Monday, 10 May 2010

Defining the Undefinable – Just exactly what is Glamour?

The dictionary (at least one of them) tells us that Glamour, is ‘the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, esp. by a combination of charm and good looks.’

Having seen the pics in today’s Daily Mail of ‘global catwalk star’ Agyness Deyn and wondering why anyone who can look quite so spectacular – just look at the picture at the foot of that article (even if she is done up well into extremis) – would be happy looking quite so plain. It brought to mind the whole glamour equation and what it really means.

One major question that I have is, is glamour in the eye of the beholder, or something indefinable that we feel about ourselves? When you put on a chic, fitted LBD, pearls and heels and step out on the town are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? My personal belief is that you should always be doing it for you, and that everything else will feed off of the way you feel, and that whatever comes your way, provided you are happy with your own look, anyone else should be as well (and if they’re not just give them a hard shove from me).

Straying a bit there as I always seem to, and getting back to the main topic, there seems to be an opinion that you do need to be done up ‘in extremis’ to look glamourous, and that glamour is about over dressing, over make-up, over high heels and over plasticity. I don’t think that’s true and believe that glamour comes from a mix of the self confidence of knowing what suits you, great grooming (always) and a smile. There’s sexy glamour, as in Marilyn Monroe and gorgeous classy glamour as in Audrey Hepburn and amazing older glamour in the form of Dame Helen Mirren and a million versions in between.

I also think that glamour is more likely to come with age (well I’m likely to, aren’t I?) because it’s not just about dressing up and piling on the paint but more about how you feel inside.

I was on the BBC twice last week on the subject of appearance – and reiterated the fact that it takes 30 seconds of less for someone to sum you up when you meet them (and vice versa of course). Less than 10% of the first impression you make is based on what you say, over half is how you look (clothes etc) and your body language and the rest is about your tone and inflection. You can pooh-pooh this as much as you want to, but the fact is we are judged by our appearance more than anything else in the first instance.

So finally I would say that glamour basically comes from confidence, that recognition can feed that confidence but it’s not essential, that it’s not just about how you dress, or trying to be sexy, or good looks but a complete package and that the dictionary, with ‘the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting esp by a combination of charm and good looks’ doesn’t really get us there. At all.