Archive for the ‘Constance’s Quickie Q&A’ Category

Never Shave Against the Grain: Q&A with Victor Macias, Founder of Male Standard

 

There is such a need among guys for practical male grooming and presentation advice, so when I heard about the online men’s magazine Male Standard I got in touch with Victor Macias, its founder, to talk….

 

  male standard victor macias

Constance: What was the personal spark that made you realize that Male Standard had to happen?

Victor Macias: Male Standard actually started while I was in college. I was passionate about business, but I also loved fashion and style. I tend to be an over dresser.

One day, I was searching online, trying to come up with a business idea. I decided to read some male discussion forums. What I saw really surprised me. Guys were asking questions about grooming. These were taboo-type questions that they wouldn’t dare ask each other face to face or to a woman.

They were asking questions like:

– Do women prefer men who are “fully” trimmed?
– Does this hairstyle look good on me?
– What skin care products do you use?

At that point, I decided to tackle these taboo topics in an edgy and humorous way. with the launch of Male Standard. As time passed, our website grew and we continued to expand. The underlying theme of all of our advice is to help men Aspire to Greatness.

 

Victor Macias, Founder of Male Standard

Victor Macias, Founder of Male Standard

 

Constance: Grooming is such a crucial pillar of a guy’s presentation. A man can wear a potato sack, but as long as his grooming is impeccable, he’s in good shape. A man can wear an exquisite suit, on the other hand, perfectly cut to his frame, but if his grooming is poor the whole effect is lost.

What is one of your most reliable, time-tested grooming rituals…and where did you learn it?

 

Victor Macias: My most reliable, time-testers grooming ritual is to always shave with the grain. Never, ever, shave against the grain. Doing so causes all sorts of issues like: acne, shave bumps and irritation.

I learned this tip from a master barber who sat me down and showed me the right way to shave.

 

grooming tips for guys

Guys, excellent grooming will get you everywhere…

 

Constance: Your favorite grooming product right now is…

Victor Macias: My favorite product hands-down is the Gillette Proglide Styler. It’s super compact, portable and very affordable. It also trims very well. It’s comparable to many high-end trimmers I’ve tried and is 1/3 the price.

 

Gillette Proglide Slider

Gillette Proglide Slider: Comparable to a high-end trimmer, costs about $20

 

Constance: What man, living or not, embodies the concept of the Gentleman the most?

Victor Macias: George Clooney embodies the concept of ‘gentleman’ to me the most. He’s classic, but always has a modern twist to his style. I also think that his personality embodies this concept. He’s suave but also likes to play practical jokes and have a good time. He doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not.

 

The Gentleman

 

 

 

 

Be Relaxed, Be You: Q&A with Critsey Rowe on Your Best Boudoir Photos

how to prepare for your boudoir shoot

 

Photographer Critsey Rowe has a way with women, making them look beautiful and sensual while wearing little. A boudoir photographer who has a ton of experience helping women present their most sensual, authentic selves to the camera—and has written a book about it, also—Critsey Rowe agreed to share some very Practical Glamour tips on how to prepare for your boudoir photo session, along with DIY tips on lighting and how a boudoir photo session can be the gift that keeps on giving—to you!

boudoir photography tips

Boudoir Photography by Critsey Rowe. Isn’t the cover beautiful?

Constance: What is an effective way(s) for a non-model to feel at ease in front of the camera, particularly when the photographs are of a boudoir variety?

Critsey Rowe: Every woman is usually nervous before their boudoir session. And honestly who wouldn’t be nervous posing in their skivvies. Even as a seasoned boudoir photographer when I had my very own session taken I was super nervous. Luckily for me I had a close friend snapping my pictures so I quickly became at ease.

My best advice would be to hire a photographer you feel comfortable with. Someone you feel you can chat with easily. Wear items you are confident in. There is nothing sexier then confidence. If you are a little unsure about a piece of lingerie you may not feel as confident so be sure to try on outfits prior to your session and be sure you love all the pieces you plan to take to your shoot.

Some clients like to have a glass of champagne or wine before their session, this is perfectly okay. Just be sure to limit to one glass. Bringing a close friend you feel comfy with can also ease your nerves. Your photographer will be there for encouragement and to cheer you on.

boudoir photography model tips

 

Constance: I like your lighting style, which illuminates your subjects while simultaneously making them look natural and real. Do you have an indoor or outdoor lighting tip that is gold, and might be something the non-pro can use to lend a natural luster to her or his subjects?

Critsey Rowe: I love all kinds of lighting so choosing one tip is so hard.

getting ready for your photo shoot

For someone that is just starting out or a non-pro photographer I would recommend shooting early in the day when you have the best natural light. Choose a location with big open windows that allow a lot of natural light to shine through.

Later in the afternoon could be great for dramatic lighting as the sun is lower and is more direct.

The biggest tip I can give however is to experiment with all kinds of light. So many photographers are afraid of trying off camera flash (OCF) or using stones but this is such a great way to control the light on your subject. You can make a setting that has very little available light look warm and inviting by using off camera lighting. If using OCF is still scary then using a constant light source such as a modeling lamp or a video light.

Bonus tip for anyone wanting to do great selfies: again this is best in the early morning light.

Find a nice spot where you are directly facing a window stand or sit two-three feet away and take your photo from there. Using alternate light sources in your home work well too. That lamp in the corner will do nicely too, take the shade off or direct it toward you.

Just be sure not to hold your camera in front of the direction of the light or it will cause a shadow on your face. Take a few practice shots until you find the light you love the most.

