I’m afraid I’m an embarrassment to my children. I think I dress them pretty well, but I don’t know how to dress myself. I haven’t bought myself new clothes in a decade, except a few T-shirts on eBay (I kid you not). I still have the same hairstyle I’ve had since high school and I tend to just wear my husband’s clothes because it’s easier and more comfortable than trying to put together my own. I envy women I see who look so put together, so fashionable, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It’s depressing, I’ve really just given up. Maybe winning this could change that, unless I really am a hopeless case.
Melissa Alvarado, Willowbrook
Sylist Suze Solari and friend Michele Bua refuse to believe any mom is hopeless when it comes to fashion. But they also know a mom’s life can get pretty frantic trying to get everyone ready and out the door on time, leaving themselves little time to consider anything beyond the daily uniform of T-shirt and jeans.
What if they could help moms make simple changes that would make them feel better about how they look, they wondered. The result is their new book, The T-Shirt& Jeans Handbook: Stylish Upgrades for Your Daily Uniform.
So we teamed up with them to show us just what is possible and Willowbrook mom Melissa Alvarado was game for a makeover valued at $575.
They recruited a few helpers in Forest Park—Jayne Boutique, Madison Street Shoes (both of which provided a shopping gift card) and Macdaddy Salon (which provided hair and make-up worth $275).
For Alvarado’s hair, stylist Renee and Melissa agreed:
• Keep a lot of the existing length since long hair works in proportion with Melissa’s tall frame (she’s 6-foot-4).
• Add in some layers for shape
• Add some brightening highlights
Alvarado brought along two pairs of her own jeans, plus two of her own T-shirts, a white and a black v-neck.
Solari found a pair of white jeans at Jayne Boutique and built the new outfit around those. Using a white T-shirt, she left a coral colored light wrap cardigan open to be more drapey and shape her body. To balance out Alvarado’s long frame, she added a turquoise leather belt and found earrings with both turquoise and coral to tie the look together.
She then added a brown leather clutch to tie in with Alvarado’s own shoes.
“It really brought out her natural beauty,” Solari says. “It was a really fun experience.”
A few things to keep in mind
Fit: Get the right size that fits you. If it’s too big, it adds volume. It it’s too tight, you are going to be pulling at it all day.
Silhouette: Find something that works with the shape of your body. If you are curvy on the bottom, try an A-line skimming garment. Put a darker rinse jean on bottom and something bright on top to highlight smaller portion.
Proportions: Solari loves tunics, but they can overwhelm her tiny frame. So if she wants to wear something blousy, she has to wear something to pull it in close to her body. The same goes for anything boxy: you want to highlight your waist. That is why a belt is your best friend, she says, because it can give you the hourglass, fit and flare shape.
Color: Don’t wear black every day. While many women think it’s slimming or easy, it absorbs all of the color out of your face.
The makeover was wonderful. It made me feel absolutely fantastic. The hair was a new thing for me. … It made such a huge difference. The makeup was very different than what I do myself, it was a neat way to look at myself for the first time. The clothes were also something completely different from what I do. All of it was an eye opener and a new way to look at things. It does make you feel really pretty.