How to be ready to face the world again

Bouncing back from a failed relationship is difficult but a new look can give you a whole new perspective on life, as Life Matters reader Amanda Gillies finds out. By Emma Harrowing

It's a feeling that many of us women experience at sometime in our lives when you look into the mirror and see a frumpy woman looking back at you. The feeling can strike at any time – as you get older, when you just catch a glimpse of your reflection in a shop window or if your relationship breaks down and you start to doubt yourself.

For Amanda Gillies from Norwich her lack of confidence in the way she looks is partly down to the latter.

'Just before Christmas last year my partner of 20 years announced that he was leaving me as he had met someone else,' says 43-year-old Amanda. 'We have two teenage boys and the news just broke our hearts.

'At the time I thought that life wouldn't go on, but over time I have become stronger.

'However, I've lost the confidence to get out and start again. Being in my forties I'm finding it a lot harder to go out and meet new people.'

To help Amanda get the boost she needs she wrote to Life Matters to ask for help with her style. Here are the results.

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Amanda has lost two stone in weight since her relationship ended and so she needs some advice on how to dress her new shape. Emma Parncutt, one of the personal shoppers at Debenhams was on hand to give her some advice.

Says Emma: 'I want to show Amanda how she can get a funky new look to suit her new shape. At the moment she feels comfortable wearing a stretchy denim skirt and a baggy t-shirt or jumper that hides her body, it would be great to show her how she can dress to show off her figure.

'Amanda is top heavy so a pair of flared or bootleg jeans worn with a heel will lengthen her legs and balance out her top half. A scoop or V-neck top and a fitted jacket will flatter her bust and create the illusion of a smaller top half. Baggy tops just make your top half look bigger.

'Therefore I have chosen a printed tunic top which has an empire line and a V-neck over a pair of flared jeans.

'As Amanda is not used to wearing heels I have put her in a pair of block heel platforms as these give some height but are easier to walk in than traditional heels.

'Layering a tan leather jacket over the tunic and adding a chunky statement necklace gives Amanda's new look a contemporary edge, which suits her bubbly personality.'


To give Amanda a new hairstyle to go with her revamped look, Lauren at the newly launched Saks hair salon on Orford Hill cut and coloured Amanda's tresses to give her hair a much-needed boost.

Says Lauren: 'With summer on the way I'm going to keep Amanda's blonde colour and give it a revamp with some clean blonde highlights mixed with darker blonde shades to give it a natural look.

'Amanda's hair is in need of a good cut and style so I'm going to create a graduated bob style by cutting the back slightly shorter than the front. By cutting in layers and a heavier fringe, Amanda will have a style that she can wear tousled and messy or straight and sleek.'


With her hair primped and preened and her clothes updated, Amanda Douglas at Clinique in Debenhams uses the new Milly collection to add the finishing touches to her look.

Says Amanda: 'This season's Milly palette contains a mixture of pink, browns and cream, which can be adapted to suit most people's skin tone. The colours will work really well with Amanda's colouring and her outfit. 'Makeup palettes are an easy way to update your look as they contain all the colours you need to create a natural or smoky eye look.'

Get Amanda's look

For the base

After cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin, find a foundation that matches your skin colour as this will give you a natural flawless finish and a good base on which to start adding colour. Use a concealer (Amanda used Clinique's Airbrush concealer) under the eyes to get rid of any dark circles and across the eye lids as this acts as a good base for eye makeup.

As Amanda has a lot of pink in her skin and blushes easily a yellow-based powder was used over her face to set her foundation. The yellow pigments in the powder are said to reduce redness on the skin.

For the cheeks

To add colour to the cheeks use a soft peach coloured blusher on the apples of the cheeks and blend along the cheekbone to the hairline with a brush.

For the eyes

To create a soft smoky eye which is ideal for daytime apply a cream coloured eye shadow over the eye lid right up to the brow bone. Next apply a pink eye shadow to the middle of the eyelid and blend outwards.

Finally use a dark brown eye shadow just on the outer corner of the eye lid and blend. Amanda used Clinique's new Milly collection to do this.

To define the eyes use a brown eye shadow as an eyeliner across the top and bottom lash line. This will give a softer look than using an eye pencil. Finally use a brown mascara to define and lengthen lashes as this is a softer alternative to black.

For the lips

To complete Amanda's new look pink lipstick was applied over the lips and a little gloss was applied to the middle of the lips to create a sexy pout.

The verdict

Says Amanda: 'My new look has given me the boost I needed. The look is different to what I would usually wear but it is comfortable to wear and looks stylish.

My hair feels and looks amazing and my makeup makes my skin look great. I feel one step nearer to getting the confidence I need to face the world again.'