 

how to take boudoir photos tips model

Constance: I think we live in rather homogenous times, with much of the mass-produced images of “sexiness” all kind of looking the same.

Yet, every woman (man, too) has their own sensuality, and that is what makes them exciting and unique to others. How do you suss out a client’s personal sexy, then bring it alive on film?

Critsey Rowe: Ah! Good question because I love the uniqueness of every woman (and man too) and I truly wish for each person to discover and see their very own distinctive sensuality. I give my clients the freedom to be uninhibited and share a very intimate and personal side of themselves that is normally only shown to their partner.

This is why I think having a boudoir session can be a empowering experience for a woman. They see a side of themselves outside of their everyday setting and really get to see just how amazing they truly are. I say this a lot and it really is true: most women come to me for a boudoir shoot as a gift for their significant other, only to discover that in the end it was the biggest gift they could have given to themselves.

I am sure there are many ways to discover your own sensuality but I highly recommend having photos taken even if you just do a beauty session which is similar to boudoir but fully clothed. You are still posing in sexy sensual ways but you are showing less skin. This is for the shy or timid girl that just isn’t ready to bare it all. ♣

 

how to prepare for your boudoir photography session

Photographer Critsey Rowe

About Critsey Rowe: :
Critsey Rowe of Couture Boudoir® has been at the forefront of the growing Boudoir Photography genre for many years. She is the best selling author of Boudoir Photography — The Complete Guide To Shooting Intimate Portraits, available on Amazon and in bookstores.

Critsey teaches boudoir workshops and seminars across the nation and abroad. She has been a guest speaker about her Couture Boudoir® brand on The Wedding Planning Audiocast on iTunes, Guest speaker on MimikaTV, Convention speaker for DWF at Imaging USA, Convention speaker for WPPI’s Road Trip, speaker for Pictage Users Group and has been featured on The Perfect Pose and many other online resources.

Critsey’s work has been published in many popular magazines, including Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Today’s Bride, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, You and Your Wedding London, The Bride’s Book, Weddings Unveiled, The Knot, Carolina Bride and Queen City WeddingsShe has been a featured photographer on Platinum Weddings and several times on My Fair Wedding with David Tutera on the WE Channel, and featured in Popular Photography Magazine about her Couture Boudoir® brand.

 

For more of Critsey:
CoutureBoudoir.com
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

 

The Element of Surprise: Q&A with Michelle of Catching Couture

 

constance dunn michelle forsberg

Me and Michelle of Catching Couture at LA Fashion Week

I was at Los Angeles Fashion Week and kept seeing this glitterball dressed in creatively eye-catching and very pretty ensembles. I happened to meet her at the closing party for the LA Fashion Council Collections and I found out that she was not only very fashionable, and very sweet, but she has this very snazzy and helpful blog called Catching Couture that’s all about pulling together a high fashion look no matter your budget. This was clearly a woman I had to interview!

Constance: Now, you routinely raid the racks of Ross, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx for your fabulous finds. What are your two top tips for hunting high-end fashion at discount stores?

Catching Couture: Patience…patience is key. You can’t go there looking for a particular item—instead, you have to stop-in frequently (and with an open mind!) to browse.

It’s also important to know the market. High-end fashion tends to fly off the racks in high-end areas, so if I want to find some designer pieces marked down or on clearance, I go as far away as possible from, say, Beverly Hills. That is how I have had some great success finding $180 jeans marked down to $20!

 

catching-couture-lanvin-for-hm-one-shoulder-silk-dress-christian-louboutin-pigalle-2

courtesy of Catching Couture

 

Constance: Your “personal style brand” seems to be quite sophisticated and high style. Mine is more along the lines of easy, everyday glamour. But I’ve been wanting to perk up my look; add a touch of the au courant or a few couturesque notes without departing from my core style brand. Can you recommend a couple of strategies for achieving this?

Absolutely! There are several ways to easily boost your everyday glamour, but to me, it all comes down to details like the use of color, texture, and shine.

Color
Color can be as simple as applying a lipstick (which can instantly make you appear more “dressed up”) or choosing everyday flats that have a little pop of a bright hue (i.e. Cole Haan’s oxfords for men and women with colorful midsoles). I believe the element of surprise is one of the most important things that keep fashion interesting and fun.

Texture
Playing with textures (which is much easier during cold months when thick knits and fuzzy coats are abundant) also naturally catches the eye and keeps an outfit from looking… like a uniform. Whether it’s adding a shaggy coat to your winter wardrobe, or opting for a pullover with a rough/unfinished him, contrasting textures and materials can make even the most basic pieces look more high fashion.

Shine
A good piece of jewelry can transform any outfit. Both delicate chain bracelets and blingy statement necklaces can complete an outfit and make it look refined and polished. And to clarify, please don’t mistake the word “good” for “designer/expensive”—I get compliments almost every time I wear this one curb chain ring that was $1.80 from Forever 21!

 

wesc-track-pants-homepage

courtesy of Catching Couture

Constance: You and I chatted about the transformative effect of style and dressing well—and its power to uplift a mood and improve the way we relate to others, among other potent little life nuggets. What are some things that personal style does for you?

Style, like sports, concerts, or book clubs, brings like-minded individuals together. As a naturally introverted person, my personal style (and how others react to it) has greatly enhanced my confidence and made me more comfortable interacting with others. In a nutshell, conjuring up new looks for myself in creative ways has proven to be an exciting and rewarding experience.

