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December 11, 2009

Tim Gunn Answers Your Fashion Questions

Everyone's favorite Project Runway mentor solves all of your style conundrums. This month: glasses, short skirts, and broad shoulders.
GET MORE STYLE ADVICE FROM TIM GUNN: Check out his rules for evening fashion, plus his jewelry tips!

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Photo Credit: Perry Hagopian, Splashnews

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Got a question for Tim Gunn? E-mail him here!

Q: "I love the heavy horn-rimmed geek-chic glasses that everyone's wearing now. But how can I pull them off without looking super-nerdy?"

A: Easy: Make certain that nothing else about your look is nerdy. I love these glasses on women. When everything else about your look is polished and sophisticated, the horn-rims add a touch of counterpoint and intellectuality. Black and brown are the classic colors for these frames, but tortoiseshell and even clear are other style options. Consider your coloring when choosing a pair and think about the great company you'll be in: Grace Kelly used to rock this look, and Cate Blanchett does so today!

Q: "How short can a skirt be and still qualify as work-appropriate? Do opaque tights make a difference?"

A: My inclination is to ask, "Well, what sort of work is it that you do?" But I'm being facetious. If you're under 35 and have great legs, you can venture up to 2 inches above the top of your kneecap. If you're more mature, regardless of your great legs, then the hem can range anywhere from the top to the bottom of your kneecap. Under no circumstances should your skirt be higher than that...unless you're in an occupational costume. And under no circumstances should a skirt be longer than that, unless you're going for the matronly look. As for opaque tights, I love them, but they do not excuse a too-short skirt.

Q: "I'm broad-shouldered and have a small chest. I love the menswear-for-women trend (blazers, button-downs, oxfords), but I feel too manly when I wear it. Any advice?"

A: First of all, be grateful that you have a small chest. Many women with big breasts who sport this look feel like a house! But admittedly, this style is manly. Some women are comfortable with this aspect, but for those who prefer to feminize it, my principles of silhouette, proportion, and fit have never been truer. Apparel should follow your natural shape: eschew anything baggy or oversize. Avoid any exaggeration in the construction of blazers, especially bulky shoulder pads and overly wide lapels. Button-down shirts can be worn with the tail tucked in or pulled out — if it's the latter, then wear a belt over it to break up the volume. As for the lace-up oxford look, I'd chuck it...unless you're going full-throttle masculine or it's Halloween.


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