Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dirty girl

Author goes where most would rather not

Express Staff Writer

Yep, those legs hanging from the dryer belong to author Kim Castellano, who knows a lot about how our habits undermine our wardrobe. ”I also learned that going for a dryer run in your 20s after some schooners at Grumpy’s and doing a dryer run at the end of your 30s stone-cold sober do not feel the same the next day.”
Photo credit: Andy Castellano

    Listening to Kim Castellano talk passionately about gunky underpants feels like a “Seinfeld episode”. Here’s the gorgeous woman touching her armpits and talking about wearing a knicker sticker and using spit to spot clean on HuffPost Live, and even while you may feel a little urpy as you listen, someone has to say it, especially if that someone is coming with solutions to our ickiest tendencies.
    Castellano is a mostly Sun Valley resident, a former lawyer turned fashion malfunction expert and found of Fashion First Aid, a company with 35 clever products intended “to provide first aid for your most embarrassing and annoying beauty and fashion dilemmas.”
    She says she was tired of ruining her expensive white T-shirts with sweat stains and so created Garment Guard, the first disposable adhesive underarm shields. Partnered with Nordstrom, she has continued to grow the brand and now has a guidebook with samples and blogs on a website,, and recently was written up in Real Simple Magazine.
    She’ll be doing a book signing and release party for “The Dirty Side of Fashion” Friday, Dec. 13, at Cornerstone Bar and Grill from 5-7 p.m.
    In the spirit of dirty jobs made pretty through honesty and dedication, here is a little about the mavin of all things gross that cannot be prevented but can be defended from.

IME: Do you have a team of “dirty” detectives looking for grime-solving tips or do you do your own dirty work?
    I am one dirty girl.  Of course, my mom helped a lot while I was growing up, and people offer all kinds of strange and wonderful information, tips and folklore once they find out what I do (Fact: soda water is not as great as you think it is).

When did you know you were going to do something more inclusive than just a list of great tips? Your guide reminds me of my girls’ fashion cutout books. What inspired the direction?
    We have had “Tip of the Day” on our Fashion First Aid Facebook page for some time, and people have always requested them in some combined format. That seemed boring, and who uses page-a-day desk calendars anymore? If we were going to publish a list of tips, it had to be fun as well as useful.  Plus, I’m a visual person. I need color.  And stickers.

What is the draw for readers?
    I’m guessing that most people younger than baby boomers did not have home ec in school and really didn’t learn how to do laundry and take care of clothes. And these are generations that invest more than they should in luxury brands and expensive clothing. Plus, all those food trucks make for sloppy eating and extra stains. There really isn’t a resource out there that sums up how to take care and protect our fashion investments in a fun and interactive way until now.  So I’m hoping to be that resource. Plus, the dry cleaning stickers are really funny, IMHO.

Farts are almost always funny, lady crust is decidedly not. Did your lawyering help you navigate these delicate topics when pitching your ideas? Anything get left out?
    The lawyering was great for research skills as well as nitpicky proofreading skills. But I should have been a marine biologist instead, because I have no qualms diving in and dissecting anything, including delicate topics. I mean, someone somewhere has to talk about lady crust or teenagers everywhere are going to think something weird is happening to them. Yes, it is gross, but it is natural.

How are you promoting the book?
    A) I have a wonderful PR woman who is constantly pitching it to anyone who will listen.  B) We are promoting it on our company’s website,  Pretty soon, I might just C) walk up to people with stains on their clothes and ask if I can help. But I’m hoping A) and B) will work well enough so I don’t have to resort to plan C).

Is there a need for a book 2?
    Book 2 = shoes!

What will you be wearing for the holidays?
    I have an Anya Ponorovskaya open-back red silk dress (worn with my Low Expectations low-back bra converter) and a studded Herve Leger A-line bandage dress I’m dying to wear.

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