In 2005, Oprah tackled an issue plaguing millions of women—bad bras. After the show aired, lingerie departments were flooded by ladies looking to give their "girls" a lift.
Nordstrom reported that its sales jumped 189 percent, and bra sales nationwide rose to $5.7 billion a year…up $700 million from the year before! Lingerie expert Susan Nethero, owner of Intimacy boutiques across the country, says her saleswomen helped fit half a million women and sold more than a million bras after Oprah's intervention. "We changed the bra industry," Oprah says.
As many women learned, the right bra can help you look thinner, but what's the point if your shoes and accessories are adding extra pounds and years to your looks?
That's right, ladies. Oprah's latest fashion intervention targets frumpy flats, scuffed up sneakers and boots that have seen better days. If you bought your handbag in the junior's department or a sporting goods store, it has to go.
To help women in need of head-to-toe accessories, Oprah teamed up with three titans of trend: Adam Glassman, creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine; Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine; and Mary Alice Stephenson, celebrity stylist and contributor to Harper's Bazaar.
Inside Oprah's one-of-a-kind boutique, which is stocked with the season's hottest shoes, handbags, scarves and jewelry from Zappos.com, the transformations begin!
First up is Kathleen, a woman with a fondness for leopard print. Kathleen says she has a closet full of exotic shoes, but some are too small for her feet.
"Kathleen's heel is coming out from the back of her shoe," Adam says. "This is a no-no for any kind of shoe."
Adam says animal prints are a great look, but only if you go with a more contemporary style. To replace Kathleen's 10-year-old clogs, Adam suggests sexy leopard-print heels.
"Let's bring sexy back, shall we?" Kathleen says. "I love the leopard print, and I'm thrilled that I don't have to give it up. Now, I look sexy in them. I'm taller. I'm standing with the shoulders back, and I feel good."
Some women need help finding stylish shoes, but others simply want a good fit.
Sarah says she has trouble finding shoes that are wide enough for her feet. "My sister calls them Fred Flintstone [feet]," she says. In fact, Sarah says she's resorted to wearing her mother's brown flats.
Joe goes in search of an age-appropriate shoe Sarah can wear comfortably for hours at a time. He swaps her flats for black, pointed-toe heels, which make her wide feet look narrower instantly.
"Stuart Weitzman is amazing because, even though it's full at the top, it doesn't look like a wide shoe," Joe says.
Amy arrives at Oprah's shoe boutique wearing what can only be described as grandma shoes. Her scuffed, square-toe flats have definitely seen better days.
"You are too young and too beautiful to be wearing shoes like this," Mary Alice says.
If you're looking for a neutral shoe that goes with everything, Mary Alice says to look beyond basic black. "Prints, whether leopard prints or snake skin, go with everything you have in your closet—khakis, denim, a skirt," she says. "They're great for the office, for walking around, and they're great for at night."
Amy walks out wearing sophisticated snakeskin heels with a pop of color.
Every city has them—women who commute to work in their gym shoes. Even when she's dressed in a skirt and stockings, Julie wears her sneakers to the office and says comfort is key.
Thanks to new shoe technology, Joe says working women now have more sophisticated options—sans laces. "Cole Haan does a great shoe because what they've done is taken Nike technology and infused it into their shoe," Joe says. "It feels like a sneaker, but it really is such a great shoe. This you can keep on all day."
Julie slips on black Cole Haan flats. "They're great, and they are comfortable," she says. "I can feel the support."
Cole Haan Air Maggy Ballet in Black Suede; Zappos.com
Sure, pigs are cute, but Mary Alice says they have no place on a pair of women's shoes. When Gwen arrives in her pig-adorned flats, Mary Alice searches the stacks for more age-appropriate footwear.
"The piggy goes to the farm, honey," Mary Alice says. "You've got a fantastic figure, but you're not wearing the right shoes for your figure."
The solution? Sensational Stuart Weitzman shoe boots, or as we like to call them, shabooties!
"What's great with a heel like this is to have that platform balancing it out," Mary Alice says. "Sometimes ankle boots that are cut right [at the ankle] actually make your calves look bigger. What's so great is that it's a lower cut. It's more of a shoe boot, and shoe boots are really elongating to the leg."
Stuart Weitzman Cover Up boots in Cola Suede Zappos.com
When Oprah put out the call for women in need of an intervention, Michelle's sister Jen answered.
Jen says Michelle is stuck in the '80s…and she has the yearbook photo to prove it. Michelle is also guilty of carrying sports-themed handbags and wearing open-toed sandals with socks. "You want comfort, but you can do better than that," Joe says.
In just minutes, Joe helps Michelle make her way to the new millennium. To make her look taller and thinner, Joe pairs black pants with black suede boots. "Wearing something dark where it continues into the boot will always give you the illusion of the longer leg," he says.
One thing's for sure…Ashley got her money's worth out of her brown, mid-calf boots.
"Those boots were once made for walking, but I think no longer," Adam says.
"They kind of bit the dust," Ashley says.
Adam swaps out Ashley's scuffed boots for a pair of knee-high Cole Haan boots that make her legs look longer. "This is actually the perfect go-to boot in your entire wardrobe," he says.
