What was it like studying under Tim Gunn at Parsons The New School for Design?

It was amazing. When he first was on “Project Runway” I definitely wasn’t surprised that he was one of the ones that made it. One of the reasons I didn’t stay in fashion and design in New York was because everyone was very jaded and bitter but he wasn’t ever like that. He’s exactly like you see him on TV and has always stayed true to himself. I think it’s really hard giving critiques but he was always really diplomatic about it.

You appear regularly on ABC’s “Windy City Live” as a fashion expert. Which anchor needed the most help with their wardrobe?

When I first met Ryan Chiaverini he was wearing the big shoulder suits that sports people wear and his shirts were very “Jersey Shore”. I got him into clothes that fit him properly and were a little younger. He really got it and that is what I love, when people have a moment.

At which Chicago event have you seen the best fashion scene?

The Tinsley Mortimer book party. It was funny because you could tell all of the girls that showed up were like, “What is my best New York b-tch, ‘Gossip Girl’ outfit?”

Best dressed Chicagoan?

Anna Davlantes from Fox. I like the laid-back California style and she has a little bit of that going on.

Biggest mistake one can make when buying clothes?

Ignoring your body type and following a trend. Tailoring is the most important thing for anybody.

How would you sum up dressing the Chicago woman?

Frustrating. Well, everyone has their own issues. In L.A. they dress too young or too sexy and in Chicago they are too practical and don’t take chances. I feel like Chicago women are very literal in their interpretation of trends like, “I need my black Chanel quilted bag or my Birkin.” They follow a trend and they don’t question it. I hate when people ask what is in this season. I say, “Who cares!”

Do you have any suggestions for those who can’t afford a stylist? 

I think it’s great to tear pictures out of magazines and then take them into the stores and ask them to help you replicate the look. A lot of women are very reactive about things. A better place to go instead of a salesperson is a makeup counter and ask what your undertones are. The colors that will work with makeup on your face are what you can wear. Also, the colors that are closer to your face like your shirt are going to make a big difference rather than a color you can get away with wearing on a skirt or pant. So I would say have a plan, pull pictures and ask a makeup person.

Favorite Chicago restaurants?

I go to Andersonville a lot. I love Antiprima’s. It’s Northern Italian so it’s not heavy. They also have a really good restaurant up there that is Dutch called Vincent. This is random but I go to this really good German restaurant in Lincoln Square called Glunz Bavarian Haus and they make everything fresh every day. You need to go on a Friday or Saturday because they have an oompah band.

A what?

A polka band. They give you instruments and they include you. Plus, they have amazing beer so after you have a couple of beers you are just like, “Whatever!”

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

Coco Chanel only because in fashion she was such a polarized icon.

Photography by Natalie Probst

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