A Review: Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible

This weeks literary foray is in to Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet, with Ada Calhoun. If you have ever watched even a clip of Project Runway, then you love Tim Gunn. It’s like a law or something. And this book does not disappoint. It IS, ultimately, a fashion guide and how to. But Tim Gunn takes us through a historic timeline, tracing how each article of clothing routinely worn evolved throughout history.

As I said, it is a fashion how to, and Tim does not disappoint, giving his opinions on EVERYTHING fashion related, from which jeans one should wear, to style icons, to why cargo capris are the worst thing ever. Tim explains how underwear evolved and the military tie to belts, and why leggings are not pants (they really aren’t. Leggings are more like footless tights).

I loved his chapter on dresses, where he explains there are essentially two forms of dress: Draped and Tailored. This has been true for centuries, and he chooses style icons from the ancient past (Helen of Troy and Cleopatra) to illustrate his point. He doesn’t explain what to do if you like BOTH styles, but some things one must figure out for oneself.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this foray in to fashion history and learning how clothing evolved. This was a BRIEF rundown, given that fashion history spans thousands of years, and Tim acknowledges this in the introduction, before diving in to the breakdown of each garment by chapter. Each chapter contains asides on what to look for in fit and how to find your own fashion.

The appendix takes you through cleaning out your closet, determining what still fits and what needs to go, and figuring out your own style, which is so important in today’s fast fashion nightmare of high turnover. True fashion is timeless, which is why we see a resurgence in 1950’s in Rockabilly styling, bohemian chic, 20’s flapper girl, empire waist Regency style dress…these are timeless classy looks that cycle through the couture houses with regularity.

If you just want a quick rundown of how a garment came to be in modern terms, then I highly recommend Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible. If you want a deep dive in to any one garment, then look elsewhere…a fact Tim disclosed freely in the introduction to the book.