7 easy ways to give yourself an affordable makeover

Linda Arroz, motivational speaker, lifestyle expert and co-author of Affordable Couture, offers a few tips on how to give yourself a makeover without spending a fortune.

Makeovers, transformations, metamorphoses — call them what you like, they are timeless.

In the Wizard of Oz, the characters all underwent makeovers before they were allowed to see the wizard. The wizard empowered the characters by giving them each a symbolic representation of what they hoped to become. The characters needed the external reinforcement to believe in themselves.

7 easy steps for an affordable makeover

Everybody loves a good, affordable makeover

Everybody likes makeovers. Why else would major magazines like InStyle and Oprah publish annual makeover issues? These magazines, as well as a number of television shows, capitalize on our fascination with the before and after images of both celebrities and real people.

Women just want to get dressed. Today the average American woman wears a size 14 or larger, yet the messages received from the media show mostly younger women who are always thin and very attractive. This dampens enthusiasm for squeezing into the latest runway fashions. Women want to feel pretty and look good in their clothes. But often, the outcry is more like, I can’t find it. It doesn’t fit. I can’t wear that!

“It’s simply a matter of taking the time to think about your personal style,” says former Hollywood stylist Linda Arroz, co-author with Jemi Armstrong of the book Affordable Couture.

Arroz gave herself a makeover and went from working as a spot welder on the assembly line to becoming one of the first plus-size spokesmodels to get a contract from a major brand (the Spiegel catalog).

Based on her makeover method — If You Can Be That You Can Wear That — Arroz says the following seven guidelines will help anyone orchestrate their own affordable makeover.

1Beat the fat fight

Do you feel fat — and if so, do you act fat?

beautiful woman gray skirt black jacketThe way to beat the fat fight doesn’t start with your weight. You don’t have to say a word to broadcast low self-esteem. Negative body language provides plenty of information.

Pay attention to how you move. Do you sit down — or do you plop? When you stand up, do you automatically start adjusting your clothing? Observe your actions. Are you always struggling with a slipping bra strap, pulling your pants up, or tugging at your top? If so, stop. These actions insinuate discomfort with yourself and ill-fitting clothing.

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2Stand up straight

Using the correct posture is an essential step to looking thinner and taller.

Good posture can eliminate and prevent body discomfort and pain. Anyone who is or has been overweight, or is full-busted, has a tendency to slump forward.

Spending hours sitting in front of a computer and long commutes are a recipe for poor posture. Becoming aware of your posture is the first step in becoming aware of your body. Lifting the shoulder blades up, back and down, lifts your rib cage and opens up your torso, creating a bit of length, which can suggest a waist and make you look a bit thinner.

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3Your closet: The emotional landmine

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then your cluttered closet spells encyclopedias about your emotional well-being.

Clothing can trigger emotional responses like guilt, which slows you down and holds you back. For example, you may have purchased a dress that was a size too small, fully intending to lose weight, but there it is, taking up valuable space and reminding you of your failure. Impulse purchases, often sale items that don’t have partners, like a blouse that doesn’t match any of your pants or skirts, hang there like a neon sign that spells “waste of money.”

>> Smart ways to save even more money at discount stores

Do a quick closet audit. Remove items that need repairing, store seasonal things, and organize the rest of your clothes by item and color; tops, bottoms, jackets, dresses, etc.

Start an acquisition list of things you need to complete outfits, including things that require mending. Add categories like outerwear and cocktail attire to guide you towards purchases you really need, and help you avoid making more mistakes. You’ll feel in control and eventually you’ll have more choices when it comes to getting dressed.

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4What your bra says about you

Back rolls and lines attract the wrong kind of attention.

It’s said that close to 80 percent of American women are wearing the wrong size and style bra at any given time. The right bra supports and shapes you. Whether you’re small or full-busted, full-figured, have recently gained or lost weight, are nursing a baby, or have had breast surgery, you probably don’t have the right wardrobe of bras for your size, shape and lifestyle.

cute woman floral dressFiber technology and a burgeoning classification of intimate apparel referred to as body shapers can contour and smooth your whole body. You can go down a dress size, look 10 to 20 pounds thinner, and boost or lift your breasts with the right foundations.

>> The best way to wash, dry & store your bras

5Size counts, but only if its the wrong size.

Just because the clothes fit, doesn’t mean they’re right for you.

What size are you? You may wear three to four different sizes depending on the cut, shape or manufacturer. No matter what size you think you wear, wear the size that fits. Clothes that are too tight look cheap and oversize can often be overkill and actually make you look bigger.

Schedule a date with your wardrobe and get rid of clothes you don’t feel good in. Less is more if you look and feel more attractive.

Alterations can be your best ally in ensuring a better fit. Invest in alterations for your more costly garments and things you wear all the time, like jeans.

6Look good in the uniform: How to dress for every situation

If clothes could talk, what would your clothes really say about you?

If you look the part, people will assume you can play it. When you watch TV or a movie, you don’t question the character, you believe the character, partly because they “look the part.”

Looking the part isn’t just for Hollywood — it’s for all the roles you play in your life. Who is your audience?

Check out the film “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith. The film’s universal theme is how to climb the ladder and better oneself. Griffith’s character borrows her boss’s clothes and pretends to be an executive, when she’s really a secretary in the steno pool. She wins over the minds of seasoned businessmen because she looks the part.

Whether you are in the corporate environment or a busy entrepreneur, there is a uniform for your profession and lifestyle. Keep your wardrobe choices simple and invest in a color palate of seasonal neutrals. Look at the optical illusions certain design details create on your body.

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7Start at the top

Nothing spells dated like a hairstyle from the past — retro looks aside.

pretty woman striped tank topConsultations are free at most hair salons and department store make-up counters. Pull pages from magazines of looks you like, and find out what salon the person whose hair you like the most goes to. Be realistic about how much time you’re willing to spend styling your hair.

One good investment is to get a hair smoothing treatment. Hair smoothing treatments, like Zerran’s RealLisse, give women control over their hair, cut down on styling time and eliminate frizz. Smoothing treatments often last two to four months, and can mean never having a bad hair day again.

Makeup is another easy way to update your look. If your lipstick bleeds, switch to a sheer gloss or use a long-lasting lip product like Cover Girl Outlast. Avoid reds that tend to make your teeth look yellow. Try a multipurpose product like a tinted moisturizer with an SPF like Sheer Activity from IQ Beauty, it goes on quickly, has light reflecting properties and creates a smoother, more youthful appearance.

>> Beauty on a budget: Quick fixes to make makeup last

Unless you’re Adele or a model, skip the heavy eyeliner for daytime. Many women think if they line their upper and lower lids that they’ll look better, but they end up looking older.

Fashionable and trendy styles of eyeglasses are all the rage. Look for local deals, check out Costco and discount sites like Zenni, or find places to use your AAA membership for discounts. New eyeglasses make all the difference in how you look to the world.

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