BE Luxury: Constance White Reveals Why Luxury Is Always “Personal”

Constance White believes luxury is about experiences not buying power

BE Luxury is Black Enterprise’s luxury series with top experts in the Luxury Market.  The below is an email interview with Former Editor in Chief of Essence and former NY Times Style reporter Constance White. An industry veteran, White shares the latest trends and advice to upgrade your career and style in a pinch. 

BE.com: What top luxury trends are you loving right now?

High-end innovative sneakers have my attention. It’s fascinating to see how designers incorporate fashion trends into sneakers. They can be super-luxurious or aspirational in price – a luxury price or design but done well they all look so modern. Jewelry is often a smart investment and can be very personal. It ranges from watches to statement fashion pieces made with precious metals and stones or something really classic. Special fabrics from top-line Holland cloth to cashmere or high-tech fabrics are infused with luxury these days. It may be how a particular jacket or dress goes from utilitarian to luxurious.

What can a woman or man add to their work wardrobe to stand out?

For a man, definitely a pair of sneakers if his workplace allows it. If it’s not part of the culture, then I would say if you had to choose one item, make it a watch. It’s unexpected (don’t you have a cell phone?), it’s distinctive. It’s a fashion accessory. A watch works for a woman in any industry too. For a woman you can also stand out with an interesting piece of jewelry – be it a necklace or a fabulous cuff.

How do you define your personal style?

My personal style is how I choose to wear clothes and sometimes my choices reflect very personal values. I think I would describe my style as minimal with a little edge. I’ve always mixed high and low because I believe it’s more interesting.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the luxury/style business?

Don’t accept a substitute if you are trying to break in. What I mean by this is, don’t spend a lot of time working at Mandees or say Walmart if what you really want to do is work in luxury. Don’t get to know all the mass market editors if what you want to do is public relations in the luxury space. Go directly to where you want to be, make connections, learn as much as you can and keep pounding on that door until you get in.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Luxury today is very broad and this is a good thing. It encompasses how we spend our money but also how we spend our time. It’s buying goods but it’s also buying services and experiences.

To read more of the BE Luxury series, go here.



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