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  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

5 Things I Learned From My Fashion Makeover on the Nate Berkus Show

Part 1: Before. Note the footage at the Farmers Markets!

Part 2: After – The Red Dress!Two years ago, I was the lucky recipient of a fashion makeover on the Nate Berkus Show. I realized I’d never posted the videos, so I thought I would do it now. (Above are the “Before” and “After” segments.) I also thought I’d share the five things I learned that have truly stuck with me:

1.  Color can be my friend, even an entire red dress. I’d always shied away from wearing bright colors, but not anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I still live in New York. Nothing is the new black. There has only ever been black, and there will only ever be black. But the cool part is that black pretty much goes with any other color. So have at it!

2.  It only takes a few extra minutes to look put together. If you’re like some people I know, you roll out of bed, grab the first things you see, and throw them on your body. But it doesn’t take that much time to put a teensy bit of thought into what you’re going to wear. I have a 7AM networking meeting every single, bloody Wednesday, and I now lay out my entire outfit the night before. Searching through my closet in the dark yields some interesting combinations, which are only revealed in the light of day. I advise against it.

3.  The details make all the difference. Mary Alice Stephenson, the wonderful stylist who worked with me showed me how far a few small details can take me towards looking put together. Simply a sweet belt or a cool cuff can take me from looking reasonable to looking – and feeling – really great.

4.  Audience reactions were real. If you’ve ever been to a taping of a TV show, you’ll know there are warm up comedians and producers who tell you how to react, when to yell, etc. (If you go see Jon Stewart live, be advised that they do not like “Woohoo” sounds at all. “Yaaaay!” sounds are fine though.) However, when the producer cued me to walk out into the studio, I was bowled over by the reaction of the audience members. There were gasps, open mouths, and tons of applause. It was real, and it was awesome. (Note: I choose to believe that it was the straight hair and the red dress that shocked people, and not the fact that the brown skirt and biblical sandals in the “before” images were so lamentable.)

5.  Do not wear Spanx for an extended period of time. The day we taped the show, I wore my makeover outfit from 7AM till about 2PM, when I realized I was short of breath because my full body Spanx were constricting my lungs. To be honest, I have not had the courage (or the need) to wear my Spanx since then. But I know they’re there when I need them!So how does this all relate to markets? For starters, my experience in reality TV reinforced my conviction that I need fewer, beautifully made garments and accessories. I can find incredibly innovative and wonderful things in the markets and buy them directly from the people who made them. If that’s not a luxury, I don’t know what is.

And my favorite things don’t have to be new. My greatest treasure is the pair of John Lobb loafers that I found at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea (Bespoke: $4,000. Flea: $20.)

I want to thank everyone who made me all pretty and put me on TV: Nate Berkus, Mary Alice Stephenson, Ted Gibson, the producers and aestheticians. And thanks to my awesome sister-in-law Marcy Green for being my partner in crime! And to my sister Andrea Seiger and all my friends who yelled the loudest in the studio audience! And to Charly, my fellow makeover candidate! And a special thanks to for being possibly the best media resource out there.

I confess that I don’t follow all five lessons every day, with the exception of #5. But I do think about the things I learned, and I do make the effort at least to think about the things I wear every day. Usually.



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