I fell into my current job as a Costume Designer for TV shows and commercials by first lying and then working hard and having "the gift of gab," as my grandmother Lola would say. At one point in my budding career, when I had about 36 cents to my name, I got a call to audition for one of those dumb "makeover" shows.
I instantly started sweating bullets, because at that point I had the self-confidence of a sheet of loose leaf paper. I was totally faking it till I made it. (That was a great piece of advice, Mom.) I had to go for it -- I had no other viable options or offers to make any money and therefore be able to eat food.
Somehow, probably because I did not care at all about it, I got the job. I ended up filming about 20 episodes of TLC’s "A Makeover Story." I wandered through people’s houses and lives like the ditz I am, telling them to toss stuff, take their hair out of that damn ponytail, show their legs, wax their eyebrows, stop wearing sweatpants, and basically do all sorts of superficial stuff to make their lives better.
I traveled all over the US and to Australia. No, I didn’t change anyone’s life with this work but I did pride myself on not being mean spirited. They always want that on those shows!
I learned from this experience that I want to be famous about as much as I want to get a root canal. I was recognized in public once...in the juniors department of the Target store in Pasadena, California. The fitting room attendant said “HEY! You’re on that show!” Since Target is one of my favorite places to shop for clothes, I considered this high praise.
The show died and went off the air almost immediately after my involvement with it. I also appeared in a few failed TV pilots, one of which was called “Tune up Your Man," in which I had to wear a pair of hot pink Dickie’s coveralls. They called me a "fashion mechanic." On the day of the shoot they asked me if I knew how to drive a tow truck. They had this idea I’d roll up to places in a tow truck. At the time, I barely qualified for car insurance, I’d crashed so many cars.
Once I was asked to commentate for a TV Guide Channel Golden Globes red carpet fashion special. This was the year Charlize Theron wore some yellow dress. Maybe it was in 2004? The dress was very pretty.
The other commentators were going on and on about her classic style and beachy good looks. IT WAS SO BORING I ALMOST FELL ASLEEP ON THE AIR. I mean, I agreed totally with what they were saying, but when it was my turn to speak, I decided to mention how I had recently seen a bit in the National Enquirer about Charlize smoking something out of an apple in her backyard. Hot fun in the summertime! Strangely, they never asked me back.
Red carpet fashion is such a drag. The people I think are dressed interestingly at these events are always the ones who make an appearance in the “What Were They Thinking?” feature in the next week’s US Weekly.
I do believe that good clothes open all doors. But I cringe at the notion that fashion is something certain people are just not "good" at. This is patently untrue.
Who made all these rules? In my day to day job, I try not to dictate any rules other than “Don’t wear jeans with rhinestones on the butt." The rest is made-up stuff to make us feel dumb so we buy more stuff. (credit, National Enquirer)
Barely any designers take chances anymore. Chances don’t sell! I’m way more interested in dog clothes these days. The wacky things that end up at places like Nordstrom Rack or on super clearance at Century 21 are the really cutting edge things. Like Cat’s Givenchy boots.
Is it so ugly it’s cute? That’s a great sign. Do you feel in your heart that you can pull it off? The get it and make it yours.
You may be wondering why the hell you should listen to me. You know what? Don’t. That’s okay with me. I have been known to have pink hair and eat candy all day. I’m not exactly a pillar of sanity.
Look around and develop your own eye for things. I believe fashion is supposed to be fun and different. Jane’s right, it’s supposed to make you laugh.
I loved it when Jane said, “I believe in dressing for myself. There have been times when my own fashion director has seen my outfit and started laughing, which makes me happy as it means I've achieved that.”
She’s right. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Not even me.