Project Runway star and fashion guru Tim Gunn gets candid on the cutthroat world of fashion, and how to kill 'em with kindness in his new book Gunn's Golden Rules. Plus: Read the 10 things bosses never tell you- but should.
Secret #1: Good Manners Are the Mark of True Class
"This book is my manifesto for kindness, generosity, and integrity. My mother constantly corrected me in all things: behavior, grammar, attitude. But my manners also came from when I was in college and began participating in critiques. You have to speak with someone respectfully about their work and be honest and open, without hurting them.
Secret #2: Being Critical Without Being Rude Is An Art
"I learned early on in teaching how easy it is to hurt a young person and that's never my intention. I have had a student throw his portfolio across the room and storm out, sobbing and then we couldn't find him, and I thought, "Oh God, this is exactly what he wants me to go through - this torment," and I did. So I've learned the hard way to try to never insult someone's character. You never say things like, 'Well if you didn't arrive here thirty minutes late every day.' But I still have to stop myself at times thinking, how do I phrase this in such a way so this person does not shut down like a garage door and not let me in? It's hard. I would never say it's easy."
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Secret #3: Use Your Anxiety to Your Advantage
"On my first day teaching my own classroom, I threw up before I entered the building. I realized that teaching was either going to kill me or cure me, and I was determined that it was not going to kill me. I kept thinking that I could not let my mentor down. She had hired me and I thought, I just cannot disappoint her. Did I want to stay home and hide under the blankets in bed? Yes! But, I thought, I can't let her down. I really do believe that it is good to have people outside of yourself that you do not want to disappoint because when you are ready to throw in the towel and say, "This is it!" if you think about that other person, you probably will stick it out. But there hasn't been a single semester of teaching, even twenty-nine years' worth, when I don't have some serious butterfly moments meeting a class for the first time. But nervousness is good, it's useful, it keeps you on your toes, it keeps you alert. It means you're not taking things for granted." Are you destined to succeed? Take this quiz to find out.
Secret #4:Find Your Balance
"I have my mantra about silhouette, proportion, and fit. I believe that when they are in harmony and balance, you'll look great in anything. It's not about a particular item of clothing or particular accessory; it's about the whole head-to-toe look! Think of yourself as a series of thirds from your shoulders to your toes, and dress observing those demarcations. The underlying message being, don't cut yourself in half with your apparel."
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Secret #5: Remember That Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"In my book, I include a not-so-favorable story about Anna Wintour. I had seen her exit a fashion show by being carried down five flights of stairs by her two male bodyguards - all to avoid having to ride the elevator with the rest of us. I told the New York Post about what I had seen and Anna had a terrible reaction to it, and put me through such torment over it. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have included it in the book. But the message is, "Anna, accept responsibility for your behavior. If you don't want people writing or talking about this, then don't let two men carry you down five flights of stairs." Vogue has already come out with a response saying that I have a "vivid imagination." All I can say is, you can't make this stuff up. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction."
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.