Ways to be Practical and Glamorous

I love to feel glamorous just like the next girl…but if you haven’t already noticed — I’m also pretty practical. But there’s room for both in your life.

Practical: Everyday I wear my sneakers to work as I commute on the NYC subway because walking in heels hurts too much.

Glamorous: Once I get to work I slip on a pair of my favorite heels that are neatly tucked away on the shoe rack under my desk.  (Yes, I have a shoe rack under my desk.)

Here is a list of small, daily doses of beauty and style to slip into your daily life that are easy to implement, innovative and budget-neutral from Constance Dunn, author of ‘Practical Glamour.”

Glamour-A-Day Tips

by Constance Dunn

The overall idea is that by engaging in such little moments of luxury, you will increase the positive tip of personal glamour in your life, and look and feel better for it.

Let this list inspire you to create your very own list of practical glamours, and when you do, don’t even think of limiting yourself on those things that will make your world a more vivid and personally lovely place.

Engage an Exciting New Edible

When at the grocery store wander down an aisle you usually don’t frequent, and look for something totally different than the usuals that fill your cart. The exotic, ethnic or imported food aisles are filled with unknown delights. Chicherones, kumquats or smoked kippers, anyone?

Embrace Your Daily Grooming Habit

In the 1948 film Sudden Fear — Joan Crawford resists romantic husband Jack Paar’s morning embrace by pleading, “Not without my lipstick. I feel naked without it.” My feelings exactly. Is there a particular makeup item or grooming ritual that gives you a lift?

For me it’s lipgloss. My purse contains as many as four sticks at a time, and the act of dabbing on that luscious color adds a blip of unique feminine pleasure to my day. An attorney friend says she takes a moment at her desk when stressed to run her grandmother’s beautiful ivory comb through her hair, enjoying the weight of the comb in her hands and the feel of the tines on her scalp.

Finally get that Fantasy Manicure

Get your nails done in some outrageous color like black vinyl or electric orange or deep scarlet with glitter sprinkled on top, because you truly only live once. If you hate it, just remove the polish and replace with your standard-issue beige or pale pink. You’ll still have the professionally-filed fingers and cared-for cuticles to show for it.

Freshen Your Foods With Garnish

Always adorn your food, even if it’s take-out, with fresh herbs like parsley, mint, cilantro or oregano. Add sliced lemons or limes to your everyday beverages. These are not just nice aesthetic add-ons; they are densely nutritious, as well.

Buy Some Beautiful Matching Underthings

An early glamour influencer in my life was an ex-Rockette who sagely advised that a girl should always have neat nails, long hair and a matching bra and panty set. Indeed, there is something to be said for the feeling of self-possessed togetherness that comes from wearing perfectly coordinated and beautiful underthings. Be forewarned that this glamour habit, once formed, is nearly impossible to break.

Wear an Over-the-Top Accessory

Don that bright blooming hair flower, glitzy brooch or over-sized painted scarf. Select the piece you’ve always suspected might be too showy for you–the one that reveals a side you seldom show–and smartly integrate it in an everyday ensemble. My favorite is a heavy necklace from India that dangles rows and rows of silver beads and is completely at odds with my minimalist accessory policy.

Acknowledge a Bit of Loveliness

While attending school in Manhattan in my late teens I was taken by the rush of sights that came at me while just walking the sidewalks. But everyone else pushed by without seeming to notice them. Not wanting to look like a bumpkin I swiftly adopted their ways and was soon pushing alongside them, right past this revolving canvas of sights. Let yourself linger for a moment on that fuchsia shock of bougainvillea spiraling across the white stucco wall, or the sunlight splayed across the shoulder of a hundred-year-old high rise.

Constance Dunn is a presentation specialist who writes and lectures on how to optimize your look, no matter your age, purse or position. She is author of the book Practical Glamour and her Tip Log is found here.


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1 reply
  1. Nelly Rodriguez
    Nelly Rodriguez says:

    Shoe rack under her desk? LOVE it! I can’t leave the house without eyeliner…just can’t do it. And IF I ever do, I don’t remove my sunglasses. Oh or stud earrings. Can’t live without them and working in a kitchen doesn’t allow it…#fail


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