Friday, October 12, 2007

Clinton Kelly represents at Macy's

What Not to Wear co-host Clinton Kelly is on a mission with a message to America's petite women: don't sell yourself short!

He's embarked on a whirlwind tour of Macy's locations around the country to host fashion workshops just for petites, and yesterday's stop found him at Houston's Willowbrook Mall store.

After a brief introduction, attendees ranging from curious passers-by to diehard fans were treated to a fashion show (petites only, of course), followed by an extensive Q&A session with the man to whom history can accredit the quip "That sweater looks like you killed and skinned a Muppet."

Turns out the Clinton who appears in person has much in common with the Clinton we know and love from the tube: boyish charm meets barely controlled manic energy, with an edge of snarkiness that's tempered by big-hearted compassion. Instead of reading questions from pre-submitted index cards, he breezed (and occasionally sprinted) through the audience, deftly addressing queries ranging from the insightful ("How can I mix patterns without looking garish?") to the downright bizarre ("How do you shop for a man who refuses to try anything on?").

Of course, the evening’s main theme was how women 5'4" and under can dress their best, upon which our host had this to share:
  • To create the illusion of a longer leg, go with an empire waist and a pant leg that touches the shoe (it should just skim the floor in back).
  • Your best skirt length is just above the knee, and the lowest you should go is just below the knee. Full-length skirts make you look like you’re welded to the floor.
  • For blouses and jackets, your best length is mid-hip.
  • Jeans can be hemmed by a good tailor and still look like they came off the rack. Make sure your tailor uses the same color thread as the rest of the jean; then apply a light rubbing of sandpaper to the seam until it matches the others, thus avoiding the "my mommy just hemmed my jeans" look. a few tips that we can all take to heart, regardless of your shape or size:
  • Try on, try on, try on: On average, each WNTW transformee tries on no fewer than 21 pairs of jeans (!) before she finds the right one, and even that pair may require tailoring to fit perfectly. Speaking of which...
  • Find a good tailor and make him/her your friend. Very few items fit perfectly off-the-rack. Even little alterations like a waist-nip or a narrowed sleeve can make a piece look like it was made for you.
  • Get a professional bra fitting (the first step in every single WNTW transformation) once a year ... then head to Graffiti Pink and go wild. (Okay, we added that last bit.)
  • Wayward belts can be kept in place with a bit of double-sided tape.
  • To make your eyes stand out, wear a contrasting color near the face: orange for blue eyes, plum for green eyes, etc.
  • Yes, you can mix patterns; just make sure that one is dominant and the other more subtle, and that there's a common color to tie the two together. well as a heads-up on what's hot for Fall 2007:
  • Colors and prints: gray (the neutral this season), orange (which will really hit big in Spring '08), bold patterns, black-and-white with pops of bright red, unusual animal prints like giraffe
  • Shapes: shirtdresses, tunic tops, blousy sleeves, swing jackets, wide-leg trousers
  • Textures and trim: quilted jackets (one model sported a stunning quilted leather creation—talk about sophistication with an edge!), sparkly or shiny embellishments (beading, sequins, etc.)
  • Accessories: patent-leather belts and shoes, opaque tights
  • The one absolute-must-have item: Short trenchcoat in a hot color (raspberry) or a funky print (leopard)
Oh, and Clinton's answer to the question of how to shop for the man who won't try anything on? "Don't—send him to a personal shopper."



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