This past week I had the privilege of chit chatting with fashion royalty. Well, to be fair, it was kind of a one sided conversation, but the fact remains that I got to see one of my heroes, Tim Gunn, speak at Drake University. Tim (as I call him because we’re such good friends and all) came to Drake as part of the Bucksbaum Lecture series which brings such incredible figures as Jimmy Carter, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Garrison Keillor to Drake to speak to students, the Drake community, and even all of Des Moines. Anyway, all of campus dressed in their finest to come hear about Tim’s tips on fashion, business, and making it work. Though I learned a ton from the talk, I’ve compiled some of my favorite Tim Gunn pieces of wisdom below:
Take the High Road
Like the noble, classy gentleman he is, Tim advocated staying above the fray, even in the high-drama fashion world. In his footsteps, I really am trying to avoid going full Real Housewives in my daily life. Although it’s tough, I know Tim is right when he says you’ll lead a more fulfilling life if you eternally strive to be the bigger person.
But Banish When You Need To
I’m not entirely sure why Tim said this, but at one point during his lecture, he yelled the word “Banish” with a flourish of the hands. Like all Tim Gunn moments, it was pretty great, and inspired me to expand my vocabulary for dramatic effect when need be.
Don’t Wear Capri Cargo Pants
This one is kind of self-explanatory, and probably not new information, but important to keep in mind nonetheless.
Anna Wintour Can Rock A Manolo, But…
Tim Gunn told one of the best stories I’ve ever heard in my entire life. That sounds like an exaggeration, but trust me, it’s not. Anyway, for the full effect, you need to listen to Tim’s version of events, but the gist is that one New York Fashion Week, Tim was attending a show in a building on the fifth floor. The ice queen of fashion herself, Anna Wintour happened to be at the same show and when the events concluded, she simply could not bear to enter the freight elevator with all the commoners or descend the stairs like an absolute peasant. Thus, like any logical human, she had her bodyguards carry her down the five flights of stairs, out the door, and all the way down the street to her car. Just take a moment to let that visual sink in, will you?
Make it Work
Okay, sorry. I had to say it. But though Tim’s signature catchphrase is a little trite at this point, it still holds its worth. As Gunn so beautifully explained, “Make it Work” is the perfect allegory for his experience at Parsons and the college experience in general. Things won’t always be perfect, and they certainly won’t always go according to plan. But the important thing is that you keep pushing through the difficult moments and find a way to… you guessed it, make it work.