Miss Joanna was gracious enough to let me take before and after pictures of her transformation (many of my clients would balk at the idea of having their weight, size or pictures displayed so publicly), so props to her for her boldness. I am using this for educational purposes, so sit back and watch the metamorphosis!

Joanna had a “black-tie optional” summer wedding to attend this summer. She wanted my help in styling her look, so I opted to order a few dresses for her from Rent the Runway, so we had a few options to play with.

Here’s a little insight into my styling process:

A little background on Jojo: in her own words she’s “sturdy” and petite (5’2 and a size 12) and has an apple/inverted triangle shaped body, which means she carries her weight in her midsection; however, it also means she’s broad shouldered and wide throughout her back, but is smaller on her bottom and legs (hence the inverted triangle shape). Jojo often makes the mistake of wearing giant tarps (here’s my Stacey London moment), which is a huge no-no in my book. Many women do this to hide their perceived problem spots, such as a pudgy belly. This only makes you look bigger, ladies! Say no to frump girl. It’s better to wear clothes that are tailored and skim your curves, rather than hide in shapeless sacks.

What WILL I allow, then? Well, the plan of action was to find something tailored for Jojo in a structured fabric that skimmed her curves.

If you don’t have a defined waistline like Jojo, the goal is to fake an hourglass shape, raise the eye up and create a waistline. The best place to do this is just under your last rib at your natural waist. Since Jojo carries weight in her lower tummy, the waistline needed to be up higher so it could flow away from her lower tummy (so we were looking for an A-line shape). Not only would this create an hourglass shape, define her waistline, and disguise her lower tummy, it would also balance out her broad shoulders! Volume on the bottom (A-line) balances out the broadness throughout her shoulders.


Jojo is blonde with cool undertones, so I went with cobalt blue (which also happened to be a hot color for summer) in a neoprene fabric. This gave the Eloquii dress the perfect amount of structure, tailored to her body, but still giving the skirt some asymmetry and flounce, great for that bit of nighttime formality. Jojo’s ears aren’t pierced, so I broke up the crew neck with a layered, textured statement necklace, giving it some fun visual interest. We finished the look with a bold gold cuff, cocktail ring, and medium sized, bone-colored python clutch.

Last, but not least, I insisted Jojo wear nude heels. This was something I fought her tooth and nail on – Jojo wanted to wear wooden block-heeled sandals with gold straps that were two inches high. No. When you’re 5’2 and the wedding is black tie optional, you need the illusion of height.

The before and after speaks for itself. VOILA.



The icing on the cake? I did Jojo’s hair and makeup, which makes a big difference when you are going to an event where you are having professional pictures with flash photography taken. Before she left, I taught Jojo how to stand and pose in pictures (she has less than ideal posture in the first set of pictures, and she agrees with me on this). What a difference it makes, no? She looks so beautiful, grown up and polished! And look at her tiny waist! Va-va-voom.

Having clothes that fit and flatter can change the way people perceive us, and the way we feel about ourselves.

You can see why I love what I do!

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