polo silver cologne What Price Glamour
What Price Glamour?
If You’ve Got The Right Look, The Right Clothes, Went To The Right Schools And Get The Right Help From Your Family _ Maybe You, Too, Can Land A High profile, Low paying Job Among The Big Apple’s Smart Set.
NEW YORK When Holli McCuistion gets dressed in the morning, she rummages through the racks of Ralph Lauren clothes in the closets of her apartment near Park Avenue to pull together just the right outfit _ one that has been preapproved.
At the beginning of each season, McCuistion, who works as a saleswoman at a Polo Ralph Lauren in Manhattan, has to bring in her wardrobe, model each outfit for her managers, pose for Polaroids, then wait for approval of her chosen combinations of the designer’s clothes.
If she wears an unapproved outfit to work, she will be asked to buy something else to wear from the store (and will receive a demerit in her personnel file).
McCuistion, 33, who moved to Manhattan from Houston several years ago, doesn’t mind the strict dress code. Nor does she object that she must wear her long brown hair in what the company considers a clean cut” style, or that she had to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of Ralph Lauren clothes for a job that started at $8 an hour.
She loves her work, in part because she is surrounded by people just like her, she says. They, too, needed unimpeachable references and had to submit to five job interviews, almost like being admitted to a private club or sorority.
Although she works long hours, she is invited to fashion parties and meets people from across the world, the kind of customers who order the entire line of Ralph Lauren cruise wear without trying it on and invite her to their country homes in Europe (she declines).
Welcome to the world of glamour jobs _ high profile, low paying positions traditionally held by young female English or art history majors, who set out each day in fashionable wardrobes for midtown Manhattan offices or Seventh Avenue showrooms _ but don’t stick around long, because there’s always a cocktail party or a crowded restaurant to run off to.
They work for image conscious employers like women’s magazines, auction houses, fashion designers and public relations companies.
The job requirements: an attractive appearance, impeccable grooming and, preferably, a private school education.
The salary: parentally subsidized, at least in many cases.
These are jobs for people who are bright, attractive and well educated,” says Charles Scribner III,
an editor at the book publishing company founded by his grandfather, where glamour jobs were once plentiful. Now, they are more likely to be found in professions that are, well, more glamorous.
In some circles, glamour jobs are thought to be the only jobs worth having because of their opportunities for making the right” friends and for meeting a suitable (read wealthy”) mate.
If you were a talented young girl fresh out of college, where would you go _ to a bank or financial institution, or Vogue, where you’re part of a bigger picture?” asks Nadine Johnson, a public relations agent who represents Louis Vuitton and Tatler magazine. They’re involved with the shiny world of beauty, fashion and showbiz. They think they are going to meet someone amazing that is going to take them away on a white horse.”
The poster child of glamour jobs, the young woman for whom the system worked perfectly, is Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, who came down from Greenwich, Conn., to become a celebrity dresser in the Calvin Klein showroom, rose to publicity director and married John F. Kennedy Jr.
Another Cinderella is Julia Koch, a former $200 a week assistant to the designer Adolfo, who married one of America’s richest men, David Koch, and has become an East Side social figure.
Besides his wife, Koch says he dated such former glamour job holders as Carolyne Roehm, who worked for Oscar de la Renta, and Blaine Beard, now Blaine Trump, who was one of the front girls at Christie’s.”
See, these women have great skills and talent and a lot of ability,” says Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, who plans to move in June with his wife to the former Fifth Avenue apartment of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They have the right social skills, savoir faire and intelligence.”
Not every glamour job holder is focused on marrying well, of course. Many have serious career ambitions, aspiring to run magazines or their own publicity companies. But whether marriage is a principal goal or merely a hazy possibility in an uncharted future, nearly all say that the prospect of a stimulating social life is a key appeal of the job.
(As for young men, there seems to be no equivalent to the glamour job _ what was known a generation or two ago as a bluestocking job. Young men with similar backgrounds and aspirations go to work on Wall Street, or into the professions.)