This whole makeover was so moving and fun and I’m thrilled to have the full recap ready for you! Picking the winners of the makeover contest is THE. WORST. THING. EVER. I’m so glad I don’t make the decision alone. In addition to my vote, each contributing vendor – hair, clothes, and organization weighs in on which winner they feel can impact the most. Not only did our next winner check the boxes in each of these categories but her story sent us all over the edge.
Melissa has a beautiful spirit and had experienced a tragic chapter in her life. She was ready to begin the process of moving forward. Her husband of seven years passed away a little over a year ago from a rare degenerative disease leaving her to raise her then four-year-old daughter on her own. As you can imagine, survival was the name of the game. Through God’s grace and her community, she survived the most challenging aftermath and was looking for a fresh start. That’s where we came in!
Once the team had selected her, we got down to business. The whole process took place in roughly a two-week time period!
I say it every time because it’s one of the most important things I do with my clients. Before we start on the closet, we gather the critical information that best informs our editing decisions. The initial assessments include body shape, personal coloring, face shape, and personal style.
Melissa wanted a look that conveyed confidence, friendliness, style, and strength in of course a flattering way. Check out her before and afters later in the post – how did we do on accomplishing that vibe?
There were tears shed during this makeover. Mostly on my part. As you walk into Melissa’s closet, her husband’s things were the first thing you saw. Remnants of various home care treatments and a small collection of the clothes left behind.
“But the biggest for me was my closet. I had become a little stuck emotionally and mentally and didn’t know how to finish cleaning my late husband’s belongings out. It had become somewhat of a depressing place to walk into, which spilled into so many other areas of my life.”
I couldn’t get past the words of King and Country’s Burn the Ships when we were finalizing the details of Melissa’s closet and look. Inspired by Cortez’ arrival in Mexico where he ordered his men to destroy their ships so they were forced to walk forward, and written addressing the author’s wife’s painkiller addiction – these words ring true for anyone who needs to let go of something in their past that is keeping them from the freedom of the moment:
Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
I know we’ve all had something we’ve had to move past, overcome, grieve and let go of, and if you haven’t – I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you will experience it in some way in your lifetime. The inspiration from the strength it takes to put the past to rest, keep the memories, and the character developed, and step into a new day is beautiful to watch and be a part of.
It’s amazing how these small areas of our lives can be such a catalyst for a new chapter. I have been stuck so many times before, and I know you have been as well. It’s so inspiring to see someone move out of the stuck place!
So. We moved his things from prime real estate in her closet, keeping what needed to be kept and donating/throwing away the rest, and then got started on her wardrobe!
We went through every piece of clothing and every pair of shoes asking the same questions – Does it the correct size? Does it look good on you – fit, color, style? Is it current? Does it fit your lifestyle? Does it project – confidence, friendliness, style, and strength in a flattering way?
The Closet: Part II
After we edited down to only the best and began envisioning how the space could be better utilized, Ellen with Southern Sequence stepped in and waved her organization magic wand. She made the edited closet look so organized and put together! Rearranging, editing all the rest of the items that were stored in the closet, and pulling in exactly the right organizational tools – hamper/baskets/etc to maximize the space’s functionality. The results were fantastic.
Once the Tease Color and Style Bar team knocked it out of the park with Melissa’s hair!! What I consistently love about the team at Tease is no matter your shape, hair texture, or lifestyle, they listen and are going to give you a cut that works best for you. It’s the reason they’ve cut my hair for years and are the team we’ve partnered with for three consecutive makeover contests!
Melissa had been eying a bang-style cut and worked with the team to take the plunge. AAHHH, it turned out so wonderfully! The perfect leveling up of sophistication while still keeping a fun and playful vibe.
By also cutting some of the length, her hair now beautifully frames her face, elongates, and draws attention up vs weighing her down and adding visual weight at her bust and torso. The Tease team worked their color magic and updated her color without making a drastic hard-to-maintain change. LOVE how it turned out!
One of the best times to reassess your personal style is, well anytime, but especially at milestone ages. Melissa is in her mid-30s and her overall style was reading more youthful in a way that downplayed the wisdom she has not only from life in general but from her recent struggles. She was also in a similar rut that we’ve all been at one point or another and was buying most of her clothes from a single brand. Of course you need to find brands that work best for you because it makes shopping easier. But the best version of your personal style comes from a mix of brands that is uniquely you!
David Peck, talented local designer, and possibly one of the most generous people I know, again sponsored the Makeover for Life contest this year. He graciously gifted Melissa with two beautiful dresses, one perfect for day-to-day and one floor length for dressier occasions. Working with David is wonderful because he and his team are dedicated to making each garment the perfect fit. Because their garment manufacturing happens in-house, they are able to do nearly any alteration required.
