It wasnt starting a new job that threw Shannon Mann, 42, into a tizzy. It was figuring out what to wear. She begins a new gig in public relations at the VA Medical Center in Durham this month, but shes a bit rusty at picking out outfits for work. The Air Force major has worn a green uniform with green boots and her hair in a bun for 11 years, so shes been getting dressed on autopilot. A member of the Air Force Reserve for 24 years, the Clayton wife and mom went full-time in her military career in 2003. I have no idea what to wear in an office environment now, she said. I need help knowing what is stylish and professional, age-appropriate and comfortable. I showed her how to build a wardrobe from the feet up.
Before (first photo): Heres the deal with a uniform: Its easy to wear, mostly covers up figure flaws and takes the effort out of getting dressed. The downside: You look like a dude, because the clothes are unisex. It suppresses your femininity in a way thats convenient for work, but bad for womanliness.
Hair and makeup do-over (second photo): Abby Schotte cut Manns hair to chin length, which draws attention to her sculpted jawline, and added golden highlights. The new shape and color give Mann a polished look. Nadia White did a full glamour makeup application, from moisture cream to lipstick, drawing attention to Manns eyes and attractive face shape. Mann can use a toned-down version of this for her everyday look.
After, No slacking (second photo): Each element of this outfit will coordinate seamlessly with other items in Manns wardrobe, expanding her options. The teal Madison V-neck cardigan plays well with the navy and ivory Jones New York collection printed blouse. The Rye stretch trousers are soft but substantial enough to keep their shape after hours of wear. Calvin Klein pointy-toe pumps are stylish and comfortable for long walks across the hospital campus. The gold Lauren Ralph Lauren dome satchel is functional and pretty.
After, Best dress (third photo): This Lauren Ralph Lauren dress in British tan and navy will be a workhorse for Mann. Changing the accessories will make it work for many occasions. Color-blocking on the sides adds slimming detail. Calvin Klein pointy-toe pumps flatter her legs. The metallic Lauren Ralph Lauren dome satchel adds personality.
The reaction: Kudos to Simple Bliss Spa and Salon for the free hairstyling and makeup session it gave Mann. She loves the shorter haircut and thinks her new look is more polished and professional. Belk gave a 20 percent discount, and Mann bought nearly everything you see. I am super excited about my new look, she said. Thanks so much.