For the CUE fashion makeovers, we put out a call to local women whose hair, makeup and personal styles were in need of some TLC. We chose three makeover winners from scores of applicants.
Though they vary in age and occupation, all three winners were faced with specific style emergencies with which every woman grapples sooner or later. Megan Irving, a senior at Loyola University, was looking to swap her jeans for an interview-ready ensemble. Karen Fernandez, mother of two and full-time legal secretary, wanted polished basics that could carry her from home to the office with no fuss. Shelly Lauman, who works three jobs and has twin teenage sons, desired a glamorous evening look to wear on dates with her husband.
Here's how our team of experts turned around each style crisis and tips so any woman can give herself a makeover. — Missy Wilkinson
Style Emergency: I need to get glam for a romantic date.
"'Mom-life crisis' is how I describe this phase of my life. I'm approaching 50 and am the mother of 14-year-old twin boys. When my boys were born, I ... decided to be a stay-at-home mom. During that time I enjoyed them, but now they aren't needing me as much. I am finally beginning to realize the importance of enjoying life and am trying to find myself again."
—Shelly Lauman, account executive, fitness instructor and mother of two.
A fitness instructor who also works part time at a law firm and as an advertising account executive, Shelly Lauman spends most days in gym shorts. Now her sons are in high school, she has more free time to spend on romantic evenings out with her husband — but no idea how to glamorize for these dates. "I'm just really casual," Lauman says. "Sometimes I want to go out with my husband and look dressy, but I'm challenged when it comes to accessories and matching."
Tommy Centanni of Paris Parker Salon styled Lauman's hair, which was cut into a graduated bob with more volume at the crown for an evening look, while Lucia Caterina, a makeup artist at Paris Parker, gave her a smoky eye look. "I used smoky, dark gray shadow on the top of her lid, but I didn't use it all around, because she has delicate features and smaller eyes," Caterina says. "I used green in the crease, because it looks amazing with the purple dress. And on her lips, I used a lip glaze, which is always more fun for going out than a boring lipstick."
A silk, one-shoulder dress by Philosophy by Alberta Ferratti puts the spotlight on Lauman's gym-sculpted biceps, while the side ruching emphasizes her waist. With bangle bracelets and stingray leather stiletto heels, Lauman is ready for a night on the town.
"I would love someone to make me over and teach me how to look better than the typical plain mother of two. I never have my hair styled. I was never taught how to apply makeup. I have basically just looked the same for years: plain!"
— Karen Fernandez, mother of two and full-time secretary.
"I'm always on the go," Karen Fernandez says. "I don't even have time to do my hair. It's go, go, go." Fernandez wore jeans to work most mornings and let her long hair air-dry. She wanted what she called "nice basics" — wardrobe pieces that could act as cornerstones of an ensemble while being functional and hassle-free.
We fitted Fernandez in a floral dress, an elegant but comfortable garment she can quickly throw on in the morning before dashing out the door. Topped with a linen blazer, it gains a professional edge appropriate for an office. Yellow wedge heels add a cheery note and show off Fernandez's toned legs (she goes for a daily run on her lunch hour).
She also got a makeup lesson from Caterina, who applied gold eye shadow to Fernandez's eyelid and purple to the crease. "I wanted her to look natural and pretty, but a little bit sassy," Caterina says. "With her brown eyes, she can do any color. Purple goes with any skin tone, and it's really in."
Centanni lopped off 4 inches of Fernandez's hair when he gave her a new 'do. "Her hair was weighing her down," Centanni says. "We need to frame her face, so we put in layers to soften her face. I also wanted to lighten her up for the summer, so we put highlights in to brighten her features."
Fernandez was more than happy with her results. "Oh my God," she says. "You made me look like a diva!"
"I would love to have a makeover so that when I graduate from Loyola in May, I can enter the workforce with a polished, professional look! I've worked hard to finish in the top of my class, but as a result, I haven't been able to put much time or effort into my appearance. A makeover would be a great way to give me a competitive edge when I am out looking for a job this summer. ... Please get me out of my college sweatshirts and jeans and into a new, polished look."
— Megan Irving, college senior
Megan is balancing her studies, a senior thesis on Burmese child soldiers and a part-time job, so she has very little time to devote to her appearance. A self-described "preppy-casual student," she wanted a sophisticated outfit to wear to job interviews that wouldn't make her look like a pin-striped automaton.
