School never looked so good

Last week I had a great time working with  a young woman who needed to update her wardrobe and refresh her image before staring school. Tired of her long straight hair and rushing out every morning without makeup, Grace made a plan to meet with me and have a full make-over. 

Once finished with  talking about what would work well on her lean lanky figure, I got together with my fabulous makeup and hair stylist, Elena, sharing  my vision of what hairstyles and makeup look would work well on Grace, considering her age, budget, and needs and the practicality of Grace being able to replicate the looks once on her own.

After all the discussing ended, I pulled together some great outfits and decided on awesome hair & makeup styles that I think would work well for Grace.  But Grace had the final word, since she had to  feel completely at ease with her updated look.

What emerged  with paring new clothing with great hair and make-up looks, was one lovely woman  who was ecstatic with her transformation(s). The super versatile pieces I used to create and re-create  great looks worked for her. She felt comfortable and said that the clothing picks were things she'd wear forever and with lots of other things in her closet.... .. success!

I felt it was super important to select pieces that  mixed and matched with the things Grace had hanging in her closet. I worked with  a few terrific pieces from J. Crew-  always a favorite place to start  for the must have/ classic essentials- and got some strong foundational pieces incorporated into our expandable wardrobe: classic stripe button down, classic skinny jeans, classic black jeans, classic navy and black blazers- all in classic colors that never go out of style .

Even though I used these great quality separates, J. Crew was at the high end of Grace's budget. I shared my thoughts about purchasing a few quality, versatile, classic pierces that would last... and continually add a finished look.

Wardrobe finds we could fudge on- spend less but still get a great look with decent quality- we did, finding lots of cute things at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Forever 21, Pier 1, Francessca's for next to nothing.

During the wardrobe changes, I  talked to Grace about sharpening her fashion sense by perusing the lines of top designers at better stores and checking out the current Fashion Week videos from Paris, Milan, and New York.

I promised her that if she did her fashion homework, she would develop a strong sense of fashion knowing:  what seasonal must haves she should buy, what trends are classic and have a longer fashion life, and forecast what looks will be in next season. 

Check out what Grace is wearing and where she got it:

  • BCBG leather varsity bomber jacket -$79, coupled with a great faux leather skirt - $14 both found at Marshalls. (similar  leather skirt at J.Crew for $595)
  • Grey tweed flared Skirt- $14, Red Plaid blouse- $14 , socks -$5: all from Marshalls
  • Black jeans, skinny jeans that fit her height and size 0 frame: - $98, $115 respectively. J. Crew
  • White button down- $49 Theory- TJ Maxx
  • Russet tweed Ralph Lauren Navy label- $149 TJ Maxx
  • Ankle socks- $5 Marshalls
  • Black Platform tie shoes: - $39 Forever 21
  • Leopard scarf – $24, Juicy Couture. Black leggings $19- Marshalls
  • Black tie tuxedo shoe- $98, Kate Spade TJ Maxx
  • At the end of the day, it was all a huge success, with beautiful results, and one happy client.
  • Approximate cost for Grace's mix & match wardrobe: $1,300
  • Consult for clothes, hair, makeup, and personal shopping: $350 value
  • Makeup /hairdo styling- on the house, gratis for Grace contributing to the blog.

Huge credit goes to Grace - a lovely, agreeable, easy to work with client who was brave enough to ask Designing Life for wardrobe/ beauty/ styling help. 

And a huge thank you to my creative team: my makeup & hair stylist guru, Elena, and Elizabeth, my super talented photographer, who worked all day without taking a five-minute break. Thanks team for contributing to something beautiful. You rock!