Clinton Kelly helps shoppers find the Perfect Fit

Categories: Fashion
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As co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear, fashion expert Clinton Kelly has helped some of the worst-dressed women in America find their style. This Saturday, at the grand opening of Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly at Mall of America, Kelly himself will consult with 100 men and women, offering them personalized fashion advice. The new store will offer custom tailoring, alterations, and style consultations.

City Pages recently took a moment to chat with the fashion forward television host.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves in terms of winter dressing? What should Minnesotans be wearing this season?

I'm not a big fan of wearing a big black overcoat all the time. People forget that their outerwear can be stylish as well. Here's the deal: When you're in Minnesota and it's freezing out, you have to do whatever you have to do to stay warm. So, don't worry too much about outerwear. However, I will say that wearing the big black coat is not all that flattering.

I always say that lightweight layers are the best way to dress because as you go in and out of stores or go in and out of your office, you can add layers or subtract layers rather than wearing a shirt and a gigantic overcoat or a big puffy jacket. You could wear a T-shirt, a blouse, or a button-front shirt with a light wool or cashmere sweater, and then you can do a jacket or an overcoat on top of that. Those light weight layers actually trap air between the clothes and the body, and that's the best way to keep warm.

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Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear
What are your wardrobe "must-haves" for both men and women?

Everyone needs a great pair of modern jeans -- and I'm not talking about True Religion with two horseshoes on the butt checks. Women in mom jeans blow my mind, and there are plenty of dads in dad jeans! If you've been wearing the same style jeans since Friends was on the air, there's a problem.I guess people take fashion cues from reruns, which is scary. Get yourself a great pair of dark jeans with a nice modern wash.

Everyone needs casual footwear that is not an athletic sneaker. This is another thing that drives me crazy with both men and women. Cross trainers are meant for cross training. Switch to oldies with Richard Simmons and walk around the track or take a step class, but they're not meant for running errands! You can wear a non-athletic sneaker to run around town or men can wear a nice, casual loafer or a cord boot. In the spring and summer, women can wear a nice sandal, a ballet flat, or boots.

I really believe in jackets. They don't have to be suit jackets or fancy jackets, but jackets really are the cornerstone of a stylish wardrobe. Jackets are the best way to camouflage the tummy. Whether it's a denim blazer, or something in a cotton canvas or a tweed jacket, it's really a wonderful way to create an outfit and take emphasis away from your midsection.

What are some rules for finding the perfect fit?

It sort of varies depending on the person. For example, shoulder seams of a jacket really need to fit on the outside edge of your shoulder. That's really important. I think the most important thing I can do for women is to show them how to make their leg line look nice and long. If I can keep a woman's leg lines looking long, then she's going to look taller. If a person looks taller, they generally look thinner.

Another example would be hems of shirts. If you're wearing them long and they cover your crotch, that makes your leg line look shorter. I can hem that shirt so that your leg line stays nice and long and makes you look thinner overall. You don't have to accept clothes the way they're handed to you on the rack.

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Offering style advice on What Not To Wear
With guys who have thin frames who wants to fill out a shirt, or even someone with an athletic frame who wants show his body off, I can do these simple alterations and add darts to the back of his shirt so he really looks like he's filling out the back of his shirt and he's not swimming in extra fabric.

People need to remember that it's unrealistic that clothes will fit you perfectly off the rack. Clothes are designed on a size four hourglass dress form and very, very few women are built just like that dress form -- I would say two percent of the population. That means 98 percent of women feel some level of frustration when it comes to going shopping.

Why did you decide to open your new store, and what services will the it provide?

When you go to a Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly store, what you'll receive is style guidance and expert tailoring. Basically, you bring us your clothes and we fix them. I have stylists who are trained to see your clothes on your body and make them more flattering on you. I've trained my stylists to know what each body type should be wearing and how to turn the clothes that people have into something that's appropriate for them.

I believe very strongly in the concept of tailoring. I've been talking about it for eight-and-a-half years on What Not to Wear. It really is an essential component to style. People who have great style always have great fit. Think about it this way: If you were to spend $5,000 on a Prada suit and it was too big on you, you'd look shlumpy and dumpy. If it were too small on you, you'd look like a stuffed sausage in it. You'd be much better off buying a $200 suit and putting maybe $40 into alterations. I believe in that very, very much. Tailoring is economical for people and helps them look better.

You will be providing 100 one minute style consultations at Mall of America. What can people expect during their consultation?

I can get a lot done in a minute, let me tell you. I can basically assess a woman in a matter of seconds. I can look at her and tell her body type and what kind of pieces she needs to be looking for in her wardrobe based on her body type. I can also tell what kind of alterations would be the most common for her body type. I'm just going to talk.

IF YOU GO:

Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly Grand Opening Celebration
Mall of America
Saturday, November 5
Ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m.; style consultations at 3 p.m.*
*The first 100 people to visit the store beginning at 10 a.m. will get a wristband for a one-minute styling consultation beginning at 3 p.m.

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