Love her or hate her, no one can quibble with Stanger's effectiveness in her role as the in-your-face yenta to clueless loaded men seeking long-term relationships.
We just get a little heartbroken every time she disses a pretty woman whom she's screening as potential date material. Grow your hair! Wear a skirt! I want high heels! Can't a girl who doesn't splurge on salon blowouts get a date?
We were concerned with matters of style -- not love -- when we booked a date with the exclusive matchmaker. We got Stanger, a former fashion executive, to explain some of her dating style rules and we also wanted some fashion scoop on her upcoming nuptials -- she's engaged to real estate executive Andy Friedman.
Stanger called us from Los Angeles, and in keeping with her television persona she talked to us on speaker phone from her car on the way to her next appointment.
StyleList: Congratulations on the happy news. Have you and Andy set a date?
Patti Stanger: Thank you very much! It will be sometime next year but nothing definite yet.
SL: Have you been dress shopping?
PS: I am going on Wednesday. I am excited, but also a little nervous for some reason. I want some pictures taken of me in the dresses so I can see how they might look in photographs. I worry about things like that.
SL: The show is about to begin its third season. What's the secret to its appeal?
PS: You know it's that we're not your typical reality show where it is just someone's boring life in your face. I am actually providing a service. I give real life advice. I am honest and tell it like it is. What I do works and I think there a lot of people who are confused by dating and finding a mate and they learn things from me. They watch because they get something out of it.
SL: Why are you so intent on telling people what to wear? Isn't chemistry what seals the deal?
PS: I am really big on appropriate dressing. I mean if you are going rock climbing or on a hike, by all means wear jeans and sneakers, I have no problem with that, but if the date is going to take place in a great restaurant you need to amp it up a bit. I tell the women I work with that they need to show off their assets. If you have great legs and great ta-tas I say pump it up. They need to wear clothes that show off their assets, not hide them.
SL: But can't that go too far? How do you know what's too little or too much?
PS: As a large-chested woman, I am really sensitive about that. I spent half my life trying to hide mine. I tell women not to show anything too directly. You leave something to the imagination, but a hint of cleavage is a nice thing. I was watching an episode of "The Bachelor" and some of those girls were really exposed. I am not talking about showing that much.
SL: I heard one of ['The Bachelor'] contestants complain that the other girls had "brought their ta-tas out to play."
PS: Those girls are silly to dress the way they do. If you lead with your ta-tas you are only going to get so far. There has to be something going on besides your chest to hold a man's attention. Some of these girls are wearing dresses that are cut right down to the nipple. I say where's the mystery? That's not the kind of showing off your assets I'm taking about. There is such a thing as sexy and discreet.
SL: You are always telling the women you counsel to "go get a blowout" Can't a girl have some curls or short hair?
PS: To a man, long, straight glossy hair is a luxury -- a luxury they can't buy themselves. They tell me it's sexy. I am just telling my clients what these men want. They see this kind of hair as very high class.
SL: When I met my husband I had a pixie.
PS: But is he a millionaire? I mean there are exceptions, certainly, there are some very attractive woman who can pull off short hair. I am thinking Ashley Judd, Halle Berry, If I had a girl who looked like that I would allow it. I am not against short hair. I wore my hair like Demi Moore in 'Ghost' back when it was a hit movie. But the majority of men I work with think long hair is sexy. So I have to give the ladies the best advice I can give them. That's grow it and blow it straight.
SL: You do a lot of style interventions with your millionaires. Where do you shop?
PS: On the show we go all over the place. It depends on the guy and what he needs and who will work with us on camera. I like Barneys for jeans, but they won't let us film there. I love Fred Segal and would love to take a guy there, but again, no cameras. This season we use Steve Alan. We also work with David Meister and Randolph Duke. I wear them.
SL: These are rich men who could have great clothes. Why do they need help?
PS: With the men, I need to pump it up. A lot of times I've got to get the geek out of them. For a mixer, I want them in a blazer. It doesn't have to be a suit and tie, but show me you care. I worked with a farmer this season. He got off the plane and he looked like a slob. He really needed a style transformation. I got him a great jacket, some shirts and pants. I think I let him wear his sneakers. You don't want to completely change them.
SL: But then are people really being authentic? Won't the slob eventually come out?
PS: The farmer fell in love with his clothes. I think he went back to Steven Alan and got a whole wardrobe. These guys just need a woman to tell them they could do better.
That's what happened with my Andy. He was a disaster when I met him. I told him to give me $5,000 to buy him clothes. And I got so lucky because I went out in January when everything was on sale and got him everything for 50% off. He was so impressed. Now he's a clothes whore. We were at the Thousand Oaks mall [in California] this weekend and I had to make him leave, he kept saying, 'One more store babe.'
SL: So where did he get your [4-carat] diamond ring?
PS: He [Andrew] designed it all himself and got the stone from Israel. He did a great job. See, I made him a shopper.
"The Millionaire Matchmaker" airs tonight (Jan. 19 ) at 10/9 C on Bravo.
For more reality fashion, check out the style of this season's "The Bachelor" star.