Refresh your style

CorrespondentDecember 14, 2013 

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    Photos by Juli Leonard

    Clothing from The Art of Style in Cameron Village, 2032 Cameron St., Raleigh, 919-755-3333, (

    Makeup by Nadia White and hairstyling by Kara Stephens, at Simple Bliss Spa and Salon, 113 N. Boylan Ave., Raleigh, 919-896-7641 (

    Bored with wearing the same old thing, but not sure about how to refresh your own style? Email to nominate yourself for a makeover and describe what you’d like to change about your look. Or call 919-641-0173.

Ersilia Sarno, 47, a wife, mom and family nurse practitioner from Cary, enjoys the parties, drop-ins and other celebrations during the holidays. A native of Italy, she admires beautifully made things, including clothing. But she rarely buys beautiful things for herself, even things she can easily afford. I showed her that planning ahead for the holidays isn’t just about decorating your home. A great outfit shows that you put in effort and makes the occasion feel more special. Two ensembles – one hip and modern and another soft and feminine – can take her from a house party to a night at the opera.

Before: I’d give this outfit a C+. The day dress attempts to look festive, but the droopy design and shape don’t suit Sarno’s fit frame. The dour black jacket competes with the cheerful green of the dress. The black boots and tights look like an afterthought.

Holiday hair and makeup: Kara Stephens brightened Sarno’s hair with highlights that complement her skin and eye colors, then trimmed dull ends to create shinier strands. She gave Sarno a classic updo that focuses attention on her elegant neck. Soft curls define the classic, feminine style. Nadia White polished Sarno’s look with sophisticated makeup. Concealer enhances the areas around her eyes, and foundation brightens her complexion. Golden-brown eyeshadows make the eyes sparkle, while blush adds color to cheeks. Subtle, reddish-brown lip color adds the final touch.

After, long and lean in jeans: A monochromatic outfit doesn’t have to be boring. The golden lace pattern on the Lisbeth top reveals just enough, and the sheer shirttail elongates her frame without adding bulk. The Linea classic jeans, with a waxed finish, are distinctive and can be dressed up or down. Pointed-toe Kristy pumps in an unexpected pink blush continue her long, lean line. Dawn drop earrings and the Hawley ring add more sparkle. The gold python clutch is a pretty place to stash lipstick, cash and keys.

After, dressed for cocktails: So many women wear a little black dress to every holiday party: Where’s the fun in that? This Azria knee-length stunner with the pleated skirt will stand out beautifully in a sea of LBDs, and the nude color complements Sarno’s skin tone. The long necklace frames the neckline and adds movement. The Edge of Urge cuff is another pretty conversation starter, complementing the gold python clutch and Dawn drop earrings.

The reaction: Sarno loves how the modern looks update her style and show off her figure, since she takes pains to stay healthy and fit. Kudos to Robin Berning at Simple Bliss Spa and Salon for providing free hairstyling and makeup that gave Sarno some long-overdue pampering. “My husband (Roger Gore, who got his Refresh Your Style makeover in February), tries to get me to buy things for myself all the time. But mostly I just look,” she said. “Maybe I’ll actually buy something now.” Amen.

Wilson: @SheonWilson

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