Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tim Gunn Is Wrong

Tim Gunn--style guru and the "good cop" on Project Runway--has made a serious error. I'm sorry, but it is true. Tim, if you ever read this, I apologize. You are a gentleman and a scholar and an all around good chap, but stay away from the absolutes. Especially about women.

Mr. Gunn appeared on the Oprah show with his list of six things women over 40 should never wear. While I don't have his style cred, I do have some strong opinions, and here they go:

According to Tim, women in their 40s should always try to avoid the following:

1. Horizontal stripes.
Is this an age thing? Or a weight thing? I mean, horizontal stripes are obviously tricky, as they tend to make one look wider than one is. But why are horizontal stripes a problem for women over 40? What about men over 40? Men and women under 40 but more than 40 pounds overweight? Marcel Marceau wore horizontal stripes well into his 80s--and what about French sailors?

2. Jackets that hit at mid-thigh.
Clearly, Tim Gunn has never had to get into a car that was sitting outside overnight in -20 degree temperatures. 'Nuff said.

3. Pleated pants.
Does anyone look good in pleated pants? Discuss.

4. Double-breasted blazers.
Why? I don't see this one at all. What about pea coats? Trench coats? Why is the moratorium on double-breasted limited to blazers? Again, is this an age thing, or a breast thing? Women with large breasts really don't look well in double breasted blazers because the line is all wonky. I don't see what age has to do with it. Especially not in the presence of competent foundation garments.

5. Capri-length pants.
This is debatable. I can see the point, in that there is something about that length that tends to exaggerate the derriere, a feature that is often not the best feature once one has passed 40. But what is the alternative? Shorts? Knees can be problematic as well, and there are plenty of women of any age who prefer not to expose their thighs. Are Bermuda shorts any better? What is a woman to do?

6. Low-rise jeans.
This one I can see--but I think there are plenty of other people who should not wear low rise jeans either. We don't want to see thongs when you bend over, nor do we want the "refrigerator repair man" look either. Call it "back cleavage" all you want, but in the final analysis, it's a butt crack and no one should have to see anybody else's in public. Low rise jeans are fine for models and in movies and television, where things can be edited out. Otherwise, low rise jeans are only appropriate when you are NEVER going to sit down.

See, I do believe there are things that are just not appropriate over a certain age, and 40 is as good a starting point as any other. Long hair, for example. Women over 40 with long hair should wear it up, or something. Hanging down long hair just looks ridiculous to me, like somebody hasn't noticed she is not still 19.

Lower back tattoos for another. Frankly, I think these "tramp stamps" are wildly overdone generally, but ladies--don't go get one after about age 30, and if you already have one, think about having it removed. AND don't wear low rise jeans.

Tankinis. I don't think I even need to explain that one.

I'm sure there are more, but I'll leave it at that for now. Anybody else have suggestions?

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