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A GUIDE TO FABULOSITY: Anyone who has seen an episode of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” knows co-host Clinton Kelly is serious about women wearing clothes that fit properly and incorporating trends only when appropriate. As it turns out, he’s also a walking Mr. Manners guide on everything from grammar to hosting the perfect party. At the insistence of a friend who also happened to be a literary agent, Kelly came up with an idea for a book “about fabulousness,” pitched it to Simon & Schuster and then, about five minutes later, had a book deal. “I know that’s probably really annoying,” he said. “I’ve been really lucky.”
In “Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better Than Everyone Else,” Kelly begins by taking the reader through his long journey toward “fabulousness,” which started prepuberty. “While other kids on the elementary school playground were trading baseball cards and playing kickball, I was silently debating whether to spend my first paycheck on Italian suede driving shoes or on a cashmere coat,” he writes.
During a layover in LAX on his way to a Macy’s store appearance in San Diego, where he planned to lead a style seminar on dressing properly, Kelly said he wanted to write a book that was useful, funny and provided a comprehensive guide to “overall fabulousness.” Which means he basically has an opinion about everything, such as how to chop an onion, poach chicken breast, make mayonnaise, have a signature drink, choose the right music for a party, fix a baggy shirt and avoid a dangling modifier.
He plans to spread his message during his Macy’s appearances (he’s been working with the department store for three years), while fitting in bookstore appearances when possible. “Going to Macy’s all over the country is one of the best parts of my job,” he said. “I mean, I’m there with 750 women who show up after work on a Thursday? It’s a lot of fun.” During his travels, he advises women on a budget to focus on classic pieces, with a mix of trendy items, only when appropriate. “The most important thing is that the clothing fits well. You could spend $5,000 on a Prada suit, but if it doesn’t fit well, you still end up looking like a stuffed sausage,” he said.
Kelly is the self-proclaimed aficionado of fabulousness but he has a hard time coming up with a celebrity that also fits the bill. “I know nothing about celebrities,” he said. “I’m over 40 — I really don’t care what Britney Spears is doing. All these people have personalities that are constructed — we have no idea who these people really are.” OK, so what about Sarah Palin? “Oh, I can’t comment on politics. I mean she’s — oh, I just better shut up.”
— Amy Wicks