Five things I learned from Project Runway

Although I have increasingly less time for reality TV than I did this time last year, I still can’t miss Project Runway. It’s my Saturday morning nap, grab a cup of coffee guilty pleasure. Or, if Hub is at a football game or something, it’s the Friday night after bedtime, grab a glass of wine guilty pleasure.

Either way, a beverage if involved.

I love this show because the contestants have to rely so heavily on talent — real, honest to God talent — not pretty looks or hard abs. If you can’t sew, if you design something atrocious, you’re out. Sure, it’s subjective, but not American Idol subjective where a cute, sweet voiced teenage boy will always win because teenage girls have the time to dial a phone number 150 times every Tuesday.

I’ve learned so much from this show that can be applied to my life, but here are the top five:


1. I could design my own clothes

No, I really could. They make it look so easy. Now that I have Pinterest to search for easy patterns, the only thing that’s keeping me from stocking my closet with fashion forward clothing is that I don’t have a sewing machine.

And the ability to design something.

And I can’t sew.

Wait, maybe I can’t design my own clothes.

2. The words “Gather ‘Round” will never lead to something good

Every time Tim Gunn utters those two words, something bad is about to go down. Sometimes the designers are required to create a new outfit out of found items from a dumpster. Sometimes they have to trade in their models for a woman with – gasp! – a size D chest.  Those words are like a virtual wrench into design plans.

So at work, next time your boss says “let’s all meet in my office”? It’s probably not going to be good.

3. I’m not fashion forward

Some of stuff the designers come up with is super cute and wearable, but I’m too old and frumpy to wear about 98% of it. I’m either too short, too lumpy in the middle or too old. Or the top would cover half my nipple and nobody wants to see that. For a girl whose idea of fashion is throwing a belt around a cardigan, most of these designer’s clothes are way too over the top for me.

(That doesn’t mean I can’t dream about being able to rock one of those cute cocktail dresses.)

4. Everything looks better with a great pair of shoes

I love shoes. LOVE. My dream, right after starting  a gourmet sandwich shop, is to have a whole closet dedicated to high heeled shoes. (I have eclectic dreams.)

Tim Gunn always reminds the designers to make use of the Piperlime accessory wall, filled with gorgeous shoes, belts, bags and jewelry. I’m of the opinion that accessories are almost as important as the clothes themselves, which is why I buy basics and lots of fun earrings and shoes. This also explains my shoe closet dream.

5. Sometimes you just need to make it work

Tim Gunn’s famous catch phrase isn’t just for designers who have hit a wall — it applies to almost anything in life. Baby not napping? Pull everything out of your bag of tricks and then just let him play. Too many projects with looming deadlines and not enough time? Prioritize and get it done. Your blog is stalling and you don’t have money to hire a designer? Get creative with the resource you have.

Really, that’s what it’s all about — taking what you have and doing your best with it. There’s no use making excuses, or complaining about what you don’t have, because that’s energy you could be using to deal with whatever crap you’re dealing with. Use what you have and get it done. It’ll probably turn out better than you expected, and it’s going to make you feel so good in the long run.

Who says reality TV isn’t educational?

What’s the latest lesson you’ve learned from TV?

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