Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tim Gunn is Flat-Out Wrong: The Style v. Comfort Case

The September issue of Marie Claire offers a peek into fashion guru Tim Gunn's new book, "Gunn's Golden Rules" (Gallery, $23.99).

The five rules highlighted made perfect sense — except for Rule 3: Physical Comfort is Overrated.


As a girl who once — and only once — wore thong underwear for the entire day and was so wildly uncomfortable that I couldn't concentrate, I respectfully disagree.

Here's Gunn's take: "Some people think of dressing up or being polite as a burden. They think having to wear a tie or use the right fork or send a thank-you card is a kind of shackle. To these people I say: Getting out of bed is a shackle. If you feel that way, stay in it! Invest in a hospital gurney and wheel yourself around on it when you need to go out. I get very impatient with this whole 'comfort issue' with clothing. Yes, you don't feel as comfortable in clothes that fit as you do in your pajamas. That's a good thing. You're navigating a world where you need to have your wits about you. If you're in a lackadaisical comfort haze, you can't be engaged in the world the way you need to be."

Now, I adore dinner that requires actual silverware and not a plastic spork. I live for those dinners. They're hard to come by when you have three kids.

I'm also freakishly polite and send thank you notes. In fact, I just finished baking cookies for my car guys because I need to get my oil changed tomorrow and last week they added air to my tires when I just dropped by. Saying "thanks" doesn't seem to be enough for consistently great service.

AND, I happen to adore comfortable clothes. I do buy and wear tight jeans because how they fit helps keep me (more specifically my gut and butt) in check, but show me a loose-fitting, micro modal shirt — soft as a newborn — and I will not be able to resist it. Which is how I ended up with Alma.

The top popped up — half price at Anthro — and I bit.

Made of modal and silk, this baby looked so sumptuously soft and comfy and easy to wear. Pair it with leggings or skinny jeans. Dress it up, dress it down. Tim Gunn be damned, I wanted that shirt. Ironically, when Alma arrived yesterday, I discovered it wasn't that comfortable. The sleeves were second-skin tight. I was painfully aware of the seam across the shoulders where the silk joined the modal. The edges were so frayed, they kept getting caught in the buttons. It's goin' back — because it's not as comfortable as it should be.

Does this mean when I wrap myself in the sherpa-lined softness of my favorite J Crew hoodie, I won't have quick enough reflexes to stop Middle Child from taking a whack at Youngest Child? No. In fact, I will be infinitely more alert than if I were distracted by a phantom wedgie, courtesy of an uncomfortable undergarment.


Desert Flower said...

We had high hopes for Alma.

Ady said...

I am reading Tim Gunn's book right now. To a certain degree, I do agree with him, but I also see your point.

I do not think that something should be uncomfortable to the point of being distracting, but I see people that come to work in flip-flops, holey jeans, and tee-shirts. I have to admit that if I were THAT comfortable at work, I would get less done. I choose clothes that fit, but when I look like I am ready to work... somehow I am more productive.
Now for me, very high heels or thong underwear would be uncomfortable to a distraction. However, wearing something that fits properly, but was not designed for lounging works very well in an office setting. I still want to take my pencil skirt or dress or buttondown blouse off once I get home and put on pjs... but I don't want to stay in my pjs all day.

Rose said...

I dare Tim Gunn to dress like a woman for a day and then he can go re-write is book.

Kcookski said...

good one, rose!
i agree, ady, that some people take the comfort thing too far. and most of the time, i don't want to be in pjs all day. half the day, yes, but not all day. :)