Norfolk couple will go to the ball thanks to a Life Matters makeover

A black tie event means that it is going to be a very glamorous Christmas for Sally and John Connor - the only problem is they don't know what to wear. EMMA HARROWING helps them get the look that will get them to the ball.

An invite to a party in a large house in the Norfolk countryside has thrown husband and wife Sally and John Connor into style despair. It is a black tie event and although John will wear a tuxedo and Sally a dress they are unsure about what styles and colours will suit them so that they look and feel as glamorous at the party as they can be.

'Sally is conscience that she might look out of place next to the other women at the party if she doesn't get the right dress which will make her feel uncomfortable all night,' says John, 55. 'Therefore it is good to get some impartial advice on what dresses suit her.'

Sally, 54, adds: 'I'm so used to seeing John in casual clothes that I cannot imagine him in a smart suit let alone a shirt and bow tie.

'We usually travel around on John's motorbike so we are used to a more practical way of dressing.'

The party is at a country abode in their home village of Hedenham near Bungay. Sally and John rarely come into Norwich to do clothes shopping and so the experience if relatively new to them.

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For Sally: Sally is conscience of her tummy and like most women she likes to hide her stomach area under baggy styles, but these will only emphasise the part of her body she doesn't want people to see. She also dislikes her legs and likes to keep them covered up. Being petite in height Sally feels that maxi style dresses will make her look short and stocky.

Sometimes style rules are made to be broken. A floor length dress in one colour can make you look taller and slimmer, especially if worn with heels.

The dress chosen for Sally has a Grecan style top half which nips her in under her bust to create a slim waist. The fabric then falls away, skimming over her tummy area and legs that she dislikes. The pashmina gives Sally the option of covering up her arms without taking away the shape of the dress the accentuates her figure.

Sally's cool skin tone suits this season's berry red tones and the vibrant colour suits her outgoing and bubbly personality. Sally's personality is further brought out by adding sparkly accessories - a diamante clutch bag and shoes adds a bit of drama to her look and a pearl and diamante necklace and bracelet gives a polished and classic look.

For John: Sometimes an off the peg suit doesn't quite fit. The jacket can be perfect but the trousers can be too big or small and vice-versa. John has this problem when it comes to buying a suit, luckily a 'suit' can now be bought in two parts.

Jarrold personal shopper Tim helps John find a tuxedo that fits, teaming it with a smart white shirt with black buttons and accessorising with shiny shoes and a sparkly black bow tie.


For Sally: Sally's bob style hair cut is a big trend this season. To give it more of a glamorous evening look, stylists at Regis hair salon in Jarrold gets rid of Sally's parting bringing her hair forward into a heavier fringe. Layers are then cut through her hair to give her bob style more texture and volume. Her hair is blow dried straight with a brush to intensify the shine.

For John: John jokes that he hasn't got much hair to style, but even his shaven head needs a little bit of a tidy up. The stylists at Regis buzz cut his hair so that it is even all over to create a smoother finish.


For Sally: Clarins manager in Jarrold Kelly completes Sally's evening look by showing her how she can create a make-up look that will complement her dress.

The verdicts

Sally says: 'When I saw this dress I didn't think it would look good on me at all - in fact it looks great! My hair feels so much more lighter and it should be easier to manage as I'm not one to spend hours styling my hair. My make-up is completely different as I don't normally wear mascara. It didn't look like me at first - but I love my new look.'

John says: 'I don't think that I have ever looked so smart! When I was told that I would be having a facial I didn't know what to expect, but the whole experience was so relaxing. This has to be the most relaxing shopping experience I have ever had!'