In the world of fashion and menswear, there are many people I admire, though very few people with whom I’d actually like to be friends. Tim Gunn is one of them. He’s smart, he’s honest and, by all accounts, exactly the same in real life as he is on television.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages

Of the many things I like and admire about Gunn, I’ve always appreciated how much he professes the virtue of shopping on a budget, which is particularly impressive coming from a guy who really doesn’t need to shop on a budget and could out-buy most men who want to project an air of prestige. In the conversation, which was recorded with him in New York and host Terry Gross at Fresh Air‘s home base in Philadelphia, he revealed that he was wearing a suit from SuitSupply, for which he probably spent in the neighborhood of $500.

And speaking of how he is in real life and how he is on television, this is a man who clearly approaches everyday life with a sense of occasion, both on and off camera. No sweatpants for Gunn, no matter how aggressively they’re being pushed by luxury labels today. Like me, he’s a proponent of the uniform, his being a perfectly tailored suit and tie. It enables him to look smart and get on with the real business of the day while looking effortlessly terrific.

On how he presents himself and why (on a budget)…

I am an individual who is always aware of how he’s presenting himself. I developed that awareness when I was teaching because I’m a role model and a mentor for my students. And I have to say that there is no population that is worse-dressed than academics. They are horrible… What message does this send to your students?

I really believe in shopping on a budget, and I don’t believe for a moment that that compromises how good you can look… The message I’m sending is ‘I have respect for myself, I have respect for you, I’m taking the world seriously, and let’s navigate the world with some style.

In the interview, I was also impressed with Gunn’s defense of animals, taking a firm stance against fur and expressing strong support of faux leathers.

Listen to the interview:

Follow Tim Gunn on Twitter: @TimGunn

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