Dear Tim Gunn: Stick to what you know.


OK. I usually love Tim Gunn. I think he’s smart and savvy and one of the kinder, more reasonable souls on Project Runway.
But Tim Gunn is getting some heat for commenting on Hillary Clinton’s fashion sense. And he deserves it.
On a recent episode of Lopez Tonight, he really lit into Hillary, saying that she “must be confused about her gender” for wearing so many pantsuits.

This isn’t new criticism. People have cut up Hillary since the second she stepped on the scene as First Lady. She wasn’t girly enough, she wasn’t pretty enough, she was too loud, people called her a bitch. And now that girlfriend is one of the most important leaders of the free world as we know it, she still can’t get any respect.

Men like to chastise women for being obsessed about their appearance. But as Hillary’s plight shows, how could we not be? Whether you’re the Secretary of State or a starlet whose stomach is magnified on a tabloid cover, the message is crystal clear: no matter how impressive your credentials, if you’re a woman you will ALWAYS be judge first and foremost on your looks.

Meanwhile, bimbos like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin get lots of attention and speaking time – often on matters they clearly know next to nothing about – largely because they’re “pretty.” How many times have we heard about Palin’s short skirts? About Bachmann’s “sexy librarian” look? Somehow these women are taken seriously, despite representing extremist beliefs and being incoherent or incorrect. Sure, Hillary is taken pretty seriously, but her wardrobe is also somehow a legitimate topic of conversation.

Listen, Mr. Gunn: I like you. I really do. So don’t go mouthing off on matters on which you know nothing about. Hillary’s job involves representing the world’s most powerful country among other foreign leaders. It’s a job that demands the lady carry some big cajones. And as any man would tell you, cajones need a nice pantsuit to nestle in.

So lay off, pal. Stick to the stuff you know, like fabric. Leave the international negotiations to the woman who can handle it.

–By Tara Cavanaugh

4 thoughts on “Dear Tim Gunn: Stick to what you know.

  1. I remember when the Clinton’s were in the White House, and my father would NOT stop criticizing our first lady’s choice of pantsuits over skirts. For some reason, having a more “masuline” ensemble made her less-worthy of the position of “First Lady.” Which is honestly sad, you know? I find it amazing, as a costume designer, that the main contribution a First Lady can give the US and our society is her fashion sense. Michelle Obama’s Inaugural outfit and evening dress? Her choice of slim skirts, American brands (clearly a political, fashion move), cardigans and so on have been discussed ad nauseam… Forget her work with healthy eating habits and diets for Americans.

    P.S. Doesn’t the Smithsonian have a permanent “fashion” show of First Lady outfits on display?

  2. This is a truly excellent blog and equally articulate article. I saw Tim Gunn’s interview because I too adore him and am cautiously optimistic about this season’s Project Runway. I was so disappointed and insulted by his comments regarding Hillary. It seemed catty and was a disservice to himself more than her for his reliance on antiquated ideas of how people dress and identify themselves, i.e. that a woman must dress in a feminine manner in order to be a fulfilled woman. As such an important part of a fashion related show he should know first hand how complicated the relationship between outward appearance personal identity is as well as understand that for Hillary to walk into a meeting on an equal footing she cannot show up in a get-up like Palin’s or Bachmann’s. She would be treated as less than right off the bat. –Amelia

  3. I found that comment to be surprising, especially since I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would take cheap shots at his gender identity. I don’t watch Project Runway and now I never will.

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