Catch more Michelle at catchingcouture.com

 

Because Conversation is Fun, But Fistfights Are Not…Keeping It Cool at the Table

Follow these table conversation guidelines when it comes to discussing politics and you won't wish you were dining here

Follow these table conversation guidelines when it comes to discussing politics or you’ll wish it were here you are dining

 

Q. Shouldn’t I be free to express my political beliefs at the table with family and relatives?

A. One should be free to express their political beliefs with their relatives and, particularly if you are politically engaged, you might find it impossible not to. Religion and politics are lumped together precisely because, in addition to involving deeply held personal beliefs, they reveal to others who you are right now.

And it’s hard to have a tight relationship with someone who doesn’t know what you think, feel or believe!

The cost of engaging in what is called “cross-cutting political communication” at the dinner table, though, comes with the high probability of egging on conflict and making others uncomfortable in a setting designed for people to come together and enjoy each other’s company.

Japanese friends have introduced me to a great saying, “TPO,” which stands for “time, place and occasion.” This serves as a great social compass, a consciousness of one’s environment that is the soul of etiquette—which is the practice of positive regard for the places you go and the people you encounter.

Q. How do you keep yourself from joining the fracas when you hear something that arouses your political buttons?

A. Remembering my role and goal can keep me from jumping in the fray. Host duties come with the responsibility of being a referee, if not the outright peacemaker, in the interest of captaining an enjoyable event. And being a guest means bringing positivity, or at the very least, not bringing conflict to a party.

This doesn’t mean that you are agreeing or endorsing opposing political views, either, it means you are choosing a higher goal at the moment. The success of the saying, “We’ll have to agree to disagree,” has to do with the fact that it acknowledges that differences do exist while simultaneously conceding to bury the hatchet, at least for the moment.

Though you might not always be successful in keeping the environment as smooth as vermouth, you will have no regrets for having tried. By joining in, not matter how justified or right it might feel at the time, I am simply adding more noise to the conflict. I’m sorry to say I’ve been there, and it never felt good afterward.

Q. What do I do when I’m the odd man out at a table of people who share the same political identity—and my party or candidate is the verbal piñata?

A. If silence in this situation is, for you, suffering then I recommend you suffer no more. You have options, such as politely asking that the subject be changed or even making a joke, perhaps something along the lines of, “Well, I am happy to see diversity is alive and well in our family” or “I see the apple has fallen far from the tree. Okay, it’s in a different orchard.”

If the hint is not taken, and the bashing persists, along with the rise of your inner ire, you can restate your request that the subject be changed or suggest that another time might be more appropriate for the discussion. If you feel the situation is becoming one of harassment or even verbal abuse, you are well within your rights to excuse yourself or leave the situation altogether.

 

political fights at the dinner table

Q. What option do I have if I’m a guest and the host wants to have a spirited political debate at the table?

A. Spirited political debates among folks holding opposing political ideologies are about as common as seeing the Easter Bunny moonwalk down Seventh Avenue. I am thinking you’re referring to those saucy table debates that have little chance of blooming into full-scale fighting words because they occur among those who share political premises, such as collectivism or individualism, but differ on aspects of similar policies or support candidates from the same party.

Assuming that politics does not bore you to spinnakers, there is usually no harm in such debates, because the probability of negative conflict is low. If, on the other hand, your host is fond of seeing his friends brawl, then I suggest a reassessment of the relationship and pressing pause on the acceptance of further invitations.

If you happen to be caught on the sidelines, a silent bystander of a debate that has gone from spirited to mean-spirited, you have the option of excusing yourself from the table. Hopefully by the time you return, the topic will have become more palatable and the room full of good cheer.

An emergency measure remarkably effective at achieving verbal cease-fires is to firmly remind everyone at the table that you care about them more than you will ever care about any politician.

 

 

Non-Peaceful Eating and Being a Non-Entity: Q&A with Stacey Morris

My eye caught the images, Before and After. It was Stacy Morris, a woman who battled a demon that had been hanging on her for many years. In 2009, she weighed 345 pounds (25 stone). Now, she doesn’t. She credits a mix of intensive inner work and a fitness system by Diamond Dallas Page as the two major factors that changed everything.

 

stacy morris_diet tips_1

 

Her story is fascinating—optimistic and motivating, too.

As a woman who has experienced life “from both sides now” in terms of size, Stacy Morris was someone I wanted to talk to. She graciously agreed to a Practical Glamour Q&A. Read on…

Q. I understand that you dropped 180 pounds in just under 2 years, and continue to keep the weight off. What is your top tip for handling cravings?

Stacey Morris: From all my years of dieting and falling off the wagon, I realized that it’s just not realistic to ignore cravings and hope they will go away.

I can usually tell when a craving is biological and my body’s asking for something specific or if it’s a psychological craving and I just want to eat something for a little enjoyment. I’ve learned that it’s not only OK to give myself enjoyment, it’s crucial for long-term success.

Being too strict and denying myself only backfires. So the trick is to make sure I really want a treat, then eat it with awareness and not rush through the experience. This is an entirely different experience from eating as a reaction to stress or boredom. I tell clients it’s a learning curve but if you’re patient, you can teach yourself the difference.

stacey morris diet fitness tips

Out & About Glamour 

Q. How can a person understand when they are engaging in emotional eating?

Stacey Morris:The best way to describe it is a feeling of non-peacefulness.

A sudden, imperative urge to eat, especially an old binge-food that’s not very nutritious, is my first clue. I’m actually grateful when this happens because it’s important information. It means there’s stress to deal with constructively, or an emotion that needs tending to. That is my first course of action.

It’s part of how I live a more aware and honest life now. It took me decades to finally make the connection, but eating over a problem will not solve it. The distraction emotional eating provides is fleeting. And the problem only gets compounded with the excess weight and feeling of ‘yuck’ from being overstuffed. I’d much rather wade through the uncomfortable emotions and face the issue.

