Fashion

Refresh Your Style: Durham's Michelle Hunt upgrades her wardrobe

After weight loss, Michelle Hunt of Durham tries to find an appropriate look to show off her slimmer figure.
After weight loss, Michelle Hunt of Durham tries to find an appropriate look to show off her slimmer figure. jleonard@newsobserver.com

Michelle Hunt, 54, lost 30 pounds five years ago and is proud she hasn’t let it creep back. “But I don't know how to choose clothes that show off my hard work without being too tight or too sexy or not right for a woman my age,” said Hunt, a consulting firm vice president in Durham. She wants to look professional and comfortable. I found a solution for her: a capsule wardrobe of body-conscious clothes that are smart, comfortable and feminine.

Before: This look says Hunt doesn’t care, but she does. She usually skips makeup and “fussiness” that takes too long in the morning. She wears jeans and tops to work but thinks it looks unprofessional. Her gray hair color makes her complexion look dull. “I have no clue how to dress,” she admits.

After hair and makeup: Vibrant hair color takes years off Hunt’s appearance. Samantha Huntley added a warm brown shade that complements Hunt’s skin, and then trimmed her short crop to create a feminine shape. To soften Hunt’s look, LaToya Simms arched her eyebrows to visually lift them, and added false lashes to open them up. She used black eyeliner and gray shadows on Hunt’s lids, bronzer on her forehead and cheeks, and a soft rosy lipstick.

After, va-voom dress: Hunt can wear this outfit to a cocktail party or special event. The navy French Connection bandage dress shows off her fit form. Classy accessories finish the look: a royal blue foldover leather clutch by Fossil, and French Connection slingbacks with a geometric pattern on the toecap.

After, jeans look chic: Here’s how you dress up denim. The black skinny jeans by Red Camel have a fitted, tailored shape, and patent peeptoe pumps by Vince Camuto add a sleek touch. The oxford blue buttonfront shirt by Ralph Lauren is paired with the Calvin Klein waisted tweed jacket with a buckle closure. The navy floral satchel bag by Tommy Hilfiger keeps the look playful.

The reaction: Hunt was shocked by her transformation. “I’ve seen other people made over, but you don’t know how good it feels until you go through it. This was so worthwhile.” She bought nearly every piece used in the makeover, and several others, enough to create dozens of fresh, chic outfits. She can tolerate a little fussiness. “I stopped coloring my hair because of the maintenance. I forgot how much I liked my darker hair color,” she said.

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