Make Yourself Over
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Shop with a professional with the help of two stylists, a couple of young marrieds learn some wardrobing basics and how to dress well—for work and the weekend
Who doesn't crave a makeover? When asked to let a professional wardrobe consultant take him shopping, Graham Meyer, an editor at Chicago magazine, said, "Sure. But the person who'd really love to have that is Tacy," his wife, a lawyer at a local firm. So we found a stylist for her, too. The mission: to diagnose their clothing dilemmas and find sample outfits—one for work, one for the weekend—that made them look and feel great. We shopped for the clothes and shoes at a well-known department store—Bloomingdale's at 900 North Michigan Avenue—for its range of brands and styles. Here, the results:
Graham's storyAt 28, Graham Meyer, the assistant editor at Chicago, worried that his look—postcollegiate and perhaps too casual—wasn't sending the right message. "I have a young face and I'm a small person, so people often think I'm younger than I am," he told Joe Lupo, a New York–based professional wardrobe consultant who has many clients in Chicago. Graham admitted to shopping only when necessary and said he wouldn't mind injecting color into his closet. Lupo suggested a style that features classically cut clothing updated to reflect the trends—John F. Kennedy meets George Clooney. "Classic-chic," Lupo says, is his style type.
Lupo's biggest tip for Graham? Pick stronger colors. "I'll bet if we looked in his closet we'd find a lot of that oatmeal color or beigey tones," he says, adding that muted neutrals too closely match Graham's skin tone. "He disappears." Lupo says Graham should opt for deep, saturated colors—such as charcoal gray, navy, chocolate brown—to give more contrast. "Graham told me that he wanted a wardrobe that would help him to be taken more seriously," Lupo says. "If he takes a stronger stance with his colors, I think he'll find the rest will follow."
Hair stylist Brianna Peck, of Prink Salon in Chicago, trimmed layers into the sides of Graham's hair. She applied a paste called AG Stucco to hold it back. Prink Salon, 689 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 312-492-9102
"I mainly stick to pantsuits," says Tacy Flint, a 30-year-old lawyer with Sidley Austin, LLP, a firm in the Loop. Although convinced that skirts and dresses were too "girly" and not flattering, Tacy has struggled to find pants that work: Pants and jeans that fit her in the hips and legs are usually too big in the waist and gape noticeably. Tacy also shies away from wearing anything too formfitting, a strategy that often makes women look bigger than they are.
Stacey Jones, Chicago magazine's fashion editor, zeroed in on Tacy's best attributes: her height, small waist, and balanced proportions. "You build from that," Jones says. "Figure out which assets you want to emphasize and de-emphasize everything else." After Tacy tried on a blizzard of clothing, they discovered that dresses and skirts worked best to show off her figure—the exact opposite of her current wardrobe. "Tacy doesn't like the way her legs look in skirts, but we just had to find the right pieces," Jones says. "She looks great in skirts that hit the leg at or right below the knee." Belted coats are another flattering look for Tacy because they accentuate her shoulders, which are proportionally balanced with her hips, and draw the eye to her waist.
"With makeup, you want to focus either on the eyes or the lips," says makeup artist Karen Brody. Brody used shades of brown for a dramatic, semi-smoky eye and kept Tacy's lips light in pink.