How to make over or discover your personal style

Makeover Before/After

It seems there is no better time for a makeover than during a life transition. It may be getting pregnant or having a baby or a relationship beginning or ending. In the case of Liz Markel, it was a career change.

Due to an injury to her wrist, Liz, a 31-year-old native Californian and present Portlander, has had to take a step back from her work in the restaurant service industry to re-evaluate her career path. Armed with her bachelor’s degree in social work from Portland State University and 15 years of field and product experience, she is now pursuing a career as a purveyor for a local food or beverage company. Having spent the past decade in a “uniform” of black and white, it’s easy to understand how Liz felt paralyzed about how to discover her personal style.

The hair

Liz had not had a proper haircut in over a year, so I took her to cut-and-color expert Mandy Zelinka of The Zelinka Agency. Mandy’s evaluation was that Liz seemed super-cool and Mandy wanted Liz’s hair to embody that same vibe.

Mandy lightened and gave shape to Liz’s hair by taking the length up substantially, to her collarbone, and cutting in some eye-framing bangs. To stay true to Liz’s low-maintenance lifestyle, Mandy placed baby highlights just around the face. The softer highlights are easier to keep up with than something more dramatic.

Liz tells me, “With my wrist injury my old hair had become a burden. With my new style it’s quick and easy and really shows off my facial features.”

The makeup

Being that Liz is a minimalist with her makeup regimen, putting her in the hands of makeup consultant and healthy skin enthusiast Kelli Thomsen was the right move. Kelli taught Liz how to maximize what made Liz uniquely beautiful, like her freckles, cheekbones and eyebrows.

Liz tells me, “Kelli taught me that it’s in our own differences that we find our own unique beauty. She revolutionized what’s going on currently with my lips and cheekbones.”

The outfit

Liz and I went shopping last. We’d already had an extensive conversation about her lifestyle needs as well as what she wanted her style to look and feel like. Once I got a look at her hair and makeup makeover, I knew we needed to visit the perfect boutique for any lover of dresses, Amelia on Northeast Alberta Street.

We searched the racks oohing and ahhing over the beautiful fabrics and cuts, selecting a handful to try on. Liz wanted to feel beautiful and loved a hint of vintage.

She was hesitant to wear a pattern with lots of colors, which is common for someone with a history of only black and white. I had her rate the dresses, with 1 being “take it off of me now” to 10, which would mean “never take this dress off of me.” Liz told me she “wasn’t a 10-er,” meaning she never gave much a 10.

That is, until we tried on the Apricity dress. Liz literally started dancing about, announcing to the boutique in full that we had found a “perfect 10.”

We finished it off with shoes from pedX, also on Northeast Alberta. We chose some Campers, which were perfect for her clog-conformed feet but stylish enough to get my approval.

In the end, I had to agree with Liz: It was in fact a “perfect 10” look. Not just because some talented artists had done their work on her, but because Liz’s outside appearance finally reflected the astonishing human being Mandy, Kelli and I had the privilege of getting to know and work with. That is what personal style looks like.

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