Q&A with Tim Gunn

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

What three women are doing style best right now?

Top of my list is Mrs. Obama.

Do you like the bangs?

You know, I do like them. And quite frankly, I'm glad she's changed things up for this second term.

Who else?

Nancy Pelosi. I have to tell you, I love real women, and women who have navigated the world for a little while. And I'll put Oprah on the list-a woman who's not a size two and knows how to look her best.

If you could dress one woman in the world, who would you choose?

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'd love to get my hands on her. I believe that what she's exuding-and it's intentional-is, "I'm too smart for fashion," when in fact the opposite is true.

Why is looking one's best important?

I was working with a mother and daughter for Dr. Oz. They both had cancer. I spent two hours at the hospice listening to their story, and I was overcome with emotion. I was thinking, "Who gives a damn about clothes?" And I said, "Why would you want to go shopping? Why would you care about such a thing?" And they looked at me and said, "Are you crazy? When we look good, we feel better."

You hate when people complain that looking good isn't comfortable.

I love my suits. Do they feel like pajamas? No. But I feel good, and that gives me a confidence I wouldn't have otherwise.

Any particular "comfortable" item that drives you nuts?

Cargo capri pants are at the top of my list of pet peeves. The capri pant cuts off your leg at an unflattering place and makes you look shorter. When you add the cargo pocket, it makes you look wider. So shorter and wider-it's counterintuitive.

You can invite three celeb friends to dinner. Who's coming?

If it's people I want to know, I'd invite Meryl Streep in a heartbeat. And then when I think about people I know professionally, I'd put Jimmy Fallon on the list. And who else? Whoopi Goldberg.

Funniest person in fashion?

Oh, Michael Kors. Easy.

Kindest person in fashion?

Also easy-Diane von Furstenberg.

You've long championed affordable fashion. Who's doing it best?

J. Crew. J. Crew is fashion with a capital F.

What are three things every woman should have in her closet?

She needs a blazer. She needs a dark-wash, well-fitting pair of jeans. And she needs a basic black dress.

Easiest way for a woman to amp up her style?

A good haircut. It's so easy.

True style is…

Knowing who you are and really being that person.

Feelings on visiting Columbus?

I see Columbus as sort of the petri dish of style for the nation. I love Columbus. This industry is filled with so much inappropriate snobbery and highfalutin, nose-in-the-air ridiculousness it makes me kind of ill, and it makes me embarrassed for the industry. So I like the real world.