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Oh, how we divas adore Clinton Kelly.

We strive to hit the perfect pitch of sweetness and snark that he dishes out as co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear. We watch hours of back-to-back episodes, conspiring to ugly up our wardrobes so he'll come rescue us with a $5,000 shopping spree.

Lucky us, he's bringing his wit and wisdom to local fans during two upcoming visits to area Macy's stores. Here's a preview chat with His Royal Fab-ness.

Got any cost-conscious tips for mixing this season's styles with last year's slacks and sweaters?

Ask yourself, "Do I need this to be an investment piece?" You have to look with an eye toward classics. Pencil skirts are popular right now. They've been popular for 40, 50 years. Nobody's going to think you're a freak if you wear a pencil skirt in 2009 or 2010.

That doesn't mean that you can't incorporate some trends into your wardrobe. The color purple is everywhere. And ruffles are everywhere and vests and plaids. Know that next season, a purple ruffle blouse worn with a vest is going to look very 2008.

How can women on Main Street pull off this season's 6-inch heels if the models in Milan were sliding in their sky-high Pradas?

They're not practical for a lot of women. (But) you can't just opt out either. There are small heels that are very comfortable to wear. Don't say, "I'm going to walk around town in my white Reebok high tops because they're comfortable." That's ridiculous.

What role should fashion play in the political dialogue?

Not much, quite frankly. Politics should definitely be about the issues.

Strictly speaking fashion, which aspiring first lady gets your vote?

Michelle Obama. I think she's chic and cool. She's doing it right.

Does every WNTW participant warmly embrace the opportunity, or has anyone ever told you to get lost?

We've only had three people out of 240 episodes that I've done say no. (Side note: A woman in San Francisco backed out on the advice of her therapist!)

Do you and co-host Stacy London hang out off-camera?

We're spending 60 hours a week practically in each other's laps. When they say cut, we go home to our own lives.

We do have a great work relationship. We have almost identical senses of humor and very, very similar senses of style.

Do you have any fashion regrets of your own?

In high school, I did have a pair of what I call triple threat jeans: pleated, acid washed and tapered. Not so cute.

Have you ever snuck out to the store in gym shorts or PJs?

Never pajamas. Very rarely I have run an errand in gym shorts. That's one of the hard things - well, there are many difficult things about being me - but one of the things is when I'm out in public people expect me to look perfect all the time, and they will call me out if I don't. (He mocks an annoying female voice) "That's what not to wear!"


If you go

Clinton Kelly will host two events at area Macy's stores. Catch him at 2 p.m. today at the Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel (all body types) or at 2 p.m. next Saturday at the Westfield Countryside mall in Clearwater (petites). For the latter show, call (727) 724-7307 to reserve a seat.