meet you in person, so this is awesome. hug
My question: After all your seasons on Project Runway, is there a particular look or designer that stands out in your memory? (Also, any challenges you were especially fond of in Under the Gunn?)

TheTimGunn173 karma

Well when it comes to Project Runway, for me the most memorable look ever presented goes back to season one, episode one, when Austin Scarlett created a ravishing cocktail dress out of cornhusks. It was really amazing.

Yes! It's this week's episode, when the designers create a stage look for Zendaya.

SomeFirstTimeHigh72 karma

Hi Mr. Gunn! Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions!

  • What do predict will be some of the upcoming trends in fashion this year?
  • On a similar note, what would you personally like to see come into trend this year?
  • Who are some of your favorite designers (past or present)?

ᴬᶰᵈ ᵃᶫˢᵒ ʸᵒᵘ'ʳᵉ ᵖʳᵉᵗᵗʸ ᵃʷᵉˢᵒᵐᵉ⋅

TheTimGunn220 karma

I have a really simple answer to that. If I could predict the trends, they would already be there. Can I also add: I am the anti-trend guy? I don't believe in chasing trends. And before anyone shops, I believe you benefit from doing a closet inventory. Ask yourself what am I wearing, what am I not wearing, and you'll probably discover things you didn't even know you had. And when you do shop you will think about how to compliment and enhance your existing wardrobe. And finally, just because it's a trend, does not necessarily mean it's good for you!

Nina Garcia and I were on GMA one day talking with Robin Roberts, and she asked us about trends, what was the one thing everyone had to go out and buy. And I said "Don't ask me!" and Nina said "the Gladiator sandal!" And I spontaneously (albeit rudely) reacted by sputtering "The Gladiator Sandal!?!? most women don't even have enough time to lace it up!"

You know what I really miss that I wish would return? The classic Bass Weejun. And most young people reading this won't know what it is, but you should google it. And it was for men and women and kids! And now it's gone. A classic shoe, and it's gone.

Past? Coco Chanel, Claire McCardell. And living? Diane von Furstenburg. And Donna Karan. And notice they are all women. I believe women do the best womenswear.

GoiterFlop71 karma

What is a quick point of advice for people that in your eyes, can go a long way? Doesn't have to be fashion related.

TheTimGunn264 karma

Well, I'm constantly reminding myself that the world owes us nothing. We have to make our way and we have to work hard, persevere and make our own way in the world because the world isn't waiting for us, so let's let the world know we are here.

Mildlyintelligent70 karma

How did you come up with your classic suit and tie look? You always seem to pull it off so seamlessly!

TheTimGunn147 karma

Well, I've worn a suit and tie for most of my life. And I believe (for me), it makes me more confident navigating the world. And as I've matured, I've developed more confidence in pattern mixing and in having a slimmer fit and in taking some risks, and I enjoy it!

gdigrigoli66 karma

Hi Tim! Cross-over question for you. I've often heard that home decor is "fashion for the home." I imagine you've got a gorgeous, stylish home. Do your fashion & home decor sensibilities overlap? What's your home's interior design like? (I'm imagining it being as lovely and handsome as you are :))

TheTimGunn127 karma

Aw that's nice. Whether it's fashion or it's home, it's all about style. The clothes we wear send a message about how we are perceived, and our home does the same thing. So it needs to be personal and who you are. I hate the word "eclectic" but it's useful in this case. I'm a classicist, and I like comfort. Lots of books, lots of artwork, pieces of family furniture, and newer upholstery.

throwaway68990852 karma

What would you pair 6-inch, brown, ankle boots go with?

EDIT: This is for my girlfriend.

TheTimGunn102 karma

What's the style of boot? that says everything about what the apparel should be. And if it's an ankle boot, is it paired with a pant, a skirt, etc. And if it's a pant, is it a skinny pant so the boot is on the outside? If it's a skirt, I will assert that you need to wear it with black tights.

barryabrams49 karma

Is Modern Family really your favorite TV show?

