Gail finds a new confidence in fashion again
This week's special pre-New Year's Eve Lifestyle feature sees Newcastle-born Gail Simpson transform from leggings and tracksuit bottoms to ultimate glamour.
Under the watchful eye of colour and style consultant Catherine Robinson, Gail re-discovered her love of clothes and had a few 'Pretty Woman' experiences.
Gail underwent her own private transformation over the last few years, dropping from size 22 to 12 and is now determined to flaunt her renewed confidence through the sophisticated styles she picked up during the shoot.
The mum-of-two, who lives in Maguiresbridge with her husband and works in the Manor House Hotel, sought Catherine's advice and was amazed by the result.
"I had gained confidence after losing weight," Gail says, "but this is a different kind of confidence."
"Gail is going to Australia to visit her two sons in January," Catherine explains. "The aim is to take fashion to the Ozzies and she wants her sons to see her step off the plane and say 'Wow.'"
Catherine continues: "That's not going to be easy to maintain on a 24-hour journey."
"The last time I visited my sons I wore cut offs and vest tops," Gail recalls. "This time will be different!"
Catherine began with a body and colour consultation. "Gail can't go big on the shoulders but we can afford to add an illusion at her waist," she notes. "Her short haircut suits her face shape and she can't have long earrings as she has a long face; that's the level of detail I'm going into," she adds.
A 'wardrobe audit' was next on the agenda. "There are three reasons for a clearout: to get rid of junk, build outfits from what you've got and identify what pieces are missing," Catherine states.
"I can't believe the outfits Catherine put together for me. I have less clothes but more to wear!" says Gail.
"I had so many things I had got for a 'bargain' and never put on my back, like most women. I would wear a suit to work each day and comfort clothes the rest of the time."
The thought of shopping for weddings in particular horrified Gail. "I would buy six dresses and bags and bring everything back." Now, Gail has been supplied with a personalised colour chart and notebook so she can continue to follow Catherine's lead while shopping around town.
"I will take what I've learnt with me and have already bought a new pair of boots and am going shopping with my mum later," Gail said.
Her first outfit is a smart-casual ensemble, kindly provided by Graham Womenswear. Each piece came from Graham's exclusive Armani range. The navy baby corduroy jeans were "perfect" with Gail's height. These were teamed with a navy and mushroom check blazer, a gold lurex Henley-style top and a silk Armani logo scarf. Her brown boots and bag were from Clarks.
"I wouldn't have known to put this together,"Gail comments. "I would have thought I would need a navy jacket to go with the jeans but when I put it on I felt a million dollars."
Gail's second and favourite outfit was a Michael Kors navy jersey silk dress, also from Graham's Womenswear. The store was "absolutely delighted" to be asked to feature the famous American designer's fashion, particularly his world-renowned handbags. These are very popular locally as the only other Michael Kors stockist in the region is House of Fraser.
"This outfit is perfect for a day's shopping followed by an evening meal at a fancy restaurant," Catherine comments.
Featuring Michael Kors' trademark chain print and leather and gold detail on the front, the jersey dress made Gail feel "feminine and glamorous." Kors' tan soft leather handbag completed the elegant and comfortable look.
"I just loved this dress," Gail states. "I felt so womanly, feminine and glam!"
Gail's final outfit was "an eye-poppingly good" ball gown; perfect for a New year's Eve party. The gold Super Fashions 'Simply Devine' backless evening wear dress is available in City Lady and features jewelled embellishment and a figure hugging fishtail skirt.
"I put it on and I said: 'Can we go out now?'" Gail laughs. "I wanted to walk around Erneside and say: 'Look at me'. It was a real Pretty Woman moment."
Gail adds: "I wish my husband could have seen me but he'll see the photos."
Gail's hair was styled by Ronan from Clive Alexander's Haircutters, based in Erneside Shopping Centre. Gail commends him for giving her "three different hairstyles out of one haircut."
Her make-up was done by Siobhan Grey from Killadeas, who uses High Definition Airbrush Makeup. The product is famous for its use on X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.
The elegant set furniture was provided by Delta House and Home, Enniskillen.
"Within the space of a week I've got my love of clothes back," concludes Gail.
"I have my outfits for the next few days planned out and I get them ready the night before like you used to when you were going to school. I'm so excited."
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 28 Dec 12