PSA: I had the best #bts photos of David’s studio and the alterations in progress but my phone was stolen the day before the party and I lost the photos!!! My photos are backed up to the cloud but two months prior I had run out of space and hadn’t upped my storage. UGH. Make sure you have enough storage in the cloud for all your photos. ☹
For the gown, we had minor alterations – dress and hem length. For the pink dress, we brought in the waist and shortened the dress to hit at the most flattering part of her leg. Where is that unicorn location? It’s the narrowest part of your knee, right below where the thigh line begins to widen.
Pulling It All Together
No outfit is complete without accessories and and makeup!
Andrea Montgomery, a dear friend and local jewelry designer, graciously contributed jewelry for Melissa’s look. Peruvian Opal earrings and a stunning Peruvian Opal necklace pulled it all together. The pieces fit beautifully with Melissa’s personal style and the best part was their versatility. She wore it doubled with the long dress and as a long pendant with the pink dress. Love it!!
And the final piece to complete the look was my often talked about favorite heel, the Sam Edelman Hazel. It’s the perfect classic heel and comes in a jillion (29!) colors.
The Beautiful Extras
New this year, we added a skincare component – fueled by the fact that I’ve just started giving my skin the attention it’s needed. Kristie of Skincare by Kristie is AMAZING and she gifted a photo facial to Melissa. To be clear, Melissa’s skin is amazing. To keep it that way, exfoliating and deep cleaning the pores maintains her skin and provides a wonderful canvas for makeup application.
The beautiful and talented Brandie with Hollywood Hippie was back after generously participating in our last Makeover for Life event. She waved her colorfully talented wand and showed Melissa the best makeup for her skin tone and face shape. Brandie also gifted her the key makeup elements from the Hollywood Hippie makeup line that best suited Melissa. I love that Brandie educates as she applies making it easy to repeat the look at home.
And listen, did it even happen if there isn’t photographic evidence of it?? Paige Beitler of Paige Beitler Photography did an absolutely beautiful job with all the before and afters of these makeover winner’s transformations! She is wonderful to work with and so efficient. I can’t recommend her enough.
In Her Words
Here’s what Melissa had to say about the transformation. Did I cry happy tears reading it? I absolutely did.
“If I could put this entire makeover process into two words it would be, “simply amazing.” I’m still pinching myself to make sure that it actually happened. It kind of felt like I got dropped into a real-life fairy tale and I was made over into the princess. Wow.
Working with Natalie was not just fun, but empowering, educational, uplifting and encouraging. This whole process gave me a huge boost to move forward with my life and find a new normal. I’m just simply blown away at the generosity shown by the entire makeover team. Everyone was wonderful to work with and they truly took into account my lifestyle and personality- making this makeover transformational yet so practical.
One could look at the amazing clothes, jewelry, haircut, facial and fashion advice I received as the biggest change. But the biggest for me was my closet. I had become a little stuck emotionally and mentally and didn’t know how to finish cleaning my late husband’s belongings out. It had become somewhat of a depressing place to walk into, which spilled into so many other areas of my life. And I didn’t even realize it until Natalie and Ellen, of Southern Sequence came in and gently walked me through that process. I can honestly say now that my closet is a fun, happy place again. I’ve been given a physical fresh start and I’m so grateful!”
The Live Reveal
Melissa revealed her new look at the Makeover for Life party, benefitting Hope Walks, a partnership inspired by my tiniest intern who was born with a now-corrected clubfoot. You’ll hear more about the party in an upcoming blog post but in the meantime, we are ~$1000 away from doubling what we raised at our inaugural event. Would you consider helping us reach that goal? Or passing this on to someone who might be interested? If a few people give a bit it all adds up! Donate here! Note Makeover For Life in the comments so we can track it properly. <3
That $1000 will completely cover two children in their 5-year clubfoot treatment journey – in addition to family and spiritual counseling for their parents and relatives caring for them. <3
The People That Made It All Happen
It was such a joy to work with Melissa. I was honored to be a part of her new look and new day. She is a beautiful woman, an absolute ray of sunshine, and I know brighter days are ahead!
Am so grateful again to all the sponsors that contributed to his new look.
Melissa’s final look and closet, in addition to Signature Style, was sponsored by the following amazing vendors:
Please consider supporting these businesses (and those that sponsored Dave’s Makeover), because now more than ever support is needed!
Keep an eye out for the full party recap coming soon!