TheTimGunn98 karma

I love Modern Family but it's among a handful of favorite shows.

KitsuneScarf30 karma

Tim, I enjoyed you on Project Runway, but really fell in love during this interview: You make fashion practical but also something to aspire to without feeling like you need to be a slave to magazine covers.

So, my question, and forgive me is this seems a bit simplistic. How do you go about finding a good tailor?

A guest judge on Project Runway once commented that the difference between regular people wearing clothes and celebrities is that regular people buy stuff "off the rack" and wear it, but celebrities frequently have things tailored to flatter them. I feel like older generations did this regularly, but it's something that younger folks don't do. I've had my neighborhood dry cleaner's make simple repairs, but the quality is often such that I wouldn't trust them my nicer stuff.

Any advice?

TheTimGunn51 karma

I would go to a local department store, and ask a sales associate who does the tailoring for people who purchase clothes here.

Department stores should have resources and know people. It helps to live in NYC because we have so many resources around, but I don't make that assumption about everywhere. It's simply a fact, however, that we simply look better when our clothes are able to fit.

(I live in NYC and I don't trust my dry cleaner to do my alterations either).

policyadvocate19 karma

Hey, Tim. Long-time Project Runway fan here (thus, a long-time Tim Gunn fan). It seems like throughout the history of the show, you've easily been able to see whether people are designing from their heart and if this is something that is truly their dream. Have you ever, whether on or off the show, critiqued someone whose seemingly small talent for designing and sewing didn't match their huge dream to do so? If so, how do you tell someone that it might be best for them to re-direct their dream?

TheTimGunn51 karma

Well, it hasn't happened on Project Runway, but it certainly happened in my classes. And this is where I have a very Socratic approach. I pummel the student with questions. And in that process, the student usually reveals that this isn't for them. So I don't even have to say it, they declare it themselves, and when you know so palpably that it is the case, you can get the student to reveal this to themselves. If you're good at this Socratic approach, you'll get them to reveal it.

wobbly_orbit15 karma

Tim, thanks for doing this AMA, I have the utmost respect for you, and I am excited for Under the Gunn.

From where do you draw inspiration?

Edit: Thanks so much for answering my question!

TheTimGunn38 karma

In all honesty, everywhere. Just walking to reddit, taking the subway, really everything! Looking at people. Whenever people tell me they don't know how to get inspired, I say "What's the matter with you?! I could stay in my apartment and be inspired!"

frostybru8211 karma

Hi Tim! Thanks for doing this AMA! I was lucky (brand) enough to meet you at one of your book signings a few years ago. I was absolutely relieved that you were as kind and caring in real life as you are in the various shows you’ve done. So thanks for being you! My question is this…is it harder for you to mentor the mentors on Under the Gunn? We’ve gotten to see your stern side more than once this season when dealing with them. Second question, how does it feel to have people doing impressions of your voice? Who do you think has done it the best, and why is it Santino? Thanks for everything Tim! Because of you there is one less baggy-jeaned thirty something in Ohio.

TheTimGunn17 karma

Oh I'm happy to hear that!

It was very challenging to mentor the mentors, and yes, you do see more sides of my personality. And just wait, there will be more facets. I should explain: my temper does come out in UTG, and it's out of a mountain frustration with the mentors. Because the designers depend upon them, and they need to be behaving responsibly for the sake of the designers. Owing to the fact that I don't have a direct relationship with the designers, it's more critical than ever that the mentors do what they need to do!

Santino. He just does the best impression of my voice. During his season, season 2 of Runway, when I heard my voice off camera I wasn't certain if it was me or if it was Santino.

arturogatti5 karma

Hi Tim! Thanks for answering our questions.

Is it possible for a man or woman to be "too tall" to work as a model?

TheTimGunn10 karma

No! Models come in all sizes and shapes. How tall is too tall, rhetorically? I mean, most designers want to show apparel that makes the wearer look as long and lean as possible. And most people who buy clothes want to look as long and lean as possible. So I say long and lean as opposed to tall, because you could be 5 four and look long and lean.