Sexy Back Makeovers
To help four women reclaim a little bit of the sexy, Oprah reunites the team behind the O, The Oprah Magazine article "Hello, Sexy!" from the July 2008 issue.
Adam Glassman is the creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine and Valerie Monroe is O 's beauty director. Rounding out the team is celebrity stylist Jill Swid, hairstylist to the stars Ken Paves, makeup artist Mally Roncal and eyebrow expert Eliza.
Stephanie says looking in the mirror calls up painful memories of childhood. "They called me cross-eyed, they called me 'Frankenstein's daughter,' and I think it fed over into a self-esteem problem as I got older."
As a married woman, Stephanie says she wants the opportunity to wow her husband. "I would like a chance to look sexy and nice and dress up for my husband," she says. "I just never feel sexy, and I'd just like to know what it's like for once in my life to feel sexy."
"I'm so moved by her, I don't even remember what she looked like a few days ago. I have to look up there and go, 'Wow, that's Stephanie?'" Adam says. "We really brought her inner and her outer together. She's sort of like a butterfly that's come out of a cocoon."
Ken cut inches off Stephanie's long, fine hair to create movement and layers. "Even before we styled it, she looked in the mirror earlier and was like: 'Oh my God. That's me. I look really good,'" he says. "It's kind of freeing and liberating to embrace your own beauty and tell the world you are beautiful."
Val says it's no mistake Stephanie was so down on herself. "I can think of two things that are really unsexy, which [are] not feeling well and then hanging around dead people," she says.
To keep feeling as good about herself as she does now, Val says Stephanie needs to create a way to delineate work and play. "So that she can realize that it's time to go back to herself," she says. "She might want to take a warm shower or take a walk or something just so that she can remember her body, that she can play a little bit, that she can have some fun."
Her closet is stuffed with T-shirts, leggings and granny panties. "I'd like to see my wife wear something that really accentuated her figure that didn't make her look like an oval," says Suzanne's husband, Christopher. "She wears things that make her look overweight, and she's clearly not overweight."
"Being sexy is essential to being a woman. Part of being sexy is taking care of yourself and loving yourself," Suzanne says. "I would love to fall in love with myself again."
Jill says they dressed Suzanne in a romantically soft, pewter Carmen Marc Valvo skirt and gray Douglas Hannant Insignia blouse—with just a glimpse of a red bra. "Just like a little peek-a-boo to add a little allure," Jill says. "An illusion of some sexiness."
To pull this sexy look off, Jill and Adam say you'll need a pretty bra with just a little lace showing or a camisole or corset. "She's exposed, but I think people are used to seeing sort of innerwear as outerwear," Adam says.
Adam says separates like those in Suzanne's outfit allow you mix-and-match in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
After years of a beauty regimen that dehydrated Suzanne's hair, Ken says he used moisturizing products to rehydrate her locks. Then, Ken says, they added chestnut and honey highlights to give her hair dimension.
Jill says a long skirt is perfect for all body types and can be found at every price point and in any store. "You can find it everywhere," Jill says. "And it works on everyone."
Barbara says it's not only the uniform that keeps her from feeling sexy. "Menopause damaged the physical vision I have of myself. I don't look the same. I don't feel the same," Barbara says. "Maybe I've given up a little bit. Maybe that's how I lost my sexy."
"Smokin'!" Barbara says as she flaunts her gold David Meister dress .
Adam agrees. "Barbara is oozing liquid gold in this dress," he says.
"At each stage of your life, you should know your best and you should hide your worst, and she definitely accentuates her best," Jill says. "She just exudes sexuality."
Adam says they recognized that Barbara's job and lifestyle—including her Harley-Davidson motorcycle—are actually really sexy, and they wanted to bring her outside appearance up to those standards. "And because she's in pants all the time, we wanted to sort of show her the complete opposite," he says.
Jill says getting clothing tailored can make all the difference. "Fit is everything," she says. "You all look sexier because you have tight clothing that embraces your body.
Ken says he wanted to make a drastic change for Barbara to allow her to redefine herself in way unrelated to her job. "Cut it off and go drastic. Don't go an inch or two," he says about her new 'do. "She said she felt completely new and free."
Tania says she spends time everyday thinking about how sexy she used to feel. She even keeps one of her fashion photos stuck to her refrigerator.
Working from home, Tania says she sticks to T-shirts, casual shorts and sneakers. "That sexiness that I've lost has made me more introverted. I tend to say to myself, 'I don't care who looks at me or who sees me or what mother sees me with no makeup on.' My hair [has not been done] since March," she says. "But I really do care."
Jill says a black dress may not be exactly right for this season, but that's no problem. "A black dress is an investment," she says. "It's a key item for everyone to have in their wardrobe in their closet."
Val says Tania is a classic example of a mother who lost her mojo by giving all her energy to her kids. "What she wants to do, as all mothers of young kids need to do, is to remember to take a little bit of time for herself," she says. "All you need is half an hour a week to do something special for yourself just to get yourself back in your body."
Ken wants Tania to do one very important thing the minute she gets home. "Replace that photo," he says. The 15-year-old fashion photo only serves as a constant reminder of what once was. "You will never look like that again," he says. "You may have that hair again; you may have those clothes again. But we change."
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Oprah says a great way to feel sexy is to purge your closet. "There are too many wire hangers in all these closets," Jill says.
Ask Val your beauty questions.
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