I’m hardly a monk, though, when it comes to emotional eating. Sometimes I allow myself an emotional release through food…but with a makeover of a former binge food, i.e., a gluten-free cupcake, rice crackers and a favorite dip, etc. But, I make sure to eat this with awareness, reminding myself it’s a treat, and quantity indeed matters. I eat till I feel satisfied, not stuffed. That’s key.

"Because all the skinny in the world won’t help if you’re not feeling good about yourself from the inside out."~Stacey Morris

“Because all the skinny in the world won’t help if you’re not feeling good about yourself from the inside out.”~Stacey Morris

Q. Going out, engaging in the world and meeting new people. How are these things different for you now?

Stacey Morris: Oh, it’s SO different! Not having to worry about fitting into chairs has been a tremendous burden lifted. My size actually curtailed me from going to movies and plays, as well as traveling on trains and airplanes…it became too embarrassing.

I also love getting dressed in the morning, though it now takes me a little longer because I have a bigger wardrobe to choose from! And I wear colors and patterns of all kind now. Before it was black head-to-toe every single day. Kind of a drag.

Also, in general, people notice me more and make direct eye contact. It’s not really right or fair, but people of size tend to be treated as non-entities. Overall, life is more fun because I have the physical litheness and freedom that I always wanted but thought was forever out of my reach. I’m dedicating the rest of my life to letting others in my situation know there are indeed solutions. There is no magic, only an honest commitment to yourself. ☼

To connect with Stacey Morris…

 

 

Standing Out, Softly — Q&A With Terrence Davidson, The Wig Master

 

terrence davidson wigs

Terrence Davidson, Stylist and Wig Master

 

Terrence Davidson, aka The Wig Master, is a famed wig and celebrity hairstylist whose client roster includes glamour girls such as Jennifer Hudson, Tyra Banks, Nicki Minaj, Mary J Blige and Iman.

What strikes me as very Practical Glamour about his work is how he creates these edgy and eye-popping looks fit for the stage, then goes ahead and creates very feminine, sensual looks that any woman would feel comfortable sporting in everyday life.

I had the opportunity to ask Terrence for tips on keeping that weave real and selecting your best hair shade:

tyra banks wig tips

Q. What is the biggest mistake a gal can make when it comes to maintaining her weave?

Terrence Davidson: The biggest mistake a girl can make when maintaining her weave would be to put too much product in the weave as far as oil or hair sprays!

It makes the hair very very heavy and oily which will cause curls to not hold and look greasy.

Q. Your new hair extension line is called Just My Color.

Speaking of the importance of color, what tip do you have for a lady when it comes to selecting the best shade for her unique eye and skin color?

Terrence Davidson: My idea on a lady chosing the right color for her skin and eyes would be to first make sure the color they chose will always soften them up and still bring out the natural undertone in the skin.

Most people have a yellow and or red undertone to their complexion, so I identity either (black, browns and reds or blondes, auburns and strawberry reds). Most people with a yellow undertone look best with black and or deep brown colors, and people with red undertones look best with blondes and reds.

 


Terrence Davidson, The Wig Master

 Terrence Davidson, The Wig Master, Specializes in Melding Edge with Ease. Very Practical Glamour!

Q. Stylistically, I think it can be hard to meld natural allure and edge, but you do an excellent job of it. Your beauty gallery is filled with images of hair styles that are dramatic yet Earth-bound and feminine at the same time. What inspires your vision when it comes to styling a woman?

Terrence Davidson: Usually what inspires my vision when working with a woman would be to look at their skin tone and also their day-to-day life because that too will help me decide on the hair creation and color fit for their lifestyle! But I do try to make my clients stand out but still maintain a soft femininity in the hair.

See more of Terrence Davidson’s work or visit Just My Color.

 

Q & A: What You Need to Know Before Buying Shapewear

shapewear tips Any woman—some men, too—who I talk with about style will eventually hear about my love of shapewear.

To me, the stuff is like physical alchemy, where you can enhance your favorite attributes and smudge out those that you’re not too fond of at the moment.

Even if you’ve got an A-1 figure and wouldn’t change a patch of flesh, why not make it even more scrumptious? It’s like not wearing mascara because your lashes are already so long and lush!

Online shapewear shop Hourglass Angel is like a one-stop shop for body morphing: waist cinchers, corsets, body shapers, booty plumpers, leggings that tighten and smooth—you name it and they have it.

I spoke with Ruben Soto from the company who gave me some great advice on how to properly select the best shapewear for your body, plus pointed out some extra benefits that I was not aware of. Read on.

Q. What is your top shopping tip for the gal who is new to shapewear?

hourglass angel review

A. Shapewear can sometimes be a difficult garment to find. I think it is really important to consider all of the options out there to be able to find the perfect garment, specifically for you.

 

Which is why I would suggest to consider the following when looking for shapewear:

  • What are the areas that you would like to target?
  • Would you like a garment that is going to target more than one area, or to specifically target one body part?
  • What amount of compression are you most comfortable with?
  • What benefits are you seeking to take from shapewear?

Overall, I would suggest getting something that you find yourself being able to wear as suggested. I find myself suggesting to my clients to think long term, and to not restrict themselves with something that they do not see being able to wear for months.

Lastly, make sure to get a garment that fits well, most size charts are composed to produce the desired results according to fit.

Note that wearing shapewear garments that are way too small for your size can be counterproductive. Instead of helping you get in shape, it might create additional rolls and bulges on your form. The garment should fit comfortably conturing your curves.

