It's a bit disconcerting meeting someone who has made his living at critiquing style choices. What could you wear that wouldn't raise an eyebrow, or make him ask, "What was she thinking?"
However, Clinton Kelly in person is down to Earth, and is quick to state that, much like journalists who can spot a typo from miles away, he sees fashion mishaps the same way.
"I don't judge people on how they've chosen to dress, but I do see mistakes in their choices, and I want to help correct that," he said.
A self-admitted flip-flop wearer — a faux pas that he indulges in only within the confines of his own home, of course — Kelly made an appearance at a fashion show to help Macy's at Southridge celebrate its grand opening on Saturday.
He said he sees Wisconsin fashions as typically reflective of Midwestern values: conservative and safe.
"Women here tend to make safer choices. They don't take chances with styles or colors," Kelly said. "They don't accessorize nearly as much as, say, women in California or New York."
However, he said to generalize further would also be unfair. There are crimes of fashion throughout the country, many of which he outlines in his latest book, "Oh No She Didn't." After the fashion show held in the mall just outside of Macy's, Kelly signed books for excited fans.
While not everyone gets $5,000 to make over their wardrobes under the close supervision of Kelly and co-star Stacy London on TLC's "What Not to Wear," he said everyone can take the steps to make themselves over.
- Step 1: Pull everything out of your closet and drawers, and lay it out on your bed.
- Step 2: Try it all on. What is too small and what is too big that you don't want to have tailored should be given to charity.
- Step 3: What's left should be something you have worn recently, make you feel good and complement your figure. Ask for advice if you're not sure.
Based on this, Kelly said future purchases should build on what's left. He said we are a fickle bunch when it comes to buying clothes.
"We shop willy-nilly in this country for clothes. We will grab a shirt off the rack and take it home and never try it on first," he explained. "On the flip side, we pass by dozens of other choices based on how it looks on a hanger. Take your time and try things on."
He points out that people who are targets of the show spend two full days doing nothing else but trying on clothes, and leave generally with about 10 outfits.
"It's time-consuming work, really, but it helps people get to know what their own style should be," he said.