"I want to look polished, but I don't want to look like everyone else," Irving says. "I want to put my best foot forward and still look fashionable. And I want a way to style my hair so it's not just down or in a ponytail."
Mac Ashraf-Zadath of Paris Parker Salon trimmed Irving's hair, giving her face-framing layers and a side part for a more groomed appearance. Caterina waxed and tweezed Irving's brows. "(Your brows) frame your whole face," she says. "If your brows look good, your whole face looks good."
Irving expressed a fondness for skirt suits, so the makeover team chose a slim-fitting gray tweed dress with cap sleeves that flattered her figure and coloring. Steven Putt, director of marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue, brought a youthful, fashion-forward vibe to the ensemble with bold accessories like a snakeskin stiletto heel. "I believe you can pop your fashion with your shoe," Putt says. "The shoes can always be special."
Tommy Centanni, a stylist at Paris Parker Salon, on how to style hair for a salon-fresh look.
1. Hot rollers are back in. If you put hot rollers in, your hair will stay smoother. The bigger the roller, the better. Get 1.5-inch diameter rollers and put six to eight on the crown of your head, spray them with hair spray and pull them out and go. Or you can blow-dry hair and then put in six to eight Velcro rollers.
2. Use the right products. Because of our humid climate, a lot of people have fly-aways and frizzies. Products like the Aveda Smooth Infusion line make hair more polished.
3. Get layers. A lot of people are keeping their hair on the longer side, but they still have shoulder-length layers to keep the softness. I like hair down and flowy with lots of bounce.
Lucia Caterina, a makeup artist at Paris Parker Salon, on how to get a glowing evening makeup look.
1. Mascara is key. It really makes a look dramatic. Layer three to four coats of a volumizing mascara and let it dry between coats. Smoky eyes don't look good on everyone, but everyone looks good with mascara.
2. Your skin becomes alive when you wear blush or bronzer. Tinted moisturizers are awesome for the summer because they are light, but they also have a sheer color, and that gives you a nice, natural glow right off the bat.
3. A good skin care regimen is essential. Wash your face every day and night, tone your skin at night if you wear makeup and moisturize. If you want to invest in a good skin care product, make it your moisturizer.
Fashion designer and White House/Black Market manager Molly Stackhouse shares expert tips for a professional ensemble.
1. Accessorize. Belts make any outfit look more put together. A waist belt should be a staple piece for any working woman, and it can be worn over a sweater or a jacket as well. A shorter necklace gives a dressier look, because it doesn't interrupt the neckline, while a longer necklace dresses an outfit down.
2. Break up a suit. Buy a full suit when you can. Wear it when needed, but also wear the pencil skirt with a cardigan for a more feminine look or the jacket with jeans on the weekend.
3. Add pops of color. Nothing looks more polished than a black-and-white or neutral look with a vibrant accessory like a belt or bag.
4. Try going monochromatic. Wearing all tan with gold accents or all white with silver accessories really makes a statement. Stick to neutrals like black, white, navy or tan.
5. Layering is the best way to create a look. Buy extra coordinating pieces like jackets, shrugs or sweaters.
6. Play with proportion. Try a long sweater with a pencil skirt and a waist belt. A loose blouse tucked into a fitted skirt with a jacket or sweater is always great. Mix and match your pieces, but if the proportion doesn't make sense, try adding another layer to get it right.
Special thanks to Gambit marketing director Jeanne Foster, Carla Adams at The Shops at Canal Place, Steven Putt at Saks Fifth Avenue and Tommy Centanni and the Paris Parker Salon team.
Each woman received a $100 gift card to The Shops at Canal Place as part of her makeover.
On the cover: Black floral dress, $168, heels, $98, and necklace, $78, all from White House/Black Market.
All stores are located at The Shops at Canal Place (333 Canal St., 522-9200; www.theshopsatcanalplace.com).
Ann Taylor (529-2306; www.anntaylor.com)
Anthropologie (592-9972; www.anthropologie.com)
Paris Parker Salon & Spa (586-9107; www.parisparker.com)
Saks Fifth Avenue (524-2200; www. saksfifthavenue.com)
White House/Black Market (299-8044; www.whitehouseblackmarket.com)