If more compression is something that you are interested in, I would recommend looking for a garment with a stronge enhancement level control, rather than sizing down.

 

almia mighty

The Almighty Vest by AMIA

Q. How can a shopper differentiate quality shapewear from the not-so good? In terms of craftsmanship, what are some things we should look out for?

A. The things that I look for when expanding our collection is a garment that is made of a rich material.

By rich material I mean something that is constructed to last, which can be seen in the durability and versatility of the garment. You will see the quality of the garment in its details.

The details that I find most important in a garment are if it is convenient to wear, and its adaptability as you begin to size down.

Q. What is a top-selling item at Hourglass Angel? What do you think makes its so popular?

A. One of the many best selling garments that I would suggest to anyone interested in purchasing shapewear would be the AMIA Almighty Vest.

What is great about this garment is that is sculpts inches from your midsection, as it increases thermal activity in your core and supports long-term slimming. What makes this garment so popular is its effectiveness, and at the same time it is very comfortable to wear.

Best of all is that the garment not only slims you, but reduces back pain by giving your back support.

Q. Off beat style idea: Several of my all-time favorite swimsuits and exercise leggings have actually come from the shapewear department. What do you think of this idea?

A. I am thrilled to hear that you have taken shapewear to the next level, by adding it to your workout routine. E-HealthyDirectory.net conducted research that showed that women who wear a tight girdle-like garment while walking in a treadmill burn more calories than they normally would without wearing it.

In addition to its greater calorie burning capacities, other health benefits that shapewear offers is the improvement of posture and toning of abdominal muscle. We like to promote a healthy diet, and exercise in addition wearing shapewear to increase weight loss. It’s kind of a packaged deal that way!

Busting out my evening jog in a pair of shapewear leggings. They last forever and keep things nicely in place when you're bouncing around...

Busting out my evening jog in a pair of shapewear leggings. They last forever and keep things nicely in place when you’re bouncing around…

 

Q & A: Lots of Clothes, Nothing to Wear

neat closet

Visualize a small, concise collection

Q. Constance, I have a different problem. A large closet…lots of clothes but nothing to wear. And I don’t like to part with things. I have started a get rid of box, consignment, good will, yet the closet is still full. Might need to add I have range of sizes due to my weight fluctuating. Maybe others have my same issue, would love to hear some advice. Although I am certain I know what I should do…lol. Hope all is well with you. Nicole R.

A. I suspect your Get Rid of Box is not full enough! And your fine, non-wasteful blood is not helping things.

A successful closet overhaul always begins in the mind.

The bulk of your existing clothes do you no favors when it comes to you getting out the door each day in a timely manner, and looking your best. That is because they no longer represent who you are today. They are castoffs, leftovers from another time in your life. And if you come across any item that shows it, whether you see faded dye or pilled fabrics or misshapen silhouettes, out they go. I had a hoot not long ago getting rid of a pair of white, sky-high platforms and matching white leather miniskirt, among other dinosaur garb.

Some of us have tendency to hang on to the past, and when we do this we are not treating ourselves quite kindly. Your collection of clothes should be concise and on-point to who you are today. It doesn’t matter if your budget is endless or strict, either.

Back to the mind. A lovely lady wears lovely things. This means you. Once you have accepted this, each of your items should be examined with respect to the 3Cs – Cut, Color, Characteristic. If a piece does not pass all three of these criterion, into the box it goes. Be ruthless.

Pretend you are doing it for someone else, and play Bitchy Personal Shopper if you must, where you imagine you are throwing away closet castoffs for a particularly discriminating client, who happens to look just like you!

Best of luck. And I want pictures!

If you’re in the mood for more closet-cleanout talk, read thisthis and this. Or watch this.

 

A Conversation With Marie Young, Founder of GoodLooknOut

good look in out

Constance Dunn: I enjoy your site, GoodLooknOut, because it’s filled with a lot of smart content on the 360 of looking and feeling fine. You put out information that a woman can read and immediately put to good – and glamorous – use.

I think, these days, when people say they are “keeping it real” or “just being honest” they use it as a crutch or justification to be crude, coarse or just mean. The increasing number of women and girls who do things like post porno-like snaps of themselves online, or attack other women, is a sign that not all is well with the sisterhood.

Q. What advice do you have for young ladies who want to be themselves, and don’t want to swim with the status quo that increasingly equates personal authenticity with being undignified?

Marie Young: My advice would be to get to really know yourself as thoroughly as possible.

I equate doing so to the intense personal relationship you would share with your supreme higher being. You get into that deeply quiet space where you can be intimate and connect with this higher power to build on the personal relationship you share with this higher being. Well, you have to do the exact same thing with yourself. Be intimate with your self, connect and learn who you really are and what image you want to portray to the world.

Q. Okay, some practical glamour questions. You’ve been sporting natural hair for over one year. What is your top natural hair tip?

Marie Young: My top natural hair tip would be treat your hair as good as you want it to look. This means getting your trims, proper moisture and choosing wisely what products you put in your hair.

Q. And a dressing tip for glamorous and curvy ladies everywhere?

Marie Young: Get to know your body and learn what works best for your shape. If you have a big ‘booty’, own it, yet style appropriately. Meaning not too tight and try to create balance by taking away from your gluteus asset.

I steer clear of buying any jeans with embellishments and every now and then I throw on some heels to accentuate my curves!


simona marie young

A Globe-Trotting Gal on MacGyver Glamour: Q&A with Kimberly Fisher

Kimberly Fisher is an entrepreneur and writer whose ventures, like Jetsetera, tend to have two things in common: travel and glamour. Since, more and more, these concepts seem hard to reconcile (I’m thinking of air travel, for instance, which often feels like the glamour level of journeying on a packed city bus in the middle of July) I asked Ms. Fisher for some tips on looking and feeling calm and attractive while traveling.

