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On the New Directions Blog

Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care

For many young people, drug use and experimentation is a rite of passage of sorts. However, experimenting with drugs and alcohol is far from harmless, and can often result in lifelong...

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Our Changing Your Look Experts

Paul Greene

Paul Greene

Film and television actor, model and athlete

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Audrey Slater

Audrey Slater

Fashion director at REDBOOK who has styled dozens of celebrities...

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Nick Arrojo

Nick Arrojo

Master Stylist and owner of Arrojo Studio.

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Change Your Out-Look

Jason Seward*, a 29-year-old administrative assistant from New York, often used to throw on whatever was clean before going out. “Then, I would spend the whole night a little self-conscious about my hastily thrown-together outfit,” he says.

Motivated by a significant weight loss to undergo a style change, Jason feels more confident today. “Now I know that I look, at the very least, presentable when I'm out in public,” Jason says. “Looking better has also made me improve my posture. I make an effort to stand up straight when I walk and sit up in my chair as well. There's no reason for me to hunch over and try to be invisible anymore.”

Like Jason, nearly all of us have something we want to change about ourselves. Findings from the Social Issues Research Center suggest that more than half of American women and just less than half of American men are unsatisfied with their bodies.

The first 30 days of changing your look may bring apprehension, feelings of inferiority and even depressed thoughts. It’s often intimidating to reassess the way you dress or style your hair. After all, you’ve probably been shopping at the same places and going to the same stylist—or doing your hair on your own—for years. Some people even worry that they won’t be able to live up to the “new” them that’s been created.

These feelings are completely valid, but the positive outcomes far outweigh any fearful emotions you may be experiencing. What’s important is to figure out how you can improve on what’s already there by trying new things one step at a time. Thankfully, there are ways to change your look in the first 30 days without becoming someone else, or trying to conform to an unrealistic ideal. By simply studying the latest trends, getting advice from savvy friends and making just a bit of effort, you can get started in a way that will let you truly shine.

See a New Image

Whether you agree, it’s a fact that judgments in our society are initially based on appearance. “You are telegraphing a message to the world by how you look,” says Matthew Edelstein, fashion editor at Details magazine. “We move at such a fast pace today that often the only way for a new acquaintance, potential boss or date to appraise you is by how you look.”

Think about why you want to change your look. It may be tied to another life change that affects the way you see yourself. Perhaps you’ve just had a baby or your new job has caused you to take another look at the way you present yourself. It may have to do with how you feel about your looks in relation to who you are. If you think of yourself as confident and motivated but feel like your clothing or hair says the opposite, this is a good time to consider a style change.

However, if you think that surface improvements or surgery will fix what’s broken in a relationship; if you’re being pressured by someone else, or if you need to be a “perfect 10” and will do anything to change your look, then perhaps a bit more thinking is in order. Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to assess where you are on the inside before doing anything to the outside.

Posted: 2/8/08

Good article. Another suggestion - I asked some of the women I work with for advice after I got divorced. Because we're good friends they have become my fashion consultants. I go shopping with them, they pick out what I buy, and we have a blast doing it together.


I also went through chemo from breast surgery. I happened to have gained 100 lbs. from the chemo. I am a diabetic and I had to eat throughing up or not. Due to the steroids I gained.
The surgery taught me alot. I started on Nutregenia and bare essentials for cosmetics. That stuff really works. It also doesn't streak when you sweat. I don't mean to sound like a comercial but try out that stuff if you are persuaded to.