Saturday, January 28, 2006

Always in Fashion: Makeovers

Want to get a fabulous new wardrobe for about $200? Change your haircut and color. It really does make everything have you look completely different, especially items like makeup and jewelry. For example, cut your hair short and all of sudden, your earrings are the most important part of your outfit. Change your color from blonde to brunette (or just a new shade of the same color) and even your most tried and true items will look fresh.

I just got a new haircut and color (yes, even the Fashionable Kiffen needs a makeover from time to time), and it was a big change. It's an ultra-short, platinum blonde pixie style - it definitely makes a statement. And it makes all my clothes and accessories look that much more fabulous. (For those you in the Chicago area, I went to the Anthony Peters Salon in Oak Park, and they are amazing). It's made me think, however, about makeovers and their role in fashion and our culture in general. After all, there are so many makeover shows on TV that you can probably watch someone getting made over 24/7, if you were so inclined.

But really, everyone loves a good makeover story. From Emma to My Fair Lady to Clueless, our movies, TV and pop culture are filled with Cinderella-style transformations. Shopping itself is really about makeovers - why else would we want new things? Every shopping trip is a chance to try on a new look, a new style, or even a new personality. After all, nothing livens up a basic black look like a pair of hot pink shoes. Fashion, in the end, is really about adding some of that zing to every day. It's about the fantasy - that a new look can make you a new and different person.

So what's the deal? Although no woman should underestimate the transformative power of a new haircut or the perfect little black dress (sometimes, a new shade of lipstick really is all takes to brighten up a bad day), we seem to have gotten the notion that getting your teeth bleached, dyeing your hair blonde, or slipping into a pair of designer jeans will solve all your problems.

Now clearly, no one is immune to the power of a fantastic haircut, or a perfect new outfit. It really can change your outlook on life. But that's all - changing your appearance cannot change your life (with the possible exception of losing large amounts of weight). It can and will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face, but a makeover can't make your problems go away. We're on a slippery slope here - plastic surgery, which is becoming not only fashionable but common, is being touted as the "answer" by the media. However, a new look, no matter how drastic a change, can't make your problems go away.

What a makeover can do, however, is rejuvenate you; a new hairstyle will make you feel bulletproof. Next time you've got a major interview, or another nerve-racking event, try wearing a new pair of shoes. Add highlights to your hair. Or even just wear a bold color you've never tried before that looks great with your complexion. You'll be invincible.

But you've got to keep it all in perspective; you may feel like someone else, but even in a chic new suit (or a new nose!), you''re still the same fabulous person whether you're wearing Kmart or Chanel. Take a makeover for what it's worth - change is one of the reasons we all love fashion - but remember that sometimes a haircut is just a haircut.

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