Carson Kressley, the Emmy-winning TV star and fashion savant, has spent the last decade transforming the thousands of men and women who are frequently frustrated by fashion. Through his many books, numerous television shows, and countless guest appearances (Oprah anyone!?), the former Queer Eye For the Straight Guy star has been the peppy, blond fairy godstylist (that we wish we could all have) to so many. This is why I was shocked to learn that his latest style guide, Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big?, is his very first book geared toward women. I know I can’t be the only one wondering what took him so long!? When I heard Carson was coming stopping by the Ridgewood Woman’s Club for a book signing and appearance, I knew this was my chance to chat with the super hilarious fashionista and ask him why it took so long for him to write this fabulous book for us ladies. We chatted about everything from who his personal fashion muse is, to his love for Teresa Giudice and Joe Gorga, and his friendship with Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi!
Carson, who started his career as an independent stylist with major designers like Ralph Lauren, says his newest book is a roadmap for all of us to build unshakable body and fashion confidence.
“I hadn’t really thought about doing a woman’s style guide, and almost everyday someone will stop me in like the grocery store or waiting for the train, and ask ‘What do you think? What should I do?'” he says. “It used to be ‘Will you do my husband?’ Finally I was like I need to put this all down in a book so I did.”
The 46-year-old Pennsylvania native tells me that it’s not just for a particular type of woman. This book is for anybody, young or old, to find the right pieces for them, and learn how to wear them with confidence.
“This book is not about saying you need to go out and buy this, and be this person. This book is a road map to help you find your personal style. There are great quizzes, and great resources for being a bargainista, and it’s really to help you navigate the landscape of fashion because it’s so vast.”
Carson covers everything from navigating the beauty counter, to where to score the best deals, and consigning your old clothes. He also teaches us what 25 pieces every woman should have in her closet, and how to create 40 chic combinations from them.
“If you have those 25 pieces, those are the basics, the classics. Jeans, white blouses, pea coat, trench coat. Invest in those because they are never going to go out of style and you want them to last,” Carson tells me. “Then have fun with the accessories from places like H&M and Zara, and consignment places. Accessories are like the salt and pepper to the universe, and they jazz it up and make it different.”
Carson also believes every woman should choose a fashion muse. His is Grace Kelly, but some modern day celebrity style stars he loves are Gigi Hadid because “she can wear anything,” Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Obama, Charlize Theron, and, Sharon Stone.
“If you’re a student of style and you get magazines, or you follow someone on Instagram, find someone whose style you really admire,” he says. “It could be a person that works at your favorite clothing store, it could be a favorite celebrity, or it could be someone in your family. And when you’re out there shopping, think like is this something Grace Kelly would wear. That’s what I do.”
Carson may hail from Allentown, but he certainly has some strong Jersey connections. He moved to Bergen County in 1991 for a year after graduating college, and told me during that time he practically lived at Garden State Plaza and Filene’s Basement in Paramus (RIP). Carson also shared with me a hilarious story abut his big move to the Garden State.
“I had a job in New York City, and I didn’t know where to live and I got the Star Ledger, and I saw a room for rent in a townhouse in Saddle Brook. And I was like that sounds great. I actually got confused. I thought it was Saddle River. I was like that’s really fancy, I think the Nixon’s live there, sign me up. So I get there and I’m like this is where every major highway in New Jersey converges. Like from my window I could see the Parkway, and the Turnpike, and Route 17. It was toll booths as far as the eyes could see.”
“I’m obsessed with Teresa Giudice. After prison, I’m like has she changed, is she hardened, is she softer? I really do get the vibe that she’s a fragile little bunny now and I’m just like oh my God, I feel so bad for you. I also like to watch because her brother is so freaking hot. I’ll watch him burn fish sticks all day long.”
In January you’ll be able to catch Carson on the newest season of Celebrity Apprentice alongside Florham Park’s Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, who he could not stop gushing about.
“Snooki is really fabulous. I adore her and outside of the show I got to hang out with her. My last encounter with Snooki was in LA at this famous nightclub called The Abbey, and she was crawling on top of the booth to try and get to the DJ, and a hand just reached out like you would grab a cat, and yanked her off and got her back to safety. I was like ‘Oh my God you almost died trying to put a request in.’ But she’s fabulous, very smart, sassy, has a great heart, she’s kind, and I love her.”
Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big? is available online and in stores now. Click below to see photos from the oh so fabulous event, which was held in conjunction with Bookends.