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Make Me Over: Caroline Stoga
Welcome to Make Me Over, our monthly feature where we give one style-starved reader an overhaul. Our subject this month is Caroline Stoga, a twentysomething college graduate turned young professional in search of a look that more closely matches her job d By Lynne Shallcross
Comments () | Published February 5, 2009

Caroline before her makeover. Photograph
by Chris Leaman

Caroline Stoga, 23
Executive assistant at an international strategic advisory firm in DC

Why she wanted a makeover:
In her second year at a “pretty serious job,” Stoga felt ready to trade her college-era locks for a more professional appearance. “While I try to keep my wardrobe looking fun yet professional, my hair and makeup don’t always project the same image,” she says. “Although I’ve played with color and texture in the past, I currently have some pretty fake-looking blond highlights that are growing out. The color was fun in the summer, but it doesn’t cut it under the halogen lights of the office.”

Date of her last haircut:
“Good question. I have a habit of being really lazy with my hair maintenance. Normally I’ll wait until I wake up one day and it’s just totally unmanageable, then I’ll make an appointment with whoever can see me that day for a cut or color.”

Reaction when she found out she was getting a Washingtonian.com makeover:
“I was mostly surprised because I had forgotten that I’d even applied. Once it settled in, though, I realized how insanely lucky I am—talk about a belated Christmas present.”

Reaction from her friends and family:
“My friends think it’s really exciting. My mom’s first reaction was jealousy—she’s absolutely gorgeous but claims she needs a makeover, too. The worst one was my boss—he told me that I’ll still look a hot mess afterward! Guess we’ll just have to prove him wrong.”

What she likes and dislikes about her current look:
Stoga switches her look often, but in general she likes the look of being a blonde. What does she dislike? Well, everything, she says: “My color right now is not well done, and it makes me look washed out and even paler than I already am. Plus, I’m totally uninspired by my cut.”

How she wants to look afterward:
“I’d just love to look a little more put together—a style that I can show up at a meeting feeling confident with and one that will also look in place when I’m out on U Street on a Saturday night.”

How she doesn’t want to look:
“I hope I don’t come out looking like Steve Guttenberg! Probably not much of a concern, but you never know.”

See Caroline's transformation after the jump!

Caroline after her makeover. Photograph
by Chris Leaman

Where we sent her:
To Parlour on U Street, into the hands of Abbey Castellano for the cut and Nicole Lueschow for color.

Their impression of Stoga’s “before” look:
“When I first saw Caroline, I thought, ‘Typical DC’ hair,” Lueschow says. “When I met her, I saw a sassy and fun personality, totally in need of a new look to fit her enthusiasm for this challenge. She’d been getting highlights forever. Her ends were washed out and dead. Her highlights were too warm and unnatural-looking.” And Stoga’s long locks? Castellano says they were dragging her down and covering too much of her face.

What they did:
For the cut, a shoulder-length, A-line shape. “It opened up her great neckline and flattered her face shape,” Castellano says. “The new layers give her better shape and movement. She looks more polished and put together. Her cut gives her a sassy edge.” For color, Lueschow went with a high- and low-light combo, with blond highlights, warm, dark-brown low-lights, and a base color of light brown. “Her new look brings a little more attitude to the table,” she says, “helping her stand out from all the other DC blondes while still looking professional.” A single-process touchup every two months and highlights every three to four months will keep Stoga’s new image looking fresh.

Number of inches cut from Stoga’s hair:
Five. “I had the usual ‘don’t go too short’ nervous reaction,” Stoga says, “but Abbey was really considerate, and I think we came to a perfect compromise.”

Hours spent at the salon:
Three and a half.

Stoga’s reaction to her new look:
“Everything went fantastic! The cut and color turned out great, and I’m absolutely loving the new look. I’m a big fan of the color. I was under the impression we’d go blonder, and instead it’s an overall darker base color. I’ve done a million shades of blond and brunette before, but this is by far my favorite. I think my favorite comment came from one of the stylists, who pointed out that I look rich now—trust me, I’m not. I love it.” Did Stoga get the look she was after? Absolutely: “I think this cut perfectly serves that dual purpose: The color makes me look less like a dumb college girl and much more like the professional I try to be during the day, but it also dresses up really well for nights out.”

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