You’re a woman who wears many hats and often travels to stylish and luxurious places. There are many rewards that come with looking good, or reasonably put together while traveling. What is the top reason that you like to look lovely while on the road?

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The glamorous Kimberly Fisher on traveling beautifully

I think if you look good, you also feel good. If you feel good, others around you tend to feel good also. I try to keep things classic and simplistic. You will usually find me in neutral colors, classic bags and with articles that travel well.

Can you give us your most MacGyver Moment in terms of having to pull together some seriously practical glamour while traveling?

I tend to stick to the basics of my beauty routine and once in awhile I tend to forget to pack…a lot of things. While we were in the Philippines we had to attend a black-tie function and actually sent the hotel concierge out to buy us dresses. Needless to say, we looked like the hired wait staff.

You have great skin, which can be hard to maintain while traveling, particularly to a sunny or tropical locale. Do you have a non-sunscreen tip on how to save your skin and still enjoy the outdoors?

I love the sun and getting doses of Vitamin D. I tend to get a facial once a month to do away with the stress of traveling and different environments.

What is the one item (clothing or accessory) that you currently find indispensable to your personal glamour quotient–but is also totally practical?

A Bvlgari pink scarf. It does a lot of double duty as a scarf, shawl, pillow, blanket, etc. and adds just the right amount of color.

There are women and men who wouldn’t dream of traveling, or even going out to dinner, by themselves. I have the feeling that this is not a problem for you. What tip do you have that might increase the ease and public comfort of a person who is unaccustomed to traveling or going out alone in public?

I spend all of my time in the presence of others- at work, events, trade shows,etc. I absolutely welcome alone time. Sometimes I do end up traveling alone and love exploring new places by myself. The easiest thing to do to increase your own comfort level if you are unaccustomed to traveling alone is have dinner at the bar. The bartender is usually friendly and nearby, plus it opens you up to meeting other people.

Connect with Kimberly on Twitter: @kimberlyfisher1

 

Easy Male Style Tips: Q&A with Hayden the Entrepreneur

A few years ago, Hayden was doing what millions of other twenty-something Millennials are doing: Scraping by on a series of minimum wage jobs and wanting more.

With no shop or office space, he learned how to fix iPhones and started making house calls, ending up at construction sites and doctors’ offices where he’d fix customers’ phones on the fly while they kept working.

With an innate entrepreneurial fire stoked, Hayden continued to grow his business (myibroke.com), which led him to start another business centered on websites and online marketing.

The confidence of achievement, particularly one that’s on your own terms, has a certain affect on a man or woman. A good one.

Dawes, who previously felt the nerves while in plush, traditional office quarters, has altered little of his personal style in the face of his growing success. It’s a brand of uncontrived hipness telegraphed with a steady gaze, polished, mostly denim ensembles, and unhurried speaking style tinged with pure Virginian, despite his time in South Florida.

So I grilled him for some tips on how to keep one’s personal presentation its most authentic and attractive no matter what rung you might be on your personal success ladder.

In his earliest days: “It was nerve wracking. I had never worked in any kind of setting as a professional. I did not have nice dress clothes. I was showing up at big, baller executive suites. They would be standing over my shoulder watching me do something I had done for, maybe, the third time in my life.”

“I don’t feel uncomfortable around ‘professionals’ anymore. I don’t look like your typical business executive. I have a beard and a laidback wardrobe. In the past I felt uncomfortable but now I’m okay with this because it’s working for me.”

His ‘work uniform’: “A collared shirt and denims. A collared shirt projects professionalism.”

Dressing up: “I’ll add a seersucker suit jacket over a collared shirt if I feel like peacocking. I love seersucker.”

Favorite jeans: “Levi red tag, button-fly 501s. Original cut.”

Beard maintenance: “People think beards are this low-maintenance look. Actually, you have to take care of your beard. They are high-maintenance. I use Pantene Pro-V Brunette Expressions to shampoo it, and Herbal Essence conditioner.”

On cultivating individual style: “When people try to look hip they often end up looking weird. Don’t go out and buy jeans that look worn. Buy a pair of jeans and wear them.”

Shopping tips: “Flea markets, consignment and thrift shops. I like clothes that have a classic or older-era look to them, so these are good places for me. Even if you have the cash for it, a man doesn’t need to spend a ton of cash to have great clothes. I recently scored an Oscar de la Renta sport jacket at a thrift shop that fits me perfectly.”

Motivation tip: “Take $300 dollars out of your account, put it in your wallet–and leave it there. It will motivate you and you will carry yourself differently.”

The best part of success so far….“Not living for other people. Not living in fear.”

 

 

Looking Cool In Hot Weather, Being Yourself And Albedo! Q&A with Meteorologist AJ Colby

Who is AJ Colby? Why, he’s the on-air meteorologist for FOX 8 in Cleveland, Ohio, and someone who knows something about the weather and personal presentation. I recently got to ask Mr. Colby some questions about the sun, looking nice in the heat and staying cool when the cameras are a-rolling.

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Meteorologist AJ Colby

The sun can be really detrimental to one’s skin, so I always advise men and women to be sunscreen addicts, and apply the stuff daily. Is there any truth to the rumor that you don’t need to wear sunscreen on overcast days or during the winter? 

