Weekly Feature for Fashion & Beauty Fanatics: Q&A with Constance Dunn
Gina Joseph, social media community manager, also contributed to this post.
In this week’s Fashion & Beauty Buzz e-newsletter from Cision Navigator, we talked to Constance Dunn of Practical Glamour. Dunn is a regular on-air contributor, speaker, author and lecturer who is here to share her best and brightest tips with you!
Q: How did you get into the fashion media industry, and how did you grow your reach?
A: I got into the industry via a scattershot of experience that ranged from working in retail and showroom modeling to studying garments and getting a graduate degree in communication. All of these gave me deep peeks into the psychology and significance of fashion for the individual. How fashion is ultimately about personal identity, expression and aspiration–a projection of how we feel about ourselves at a given point in our life.
Much of fashion journalism seemed to communicate, at least to me, that you need gazoodles of cash to look excellent and you were the scum of the Earth if you were not wearing So-and-So’s latest creation, which would be hopelessly passe in six months. So I saw a huge opportunity to reach women–men, too–by focusing on the practical, accessible side of fashion. How to use it and reap its most positive and wonderful rewards, no matter one’s age, budget or position.
Q: What made you gravitate toward fashion as a communication tool? What does that entail?
A: We communicate with our presence, and without speaking a word. Our physical presence is nearly 100% self-constructed. In other words, the impression you give others when they interact with you is one big composite message created by you. And the big variables in presentation are behavior, grooming and style.
The power to design our image via style and fashion is a potent one that far too many people don’t take strategic advantage of, or diminish as somehow trivial or frivolous. Why walk around in drab rags when you can be wearing something that makes you look and feel fabulous, and is transformative? Fashion has the power to help you perform better in your everyday life and draw others to you in a positive way.
Fashion and style are often misunderstood. My goal is for women and men to understand personal style in the positive, and use it as a tool to improve their time on Earth for the better. The place to start is with the following question: How can I use clothes, shoes and accessories to present my most attractive and authentic self to the world?
Q: What are some fashion tips we should all be aware of?
A: The three C’s: Cut, Color and Characteristic. All of your garments, current and future, should pass these three standards, which are unique to each person.
The first, cut, is about knowing your body and recognizing which silhouettes are going to help visually create the shape you desire. The second is about knowing which colors optimize your unique hair, skin and eye combo–and wearing them consistently. The third is about having a crystal-clear idea of those traits you wish to communicate to others.
This requires some introspection, and in my first book Practical Glamour I devote a chapter to exercises that zero in on one’s personal style “brand.” Understanding your distinctive brand, even if it’s very basic, and selecting those shoes, garments and accessories that fall in line with it will enable you to communicate to others clearly and consistently. Create a presentation that represents you at your best today. This is particularly exciting when you think about how this will impact or speak to people whom you’ve not yet met.
Adhering to the three C’s consistently is the cornerstone of using fashion as a tool to optimize your presentation. Plus, it makes shopping faster, more clear-cut and reduces the amount of money you’ll spend on stuff that will never make it out of the closet. Wasting money is not glamorous!
Q: Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: Overall I have found PR professionals to be courteous and fun. I love hearing about products that are “practical glamour,” meaning they are solid in terms of quality and accessible in terms of price. Fashion that has an ease of care and wearability. Hearing about a brand or item that a woman or man can use as a tool to showcase his or her most attractive and authentic self is always exciting. If I love a product I am highly motivated to share it with my audience.
Q: What are you PR pet peeves, or what is the strangest pitch you’ve received?
A: I understand there is a hearty market for celebrity fashion and hyped, of-the-moment labels, but these are 180-degrees away from what I focus on. What some gauche pop culture figure wore on her back last night has no practical style significance to the woman who is newly single, hitting the gym each day and wants to reinvent herself, or the young girl in, say, Des Moines who is moving to New York and wants a budget-conscious, fashion blueprint to help her take on the world!
This is my audience, and my biggest reward comes from hearing about how a gal or guy is working fashion to look and feel utterly wonderful! And, of course, keeping their money glamorously stashed in the bank.
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