Photo: Sarra Fleur Abou-El-Haj
Adam thinks that Lisa has an innate sense of style—"every woman does," he says—but doesn't know it. He and fashion stylist JoJo Cohen ask Lisa to tear out magazine pictures of outfits she likes. She gravitates toward jewel tones and classic looks, with edgy elements thrown in (a big necklace, funky boots). Adam thinks her choices are intuitively right. "I like the idea of bold color because it implies, Look at me!" he says. "Lisa has worked very hard. She should be noticed."
During a week with O's makeover "dream team," Lisa has her hair cut and colored, her teeth whitened, her makeup done, and her bra fitted. Adam begins his makeover with pieces from her closet that have potential, along with several new outfits. He wants to create distinct looks for work, for weekend, and for evening. As he shows her one option, Lisa balks. "Don't be afraid of white jeans," Adam says. "You can toss them in the washing machine, and you can wear them in the fall. There are no season rules anymore." He also insists she throw out her granny panties and buy some thongs: "Anything else will give you ugly panty lines!"
When our ten-hour photo shoot wraps up, Lisa is a little shell-shocked but happy. "The great thing about this makeover is it's not a Cinderella story or fairy tale," Adam says. "All the pieces are low-maintenance, and we worked with the clothes Lisa has and the brands and stores she's comfortable with."
Lisa agrees, and adds that she's found more than a sense of style. "I think if I look good, I'll feel good," she says. "And I'll be an inspiration to my daughters and the people in my support groups." She ticks off other things she's learned: "That I can wear red and pink together, that a good bra makes all the difference—and that I can sit here comfortably in a thong."
A few weeks later, Lisa reports she's seeing even more changes. In the past, she had avoided attending parties with her husband's high school friends and their wives, feeling that she didn't fit in, but for the next get-together, her husband RSVP'd for both of them. He told Lisa that he wants to show her off. And for the first time, she says, "I'm really looking forward to going."
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