Weekly Feature for Fashion & Beauty Fanatics: Q&A with Brenda Clevenger

Photo courtesy of Brenda Clevenger

CisionNavigator’s Fashion & Beauty Buzz e-newsletter goes out today and this week we chatted with Brenda Clevenger from Midlife Mona Lisa, who also is the owner of Group Renaissance PR firm.

Let’s dive in!

Q: According to your blog, you focus on the middle-aged women’s interests. How did you get into writing on that topic?
A:
The birth of Midlife Mona Lisa was like a butterfly crawling out of a cocoon and it marked a time in my life when I stepped out of hiding and into my new and improved self following a midlife crisis. The original name of my blog prior to Jan. 2012 was Scared Stable. Then one day my girlfriend said I was so positive and strong that I should change my blog’s name to something more inspirational.

Q: What do you like most about covering women’s fashion/beauty?
A:
A love staying on top of stores, boutiques, and resale venues that purchase inventory with middle aged women first in mind. Too many boutiques cater mainly to 20 and 30 year olds. I’m having great fun putting together my first live fashion show for midlife women called Fab, Fit and Frocked. The show will feature 10 real midlife women who’ve lost amble weight and that we’ve restyled to help them celebrate their transformation on the runway. Finally my personal stylist, Jennifer Niehouse, and I are going to plan a shopping retreat where we take KC women to Chicago for the weekend to go to the most hidden and best boutiques.

Q: What are some hot trends for middle-aged women we can look out for this fall?
A:
Red is hot as well as jewel-toned and earthy toned jeans. Tights and leggings are in and any woman of any age can pull wearing them off with the right length tunic top or belted dress. Jackets to belt or add color to your wardrobe are big for midlife women. Go for quality not flimsy fabrics.

Q: What is the one makeup product you wouldn’t leave the house without?
A: My Cover Girl Flame 300 lipstick and my epi-pen. I’ve worn a lot of coral and turquoise this summer and this lipstick gets me more compliments. On another note, I’m replacing most of my makeup and skincare with all natural brands after going to the hospital over an allergic reaction to a lotion I bought. My favorite cosmetic I can’t live with out is Smashboxes’ Anti-Shine primer.

Q: What is your favorite place to shop?
A:
I love great fabrics without over spending so I like Banana Republic and J Crew. My favorite brand for midlife women is XCVI and my new favorite store as of yesterday is White House Black Market (where I found they perfect business dress to nail a marketing gig today).

Q: Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: Just to realize that my audience is women 45 and up. They are empty nesters for the most part so I’m not interested in mommy pitches or children’s products. Send me anything to make their lives better on beauty, health, travel, dating, and anything on how to have a more mindful midlife. Please send it to me once and no need to followup. I’ll reach out if I’m interested and always link to your product or client’s book or work.

Q: What are you PR pet peeves, or what is the strangest pitch you’ve received?
A:I’m flattered to get the pitches, which keep me in the loop so thank you PR people. I received a product sample that was called something like Help! I’m sick. It was to prevent someone from getting nauseous. That was pretty funny.

Visit Brenda on Midlife Mona Lisa or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Our free weekly Fashion & Beauty Buzz newsletter features industry-related job postings, staff updates, Q&As with the fashion and beauty community, upcoming industry events and more, and is geared toward industry journalists and bloggers.

If you want to sign up or be featured in it, email gina.goodman (at) cision.comDon’t forget to also follow @CisionNavigator and @Cision on Twitter!