There is no such thing as a “sunless day”. UVA and UVB rays still penetrate clouds and can damage the skin. On cloudy days, although you may not burn as quickly per se, applying the sunscreen anyway would be a good idea if your aim is to prevent skin aging! The sun, not time, is our skin’s greatest adversary. While time causes chronological aging, the sun causes “photo-aging”.

In the winter, especially over a snow-packed surface, the high reflection properties of the snow (also know as “albedo”) can absolutely lead to a sunburn. Just ask any avid winter-weather enthusiast what happens if they “play outside” on a sunny day over a fresh snowpack. Sunscreen is essential anytime you’re outside during the day, especially between 10 am and 3 pm. This is when the sun’s energy is at its strongest here on earth.

What is a good weather style tip for men when it comes to looking collected and put-together in hot or humid weather? 

There’s nothing more annoying than sweating like a pig on a hot, humid, sunny summer day, especially prevalent during the “Dog Days” of summer! That’s the period from July through early August where heat and humidity are at their peak across the United States. Honestly, I use a highly effective product called “Certain Dry” antiperspirant. I would start there, especially if you’re a sweat-aholic like me!

In terms of fashion, if you don’t want those “pit stains” which can be rather unattractive, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing! Cotton is usually the best, but ironing is no fun for many, so a cotton-poly blend of some kind would be a good runner-up. I like wearing shorts, but I have several friends who do not, so a good pair of Dockers always wears well in sizzling summer heat.

If you stick to light colors, it helps to REFLECT solar energy instead of dark colors, especially black, which actually ABSORB the energy…causing you to cook. That’s no fun.

You’re in front of television cameras daily, and your fans point to your down-to-earth delivery as something they really like about you. What is a good tip for staying relaxed and natural in front of the camera or when talking in front of an audience?  

There’s little question that live TV can cause you to “tense up” a little. Frankly, I have a tougher time with live and in-person audiences because at least I can PRETEND that no one is watching and that takes some of the pressure off.

When I do public appearances, I usually like to bring a big bottle of cold water. That helps to hydrate the vocal chords, not to mention hydrating the body. I sweat so much when I get nervous, so I try to meditate and pray before the event if I have time. I noticed that helps.

Trying to keep my energy level fairly constant and trying to relax while speaking is a wonderful tip. Knowing your material certainly helps. I always try to ask the organizer about the “lay of the land” if I can, so that I can get a better idea of what to expect in the room. Also, I try to know my audience (with whom I’ll be speaking). Anything I can do to alleviate some of the pressure. In my experience, the very BEST thing to do when talking in front of an audience is try to BE MYSELF! There’s nothing more liberating than that. I strive for that everyday.

More of Mr. Colby can be found at AJ Colby.com

 

Q&A with Model Tara Brooke: Beautiful Ambition & Turning Around a Rotten Day

Ms. Tara Brooke recently penned Beautiful Ambitiona feel-good book of life shortcuts on topics like men, money and health culled from her life and work experiences, with input on using visualization and managing your moods and mindset.

Since self-knowledge, positivity and smart life management are the foundations, really, of person’s glamour, I thought I’d get Ms. Brooke’s input on a few things.

tara-brooke-beautiful-ambition

Your book, Beautiful Ambition, has a section dealing with decisions. What is one of your favorite “power tricks” to making a good one?

It sounds cliché but I have learned that usually my first instinct on something is correct. I always ask myself why do I want this and try to figure out if I am making a decision based on what’s best for me or am I making it on something I want.

There is a huge difference and learning what makes it different is critical. Once you begin to understand yourself more clearly you can trust your inner gut feelings and they normally are right on!

When sad, angry or depressed it’s not easy for a woman or man to exude their personal glamour–that unique “radiance of being” found in each person. As someone who specializes in positive advice for women, what is one of your favorite, on-the-spot strategies for turning around a rotten mood?

The first thing I always do when I am having a bad day or something is upsetting me is I try to change my feelings. First you have to allow yourself to be upset but keep it short, the best way to do that is to be thankful and start counting your blessings. We all will have challenging days, period, but we also have many things to be thankful for. I have found that when I decide to have a heart of gratitude then my feelings change very quickly!

Tara Brooke’s site is http://tarabrooke.com/

Q&A with Jon Gordon: Gratitude is Glamorous

Jon Gordon is an author, consultant and speaker who does some very good work, helping individuals and organizations become more positive and productive. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions on how one can extinguish the unbecoming and not glamorous habit of complaining. (I am not immune.)

Here I ask some questions, and he offers some succinct, to the point solutions:

One of your many books, The No Complaining Rule, deals with ways that readers can “battle against individual and organizational negativity.” I’ve noticed that incessant complaining, the type that comes off like a lifestyle rather than a sometimes airing of grievances, doesn’t seem to serve the complainer on any psychological level, nor does it present that person in their most attractive light to others.

There is something magnetic, ebullient even, about a positive person, so leading a complaining “lifestyle” can really hurt a guy or girl when it comes to the quality of his or her social, professional and romantic life. What is one of your favorite, most useful strategies when it comes to helping a man or woman wean themselves from a complaining habit or “lifestyle”?

JG: My favorite strategy is the “get to” instead of “have to” technique. Instead of focusing on what you have to do focus on what you get to do. When you change have to to get to you change a complaining voice into an appreciative heart.

Much of your work seems to focus on how people and organizations can be more productive and fulfilled as a result of positive energy. To what extent do you think positive energy can be instilled in an individual? Do you think some people are “born with it” while, for others, it must be consciously cultivated?

JG: Yes some people are born naturally more positive. Research shows this. But the research also shows that we can become more positive by cultivating it.

