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Posted October 12, 2010
According to Constance Dunn, author of Practical Glamour, a woman's mindset, not her budget, is the key to achieving her look to its maximum level. Appearance is a package deal that includes looks, attire, style, movement, and spirit.
Separated into three sections: Grooming, Style & Spirit, and Manner, the book is packed with interesting and valuable tips for even the most budget-conscious (and self-conscious) woman. The overall result is a handy, relatable resource for women everywhere who want to look and feel their best.
Grooming covers skin, hair, and nail care with advice for finding the best professionals in their fields to help get women on the right track, followed by easily understood directions for at-home treatments that most women will find convenient and cost effective. The topic of unwanted hair removal is handled with humor, as Dunn relates her phase of "hair liberation" in her youth and what she learned from it, and includes several options for dealing with this "unglamorous problem."
Style & Spirit includes exercises women can do to help them discover their personal styles and then gives guidelines for dressing and accessorizing from head to toe. From how to dress with glamour every day to tips on projecting your best self while working and traveling, this section packs in a variety of useful and realistic advice.
Although the section on color analysis was interesting, I am not sure I would spend the money on a professional (and expensive) color analyst, as Dunn suggests, especially since I found her "quickie guide" to colors to be quite thorough. The best advice - for me, anyway - was found in the section on closet organizing and wardrobe upkeep, which included a handy primer on assessing one's closet personality (I'm Henrietta Hoarder).
The last section, Manner, discusses etiquette ("glamour is as glamour does"), mood, manner, and attitude, and includes topics such as dining versus eating, how to order wine, how to walk in heels, and even how to glam up your voice and speech. Dunn admits she has a bias against "newer" etiquette books and recommends that women learn not only the intricacies of classic etiquette, but the rationale and origins behind it as well. The section on how to exit a car is timely, given the number of young women currently in the public eye who don't appear to have mastered this skill.
Constance Dunn writes in a polished, no-nonsense, humor-infused style. Although the information and insight I gained from this book definitely give me tools to become a more glamorous me - particularly exciting to this work from home writer/editor/mother -I think the message Dunn hopes to convey to her readers is that no matter your perceived strengths, weaknesses, and/or insecurities, your attitude - living your life how you please - is fundamental to the glamorous spirit.
Highly recommended by Erin Potter for Reader's Choice Reviews