Gunn (Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work) is best known for his role as the kind but frank mentor on the reality show Project Runway. Rich with photos, this book combines Gunn's signature brand of sassy wisdom with a smart and entertaining journey through the history of fashion-no item in the closet is left uncovered: chapters include "Underwear: Security vs. Freedom," "Belts: Friend to Soldiers and Vixens," "Dress Shirts: Prudery and Puffery," and "Capri Pants and Shorts: The Plague on Our Nation." Gunn makes this history of fashion more than just another lesson about fabrics and dyes-for him, it's the people and the culture that bring the items we wear into sharper focus; in fact, Gunn states that "the primary purpose of this book is to give your clothes more significance." In addition to his fun and informative survey of the past, Gunn doles out sage advice for the present, with sidebars devoted to helping determine the proper bra fit, listing the various categories of shorts, and explaining the proper way to shop for pants. Numerous cultural tidbits, fantastic images, and sartorial wisdom from one of fashion's most respected gurus make this a must-read for "everyone who gets dressed in the morning, not just an elite crew in Manhattan." Photos & illus.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[Gunn's] expertise is very up to the minute, and while this book is a valuable guide for today, it will also reflect well historically on our current styles in decades to come."
"Tim Gunn is fun and chatty, but most of all he is incredibly knowledgable and informed!"
—Diane von Furstenberg
“Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible is a must-have for discerning fashionistas. Not only is it packed with fun facts from the whole of fashion history, but it is a rollicking good read and, in many places, laugh-out-loud funny. Gunn combines acerbic wit with disarming charm—a rare combination—such that we don’t realize how much we learn from the book. Beware: he may be unforgiving when it comes to a favorite style—but you can’t help feeling he’s right.”
—Kathryn Earle, Head of Visual Arts Publishing at Bloomsbury
“Rich with photos, this book combines Gunn's signature brand of sassy wisdom with a smart and entertaining journey through the history of fashionno item in the closet is left uncovered…. Gunn makes this history of fashion more than just another lesson about fabrics and dyesfor him, it's the people and the culture that bring the items we wear into sharper focus; in fact, Gunn states that "the primary purpose of this book is to give your clothes more significance." …. Numerous cultural tidbits, fantastic images, and sartorial wisdom from one of fashion's most respected gurus make this a must-read for "everyone who gets dressed in the morning, not just an elite crew in Manhattan."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Is wore them as the latter, then they were adopted by counterculture icons. Lamenting the rise of casual athletic wear for every occasion, Gunn exhorts Americans to use the past as inspiration for developing a personal style. VERDICT Gunn acknowledges that there are more academic treatments of this subject available; his history is explicitly meant for general readers. A chatty, popular fashion history, this book is great fun and best for those interested in an introduction to the past lives of what we wear.—Lindsay M. King, Yale Univ. Lib., New Haven, CT
Fashion history meets style guide in the latest from the Project Runway mentor. Gunn (Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, 2010, etc.) combines his signature style advice with a history of common items of clothing. Garment by garment, the author explains the development and significance of each, showing readers how what was once essential is now unnecessary (gloves as daily wear) and what was now unthinkable is now commonplace (denim as a back-to-school staple). Gunn is deeply knowledgeable about American sportswear and introduces readers to designers, such as Claire McCardell (1905–1958), who deserve more recognition for their contributions to fashion. The scope is intentionally narrow; the author limits his analysis to Western fashion, and though he supplies unobtrusive footnotes, he does not provide an exhaustively scholarly perspective. Instead, he admonishes both women ("[leggings] are not an alternative to actual pants") and men ("let's talk about pleats. I maintain: never") in his signature voice; helpful diagrams and illustrations are included, as is an appendix designed to help readers evaluate their own wardrobes. The chapter on dresses, in which Gunn distinguishes between draped "Helen" dresses and tailored "Cleopatra" dresses, is outstanding. The author manages to seamlessly integrate his style advice and the historical material, an accomplishment not always duplicated throughout the book. Nevertheless, the book charms even when disorganized, and it's the closest most readers will get to a lunch date with the dishy author. Zingy and opinionated, this romp through the development of American fashion gives readers a historical perspective with which to view their closets.