Okay, personal trivia time. Is there anything in particular that gives Jon Gordon a lift in those moments when your cup of positive energy does not feel as full as usual?

JG: Yes. A Thank You walk. While I’m walking I practice gratitude and pray. Instead of worrying I let go and let God energize me.

 

Jon Gordon’s website is jongordon.com.

Q&A with Style Author Richard Torregrossa: The New Gentleman

richard torregrossa

Richard Torregrossa is a notable journalist and author of many books, one of which is the lovely Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style. He is also a soulmate of sorts, having been writing and speaking about the transformative effect of style for many moons.

Therefore, let’s just say I was more than a little pleased to have the opportunity to interview Mr. Torregrossa on the state of style and man.

The biography you wrote about the style evolution of Cary Grant focuses on how Grant self-optimized himself, how he clearly and consciously articulated what and who he was to the world via his presentation. What is the most important thing that a man, one who is just starting to think about his presentation in these terms, can do to become more aware about the state of his presentation?

Experiment with upgrading. And I’m not talking about spending a lot of money on designer clothes. For instance, switch from a sweatshirt or hoodie to a sports jacket and observe the reaction from others. I did. And it surprised me. I was going to a barbecue, a very informal event, and put on a sports jacket over a plain white V-neck T-shirt purely for utilitarian purposes. A sports jacket to me is like a briefcase. It cleanly holds my keys, cell phone, wallet, and other paraphernalia without any unsightly bulges like the kind you find when you stuff your pants pockets. As I stepped out of the house I ran into a neighbor who said, “Hey, Rich, where you going all dressed up?”

All dressed up? All I did was put on a sports jacket. I mean, I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. But the sports jacket clearly made a transformative impression and it surprised me. I learned something that day. The slightest upgrade in your wardrobe and personal appearance will be noticed for the better.

Another suggestion is to find a style (or style icon) you like and try to emulate it but not slavishly. Add personal touches to make it your own.

I laud the many benefits of presenting one’s most attractive and authentic self to the world, and on an everyday basis. As a gal I know that the benefits of a lovely presentation are rich, with some of them unique to the female experience, such as the desire to feel beautiful. What benefits of enhancing or optimizing one’s presentation do you think are rather unique or specific to being a man?

Confidence. Being well dressed, especially on bad days, can boost your mood, make you feel your mettle, and psychologically enable you to feel just a bit more prepared to take on the world. Also, it is, at least for me, an exercise in discipline. And the more discipline we have, the greater our chances of success in our personal as well as our business relationships.

Are these unique to men? Probably not. Women know these benefits and get the most out of them. Men just need to catch up.

Lastly, in a piece you wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle you coined the phrase The New Gentleman to denote a “fresh approach to style” for men. Circa 2011, what is the state of The New Gentleman? How do you characterize this concept today, and do you think men in general are moving closer to it, or further away?

Richard Torregrossa There’s a huge polarity. There are guys who are keenly interested in menswear who have mastered all the details such as stitching and fabric and cut and pairing it all with the right accessories. They also experiment with different pieces from different eras in an effort to create a unique style, a presentation that is comfortable, fashionable, and at the same time expresses something about them, a point of view, as it were.

Then you have the other extreme; the Hipster look, for instance. These are guys who think they look smart but are laughable in my estimation. Unmanly even. The most execrable ensemble in sartorial history is cargo pants with a T-shirt and flip flops. Yet, sadly, it is ubiquitous. The reason for its popularity is the comfort factor, a kind of spiritual laziness. And it should be banned along with the three-day growth of beard that to me just looks ratty and unkempt, another sign of sloth and a kind of faux hipness. Follow the pack and you end up looking beastly.

And it’s not fully the guy’s fault. Why aren’t women making them tow the sartorial line? I see couples out and about all the time exhibiting an odd disparity: the woman is beautifully groomed and attired while the guy looks like he just came from a Home Depot workshop. Why is this? Why don’t women put their foot down, demand that their boyfriend or husband show some respect for the event, for the evening, for the romance of going out by insisting that they dress better?

The smarter men are moving towards The New Gentleman way of being for a number of reasons. First, dressing well gives you a competitive edge, especially in this dour economy. It sends a subliminal message to bosses, HR people, and colleagues with whom you network that you’re pulled together, even though you might not be setting the world on fire just yet.

Second, it’s fun. The New Gentlemen are in on this little secret. They know the delight in finding just the right suit, vintage garment, pocket handkerchief, or casual ensemble that makes them stand a little taller, walk a little prouder, and enriches their sense of aesthetic pleasure. And when one New Gentleman encounters another New Gentleman there is an instant bond, a mutual respect that represents an ever-widening circle of networking opportunities.

Third, the ritual of dressing smartly brings order into a world that is chaotic, cold, and entropic. Most of life is out of our control, but dressing well is certainly within our reach, every day, almost under any circumstance, and that in itself is satisfying, a kind of small but important antidote to the sea changes that are roiling the culture right now.

In conclusion, there are certainly more slobs out there than New Gentlemen (and not much in between). But the New Gentlemen, in 2011, stand out in a crowd so there seems to be more of them. When men understand this, perhaps the scales will be tipped in favor of the New Gentleman. But right now, like the Marines, we are the few, the proud.

 

cary grant a celebration of style Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style   Richard Torregrossa (Author), Giorgio Armani (Foreword) Michael Kors (Afterword)

“Consider this book a must-have for the style-conscious guy in your life–or the guy who needs a few tips.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 3, 2006

Mr. Torregrossa is currently working on a line of apparel and a new book, this one on George Clooney. His website is richardtorregrossa.com.