As part of the recent AICI conference in Sydney, I was asked to ‘makeover’ two women. Straight makeovers are not something I generally do, the way I work is in educating the client on what works for them and empowering them to make the changes themselves. It’s more of an evolving than a making over, as many of the makeovers we see on TV and in magazines don’t take into account the client’s lifestyle and personality and who they want to be, and how they want to be percieved, and the recipients of the makeover quickly goes back to their old ways.
Meet Amber, mother of a 5 year old and 4 1/2 month old, works in the financial planning industry. Has lost all confidence in her appearance and ability to look great. Low maintenance, not prepared to spend much time on getting ready each day. She feels in general she’s dressing too old, she’s only 28 and wanted to look no older than her age. Unfortunately many plus size clothing ranges are aimed at the more mature woman.
I didn’t get to meet the makeoverees until the day of the makeover, but I did send them a pile of homework to do before I met them, so that they would already understand a little more about what makes them tick, what they like and dislike. I asked them to undertake the 4 exercises on Defining Your Personal Style that I recently posted here. I discovered her personal style was relaxed feminine – but as you can see from her before picture, it was all about the casual and missing the feminine elements that are so much a part of her personality.
With this information I was then more able to quickly do a consultation with them on arrival, and get a good feel for what kinds of haircuts and clothing would suit them best.
I took them to the hairdresser, and got them new ‘dos – Amber had a few caramel highlights put round her face, her one length hair layered to give it more body, as it’s very fine, and a heavier sideswept fringe cut. She can still easily tie it up, but it will also be easier to do and won’t require lots of styling.
While Amber was at the hairdresser I went back and played with the clothing range we had at our disposal (from The Backroom in Sydney). I created a polyvore on the floor with the clothes, and when Amber arrived back we got her trying all the outfits on.
I wanted to do non suited work look and a casual Mum look (pictured above, yes I would have loved to go up a size in the cardi, but it was the only one we had available). We were lucky enough to have Wendy Buchanan of Perceptions Eyewear (based in Canada) with us who provided a fantastic range of frames to play with – as you can see in the after photo we updated Amber’s glasses too.
They had a professional makeup artist do makeup, and a professional photographer take photos (will show them to you when I get a copy, these are just my happy snaps), before we had a catwalk parade to launch the conference.
Here is Amber in her work outfit – what was really great to see is that after she’d put on the clothes, and had her hair and makeup done, when having her professional photo shoot done she looked at the fabulous pictures of herself and started feeling a whole lot more confident in her appearance. I spoke with her husband afterwards (he came to the parade) and he was really impressed with the new more confident Amber.
I asked her what she learned from the day, one thing she had been doing was not trying clothes on before buying, which she now swears she will never do again, too many mistakes and clothes that just weren’t right. You can also see the new clothes are much more fitted, yet show off her shape in a much more flattering way.
And here we are together, all dressed up for the Glamorous Gala Dinner and Fashion Parade. I accessoriesed her with my necklace and ring (wore these with my Sunday outfit), and a bag from The Backroom.
When I get the professional photos I’ll show you the other makeover I did.
The new hairdo did wonders for her. I like the casual outfit, maybe I would go one size up on the cardi? Good work . Like I said before, you yourself look smashing and sexy in a fine way.
The ole' T-shirt and jeans rut. You did really well pulling her out of it and into some dramatic and colorful tops.
I love what you did- but the girl badly needs some dark wash bootcut jeans that would flatter her curves better than pale tapered jeans.
She loves fantastic in the work shot!
Metscan – yes – we were limited on sizing and so didn't have any choices on this.
Tessa – thanks!
RML – yes – she would have looked heaps better in some new darker bootcut jeans – unfortunately all the pants they had didn't fit her and she had to wear her own jeans.
Very interesting! She looks so much better!
Thanks for sharing !
I'd say she needs to get her bra fitted, it doesn't look like she is wearing the right size.
Thank you, great to see this, and really fascinating to hear your thoughts on the whole process too.
Great job with the clothing using the (unfortunately) limited resources at your disposal. I bet you talked her ear off about additional shapes and colors to look for when she has more options!
Even in these candids it's clear she feels great about her new style.
The updated glasses, makeup, and hair go a really long way to help her look as well. Let's face it, if one lives in a place that gets cooler weather sometimes all the world sees of us is our head + a coat….
Was so caught up in Amber forgot to say I *love* that jacket of yours; it looks great on you! Ditto for your feminine/flattering LBD.
Great work! You can see how she feels about herself in the "after" photo.
I love what you said here Imogen! "many of the makeovers we see on TV and in magazines don't take into account the client's lifestyle and personality and who they want to be, and how they want to be perceived"
It's so true I was watching Trinny and Susanna and they do just that. They dress them up and yeah they look great however they are not going to wear that on a daily basis. Knowledge is the most important thing we can give to people and you do just that.
I love the hair, makeup and glasses. I would love to see more photos of her after a shopping trip though as with a better wardrobe to choose from I'm sure the transformation would truly be complete!
Amber looks lovely. I hope she has more confidence now – give her your article about enjoying one's youth to read.
I hope she continues to pick the kind of clothes that make her feel her best and no longer "dress to be invisible". She deserves to be seen.
You do such good work! I love your blog.