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Close-Up

Clinton Kelly


Clinton Kelly is everyone’s go-to guy when it comes to what to wear. Co-host of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” with Stacy London, Clinton also has a new ABC daytime talk/cooking show, “The Chew,” with celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and author and nutritionist Daphne Oz. Despite his dual TV schedule balancing act, Clinton, a former magazine editor who is also an author and stylist, still finds time to sneak off to his Connecticut home in Kent, a purchase that turned into a televised project when he renovated the place a few years ago. As Connecticut prepares to clean out closets and put winter clothes away for another year, Kelly offers his fashion advice and observations as he Spills the Beans with Java.

Question
What are you wearing?
Answer
Dark washed jeans and a varsity sweater – they’re back in this season. No, I guess it’s not a varsity sweater but a tennis sweater, you know the V-neck pullover with gray and navy stripes. I don’t pay attention to men’s wear. Men don’t care.

Question
What is the biggest Connecticut fashion faux pas you see when you are walking the streets and malls of our wardrobe-challenged state?
Answer
I don’t walk the streets and the malls. When I am in my Connecticut house the last thing I want to do is work. However, I do see a difference in attire depending on what part of the state I’m in. The northwest seems more casual, while the southwest is more style and label conscious. I guess because people live nearer the city. I’m not sure about the northeast section of the state. I don’t think I’ve been there. Look. Here’s the deal. I have traveled around America and there are plenty of well-dressed people and poorly dressed people.

Question
So tell me about the poorly dressed.
Answer
Women who don’t dress well usually fall into one of these three categories: 1. frumps, 2. sluts and 3. freaks. You don’t see too many sluts in Connecticut and you don’t see too many freaks. The biggest fashion faux pas seems to be frumps. They under dress, tend to be overly casual wearing bad jeans and a hoodie. I want to make it clear that not all of Connecticut dresses that way but that is the biggest percentage in the state. I love Connecticut. I don’t want to hate all over it.

Question
If a woman can only add five pieces to her wardrobe for spring what should they be?
Answer
In Connecticut, don’t pay attention to trends. Spend it on moisturizer. I got old this year and I really feel like it when I look down at my hands and arms.

Question
Come on, seriously.
Answer
It boils down to having a plan for your style budget. You can’t shop willy-nilly. Your plan should be based on your age.What I would tell a 22-year-old versus a 52-year-old is very different. If you are 22 with $500, spend $400 on trendy pieces that make you happy, express who you are. They may be out of style next year but for now they are the sweet spot of style. If you are over 40, spend 75 percent of that money on classic pieces that are not going to scream “trend.” Look for a great denim jacket, a wonderful pencil skirt, a silk charmeuse blouse or a great sandal. I see too many bad jeans and cross-training sneakers.

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