A new look for the new year

The new year brings many opportunities for you to change a particular part of your life and if it's a new look you are after what better way to start the year than with a Life Matters makeover. Reader Emily Hannant agrees. By Emma Harrowing.

Since Emily Hannant left school she has always had the same look: long auburn hair. For a few years Emily has toyed with the idea of going blonde, having her hair cut shorter or having a style that would give her a new look, but like many of us she decided to stick with the safe option of keeping her style the same.

Now that she is 21, Emily, from Dilham near North Walsham, is ready to take a deep breath and change her look to get away from her schoolgirl image.

Says Emily: 'I would like a fresh new look for the new year. For years I have wanted to change my look but I have always kept my look the same as it was easier to do this than try something new.

'I admire the style of Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud, especially when she went from a redhead to a blonde. Her fashionable style is also something that I would like to emulate especially how she can wear classic looks with a modern twist.'

Emily currently has two very different styles: a casual look for day and a dressed-up look for going out in the evening. Like many women she will save her best clothes for nights out and wear jeans and slouchy T-shirts during the day. This is a very old fashioned way of thinking about your clothes and harks back to the days when women would keep dresses hidden away in wardrobes only to be brought out for 'Sunday best'.

It is possible to wear your best clothes during the day and dress them up for an evening out. After all Nicola Roberts never looks drab!

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Claire Fowler and Alex Cooper, fashion advisers at John Lewis, were tasked with transforming Emily into the glamorously stylish woman she strives to be.

Says Claire: 'Emily has a great figure. As she is tall she can carry off a lot of the new styles that are coming through in the new season.

'There are many looks that you can wear during the day and then glam up for a night out. A pair of harem trousers and a blouse can be worn with pumps and a large bag during the day and then vamped up with a clutch bag, jewellery and heels for an evening in the pub.'

To show Emily how she can get a stylish look that she can wear for many occasions, Emily and Alex put her in some grey jeggings, a style of trouser that suits Emily's long slim legs, but something that Emily wouldn't usually wear.

Says Alex: 'Teaming the jeggings with a soft chiffon floral top, blazer and heels will give Emily a classically stylish look that can be worn for day and night.

'The ring and bracelets add a touch of bling to the outfit and these can be removed if Emily wants a more pared down look for the day.'

With Emily's new look in the bag it was time to tackle her auburn locks. Cue hair stylist Lauren Radcliffe at Saks on Orford Hill.

Says Lauren: 'Emily has always wanted to go blonde but she still loves her auburn hair, so I am going to put through slices of highlighted colour underneath the top layer so that when the blonde grows out Emily doesn't get any re-growth. This will enable her to change her colour if she decides that she doesn't like being blonde.

'For the cut I am going to add some style to her long hair by cutting in a full blunt fringe which will frame her face and draw out the clear blue of her eyes. By cutting three inches off the length Emily will find that her hair has more of a swoosh, which will be enhanced with the addition of long layers which I am going to cut through the thickness of her hair.

'For the style I am going to blow dry her hair and then create natural looking waves using hair straighteners.'

To complete Emily's fresh new look Kathy Carter from Sisley in John Lewis updated Emily's makeup to give her a new look for spring.

Says Kathy: 'Emily's red hair and freckled skin limits the colours she can experiment with. However, using the few key colours that complement her skin tone she can create a contemporary look that really makes the best of her features.'

After cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin, Kathy found the best colour foundation for Emily's skin by applying two different beige shades to her jaw line. The colour that disappeared into her skin was the right shade.

The foundation was applied with a brush to give a light coverage over her skin so that Emily's freckles could still be seen. Next concealer was placed under the eyes to illuminate the eye area.

For the eyes an eye shadow in Vanilla was applied over the eye lid up to the brow bone, and khaki green was applied over the eye lid to the crease. Kathy created a soft smoky eye effect by using a darker green on the outer edge of the eyelid and blending.

Black eyeliner was applied along the top and bottom lash line, and khaki eyeliner was applied over the top of the eyeliner on the top lid to give a punch of colour.

The eyes were finished with black mascara and a brown eyebrow pencil to fill in Emily's eyebrows.

For the lips, concealer was brushed over the lips to help the lipstick stay on for longer. Next a pink lip liner was used to shape the lips and a pale pink lipstick was applied across the lips.

For the cheeks a bronzer in a pale beige colour was applied along the cheekbone.

The verdict

Says Emily: 'Wow! I look amazing! I love my clothes, especially the blazer and the jeggings. I cannot believe that when I first saw the jeggings I said that I wouldn't wear them as they look great!

'My makeup is gorgeous. I would never have thought that I could wear khaki as I also stick to brown tones, but my makeup looks really nice.

'The best thing about my makeover is my hair. I have wanted to go blonde for a while now, but never had the courage to ask for it at the hairdressers. I like the fact that I have kept my auburn colour on the roots and that the blonde pieces just show through the length of my hair.

'I wish I had a makeover before!'