Saturday, May 8, 2010

Image Journey

I've always been a fashionista, as this early photo will attest.  And I'm the ultimate girly-girl.  My idea of the perfect day is lunch and shopping with girlfriends.  Nothing makes me happier than a new pair of shoes.  I drool over fashion magazines.  I fantasize about the dress Carolina Herrera would make for my Oscar appearance (should Renee Zellweger be a no show).

And while I think I've always been well-dressed and stylish, I've never really had A style.  I'll be the first to admit that my wardrobe over the first ten or so years of my professional life consisted of the typical PR agency girl's staples: black pants, conservative cardigans, sensible but colorful pumps.  I loved my long, crazy curly hair, but was forever putting it back in a bun because I didn't really know what to do with it.  And while I possessed entirely too much make-up, I never really had a clue how to apply it, so I'd rifle through a drawer full of stuff and end up wearing just lip gloss and mascara.

Add to this the fact that nearly halfway through my 30's, but most people I meet still think I'm 25,  and that after nearly three years into owning my own business, my idea of getting "dressed" for a meeting is taking a quick shower--well, it was time for a makeover.

The first step was cleaning out my closet.  I was only wearing a small fraction of the clothes in there, so I dumped anything I deemed too corporate, too fussy, to prudish, too boring, too young, too expected.  I donated every single suit I own, and my mom will be thrilled to know that black is no longer my favorite color.

Then it was on to my unruly mane.  Enter hair magician Stephanie Erxleben Turner, a friend from childhood who also got the heck out of Florence, South Carolina and has done well for herself in the big city.  Through the magic of Facebook, she contacted me and offered to cut my hair. 

I like to mock those people on What Not to Wear who bitch and moan about getting their hair cut, but honestly, I'm the same way.  But my hair had become a crutch and a burden and quite frankly, I was close to pulling a Brittany Spears because I was that tired of dealing with it.

And there's something about someone who knew you when your hair was bigger than your head, when you tight rolled your jeans and thought New Kids on the Block was cool, to inspire trust.  And Stephanie did not disappoint.

Best. Haircut. Ever. I immediately felt sexier, sassier, more confident--exactly the image I want to project.  And it was SHORT.  Yes, not short compared to most people's standards, but short to me.  Who knew?  I'm a short hair girl!

Then, it was on to make-up and what my friend Alyson Hoag calls the Image Journey.  What I love about this process is it's just that--a process, thoughtful and personal.  Aly created a look for me--using mostly the contents of my chaotic make-up bag--to develop a style that's uniquely me.  Inspired by not only pictures of some of my style icons (Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johannson) and designers (Chanel, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Alberta Ferretti), but words  and impressions (confident, fresh, flirty, feminine, soft, lucious, glowing, dreamy, graceful, clean).

The end result:

And what I love about this transformation?  It's still me, but it's grown-up, more confident, more poised successful entrepeneur me.  And yes, I still feel confident running to the store without make-up or meeting friends in my running clothes, but I now feel like the outside matches the inside.  That I'm projecting an image of strength, confidence and even boldness.  I now look the part.

And maybe, just maybe the next time I meet someone, they'll really believe I'm the president of my company, not the intern.


  1. You look fabulous!

    P.S.: You did before, as well. It's the smile.

  2. Well, I saw the new cut two days in a row, and you look great. It is so "you." Thanks for sharing your process! I can totally relate. :-)


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