Today we are introducing you to Clifford Pugh as our BethieLife Man Crush. Clifford has been a fashion guru and journalist in Houston for many years. He is also a super interesting and nice guy! Check out his fun photos and interviews.Welcome, Clifford!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Osceola, Arkansas, a small town near Memphis. Its slogan was “Home of 8,000 Friendly People.” I came to Houston for a job as a feature writer at the Houston Post in the early 1980s after getting a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri. When the Post folded in 1995, I moved to the Houston Chronicle as feature writer and style critic, covering fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan, as well as political conventions, presidential inaugurations, and the Oscars and Vanity Fair party in Los Angeles.
In 2009, I launched the lifestyle website CultureMap as Houston editor-in-chief and was involved in expansion of the site to Austin and Dallas. I moved on in late 2017 to concentrate on freelance writing and travel as well as developing digital media strategies and special reporting projects.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three beauty products would you like to have with you?
Bain de Soleil No. 4 orange gelee sunscreen, Aveeno skin relief intense moisture repair cream (in jar; not lotion), and Crest whitening toothpaste.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your personal style?
Having covered fashion for two decades as well as Houston’s social scene for longer than that, I find you can’t go wrong with looks from classic designers, like Giorgio Armani or John Varvatos. And it’s always fun to mix in looks from Zara, Topshop, or Target for a high-low style.
I have a hard time finding stylish shoes since I have an unusually narrow foot, so I make up for my lack of cool shoes by wearing colorful, over-the-top, attention-getting socks.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Hand-cut French fries and fried bacon (not necessarily together).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Everything always works out. It may not work out the way that you thought you wanted it to, but it does work out. Or as one character in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” aptly put it, “Everything will be alright in the end. So if it’s not alright, it is not the end.”
Also, when I was in a serious motorcycle accident two years ago, my mother’s two favorite pearls of wisdom got me through the dark times. She always said, “One day at time” and “This too shall pass.”
What is your favorite Houston store and/or restaurant?
I love More Than You Can Imagine because it carries an amazing array of upscale consignments as well as an excellent collection of curated housewares and gifts (plus my spouse works there). And we regularly hit up 369 on the corner of Westheimer and Montrose for good Chinese food.
What’s on your plate? (Future projects, travel plans, etc.)
I am covering the upcoming spring fashion collections at New York Fashion Week in September for PaperCity. This fall, I will interview two interesting designers at Houston charity fundraisers. I will talk with British designer Jenny Packham at the “Razzle Dazzle Goes Royal” luncheon on October 11 at the Westin Memorial City to benefit the Bobetta C. Lindig Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Hermann Memorial City. And on November 7, I will interview hot new Canadian designer Lucian Matis on stage at the “Passion for Fashion” luncheon benefitting fashion and interior design programs at Houston Community College.
How do you spend your down time?
I am an exercise nut. I teach a strength training class called Bodypump at the Trotter YMCA and can be found on the Precor for at least an hour a day to get my 10,000 steps in.
Tell us one Houston Hidden Gem (places that aren’t necessarily well-known) that you recommend.
Glenwood Cemetery on Washington Avenue is one of most beautiful and peaceful places in the city, with rolling hills and lush landscaping. Among the notables in permanent repose: reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, actress Gene Tierney, and father of the Astrodome Roy Hofheinz.
Tell us three of your favorite shopping/beauty/lifestyle websites.
Vanityfair.com (the latest in celebrity reporting), vogue.com (the latest in fashion) and amazon.com (because you can buy just about anything and have it delivered in two days or less).
Tell us three of your health/beauty tips.
Walk at least 10,000 steps a day, drink lots of water, and take lots of catnaps.
What are three things you can’t live without? (Besides God, family, and friends.)
My Macbook, Instagram, and The New York Times.
Do you have any irrational fears?
I can’t sit in a seat facing the opposite way on a bus, Houston METROrail, or Southwest Airlines.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Any island in Greece or Aspen/Snowmass Colorado in the summer.
If you weren’t in your present occupation, what would you dream of doing?
A DJ at the most popular bar in Mykonos. (Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to DJ at Phoenicia’s MKT Bar and loved it. I found out you can never go wrong with ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”)
What books or movies have you loved recently?
I covered the Sundance Film Festival in January and was impressed by two documentaries that are streaming now or in theaters: “Seeing Allred,” about crusading women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred (it was co-directed by my former Houston Post colleague Sophie Sartain), and “RBG,” an intimate portrait of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
And, this summer, it was a treat to see “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” just to glimpse Cher’s flawless face on the big screen.
My summer book list included “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Girl on the Train,” “The Battle of Versailles,” about the historic fashion show in 1973 at the Palace of Versailles, written by my friend, Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan, and “The Destroyers,” a literary thriller set in Patmos, Greece.
Contributing writer at PaperCity, Houstonia, Houston Chronicle, Houston CityBook, and Rice Business Wisdom; editor; digital media consultant; creator of special projects
Care to Share
I’m old enough to remember when eight-track tapes were hot.
Tell us something humorous about yourself.
I always eat everything on my plate. And if someone has finished their meal and there’s food left on their plate, I eat it, too, or take it home to eat the next day. My mother’s admonition to “eat all of your food because there are children starving in India” has stuck in my mind all these years.
And I love to go barefoot. There’s nothing better than walking of cool grass outdoors or on cool marble indoors in your bare feet.
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