Makeovers are in the news more than ever, with plenty of press coverage of the reported $150,000 spent on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for clothing and other accoutrements of style for her campaign. As Eric Wilson wrote for the New York Times, while Palin’s labels may have changed, her look remained the same, noting, “looking at the before-and-after photos, it was not readily apparent what Ms. Palin got, exactly, from her shopping spree at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue,” rather retaining “a ‘Working Girl’ formula of authoritative jackets paired with feminine skirts that seem calculated to suggest that she is ready to go to work on Day 1.”
When a look works and conveys the appropriate message, it makes sense to keep it. Kudos to the image consultant or stylist who upgraded rather than modified Governor Palin’s attractive and perfectly appropriate clothing style.
More typical and more fun in a makeover is seeing someone’s look change significantly.
I enjoyed watching Bravo TV’s The Rachel Zoe Project, which gave an inside look at the world of perhaps the most famous of celebrity stylists. Zoe, who has an extraordinary eye, works with a select number of sample-size A-list Hollywood celebrities, dressing them for special events. On the show, we got a glimpse of the process utilized by Zoe and her staff to pull together millions of dollars worth of borrowed dresses and jewelry on loan in order to style her clients. In one of the episodes, she and her staff visit Fashion Week designers to borrow dresses as possible red carpet choices for her client Jennifer Garner, who is to be not just attending but also presenting at the Academy Awards.
I have enjoyed watching Jennifer Garner blossom since I first saw her in a guest appearance on Felicity some years ago, and her red carpet transformation under Zoe’s capable guidance has been remarkable. Her vintage gown and diamond earrings at the 2004 Academy Awards got my best-dressed vote, and she has been a fashion standout at red carpet events ever since.
And yet Garner has a down-to-earth, girl-next-door appeal that is very different from her red carpet persona. Pick up almost any celebrity magazine of the last couple of years and you’ll see a photo of Garner with her daughter Violet at the park or shopping at Whole Foods, a mother and daughter doing wonderfully normal sorts of things. Garner’s preferred style: sporty all the way—pulled back hair, casual attire, minimal jewelry.
I wrote about the sporty style personality back in October of last year, and here are some of my observations:
“The second personality style is the Sporty personality. Casual and friendly, the Sporty personality . . . tends to be low maintenance in her hair and makeup. A ponytail is a classic Sporty look.
“In apparel, the Sporty personality wears clothes that are all about practicality, ease and comfort. Some examples include business casual apparel, “preppy” looks and country club wear. Her jewelry mustn’t interfere with her active lifestyle. What this translates to is jewelry that generally isn’t large or in any way fussy, although of course it may be of very high quality. * * *
“Although the jewelry designs need to be practical from the standpoint of functionality, the Sporty personality also may like a bit of whimsy in her jewelry selections. Animal and sports themes are motifs you might find this personality type enjoys. Amusing, witty designs are a nice complement to the friendly appearance typified by the Sporty personality.”
How delightful then to see, in the November 2008 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, that Garner disclosed which piece she is coveting this fall, and she chose a diamond bee ring by Cartier.
I cannot imagine the circumstances in which a celebrity stylist would choose something as precious as a bee. This choice strikes me as genuinely and entirely Garner.
A little diamond bee ring. And wouldn’t that just tickle one’s young daughter? Perfection.