Cole Haan Nancy Air Tall boots in black suede; Zappos.com
For years, Laurie has hidden her long toes in clunky black shoes, but now it's time to let them breathe! "You have to own up to your toes," Mary Alice says. "We're going to decorate your foot, and you're going to fall in love with your foot again."
Mary Alice chooses a pair of suede peep-toe heels for Laurie. "Suede is really good for you because it just kind of molds to your feet," she says. "And peep toe, now this is disguising that area you don't like."
These Nine West heels are in gray, one of the hottest colors this fall.
Katherine doesn't mind her toes or feet, but she says her ankles are eyesores. "I have no ankle, and I have a huge calf. I have cankles," she says. "I really don't know what to buy."
To hide her problem area, Katherine usually wears black socks and old flats, but Adam has something better in store.
After a day of beauty and professional styling, Katherine's legs are transformed by neutral heels. "The neutral shoe is a must-have for everyone," Adam says. "You have to match a shoe to your skin tone. … You're really drawing the eye from the toe all the way up, and you're not breaking the body. So it's a seamless, long, lean silhouette."
Katherine says she loves her new look. "You helped me kick my cankle to the curb!" she says.
Shirt: Jones New York Signature leopard shell, Macy's; skirt: Lauren by Ralph Lauren camel wool skirt, Macy's; sweater: Jones New York Signature leopard cardigan, Macy's; belt: Via Spiga faux snakeskin, Macy's; heels: Kate Spade Susie in Pale Blush Patent, Zappos.com
Karen and Beverly, sisters from England, say they have a nickname—the kiddie bag girls.
Both women carry purses decorated with colorful cartoons and wear shoes that resemble hospital slippers.
Beverly may be 50, but Mary Alice says she's wearing a purse designed for a 16-year-old. "For the first time, I'm going to have to tell a woman to act her age," Mary Alice says. "Your bags were too young. Your shoes are too old."
With a little help from our style team, Beverly looks years younger in studded ankle boots, black tights and a DKNY outfit. "When you've got curves—some thighs and some booty—the ankle boots add proportion," Mary Alice says.
Jacket and skirt: DKNY bouclé, Macy's; shell: Eileen Fisher, Macy's; necklace: Betsy Johnson, Macy's; shoes: BCBG Generation Model Bootie in black, Zappos.com
Karen, Beverly's sister, also takes years off her look with trendy accessories and form-fitting pieces.
Beverly thoughts she could never wear skinny jeans, but Mary Alice proves her wrong. The secret? This pair is made with some spandex.
A faux fur vest, knee-high boots and Marc Jacobs purse—the hot bag of the season—give Beverly an edge. "That [purse] is definitely a splurge," Mary Alice says.
Faux fur vest: Rachel for Rachel Roy, Macy's; shirt: Elie Tahari, Macy's; earrings: Rachel for Rachel Roy, Macy's; shoes: Calvin Klein Sable Boot in Black Suede, Zappos.com; bag: Marc Jacobs Large Jet in Gray, MarcJacobs.com
When Joe spots Lynn's everyday purse, he immediately thinks of one thing: Grandma's curtains. "It goes with nothing," he says. "I want to retire your grandma's drapes."
To replace the green and brown tote, Joe gives Lynn a classic black hobo bag by Kenneth Cole Reaction. It may look like a wardrobe staple, but Joe says this purse isn't for everyone.
"Lynn has a fantastic figure. She's petite. She's slim, and that sort of relaxed round shape looks great with her," he says. "But if you're fuller in figure, you don't want a round bag, because that adds an unnecessary 10 pounds. … You don't want to be round with round. You want to contrast your body shape."
Coat: Jones New York Collection, Macy's; dress: MaxMara Weekend purple dress, Macy's; belt: Nine West faux croc, Macy's; purse: Kenneth Cole Reaction Three Ring Circus Hobo, Macy's; shoes: Franco Sarto June boots in Black Leather, Zappos.com; tights: Hue black rib, Macy's
For years, Cynthia, a postal inspector, has sacrificed fashion for function. While commuting to work, she typically wears a plaid backpack and bomber jacket.
Joe says women don't have to choose anymore. He trades her backpack for a Lucky Brand messenger bag, a stylish, hands-free solution. "I feel fantastic," Cynthia says. "I feel like a different person."
A belted sweater coat also takes the place of her boxy bomber jacket. When you want to hide figure flaws, Joe says baggy clothes are not the answer. "What we did was put her in a slimmer pant and a belted jacket to show off her waist, and I think she looks 20 pounds lighter," he says.
Pants: Theory, Macy's; sweater: Anne Klein, Macy's; jacket: Alfani belted sweater jacket, Macy's; boots: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Marba in Black Kidskin, Zappos.com; purse: Lucky Brand Abbey Road, Zappos.com
When Adam meets Samar, he says her boots, skirt and tights were making her look shorter than she is. To add a few inches, Adam dresses her in mid-calf boots by Elie Tahari and matching tights.
"Someone who has thin legs can actually wear mid-calf height, but you really always have to match your shoe to your tight," he says. "It just creates a long line."
Adam pairs with Samar's red dress and coat with brown, not black, accents. "I think it's less jarring than black and red," he says. "The dress is fantastic because it has a statement necklace, which is also big this season, built right into the dress."