Society of Professional Women know what not to wear to work…

I’m a big fan of TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” So when Eileen Connelly-Robbins and team from the Main Line Chamber of Commerce’s Society of Professional Women suggested doing an event patterned after the hit makeover show, instead of looking at them funny, dear friend and image consultant Megan Kristel ( and I said “okay.” Thus began the months of work it took to coordinate the event that was held on May 13th at the Radisson Valley Forge.

Megan Kristel

Job One was to round out the make-over team by finding our Nick Arrojo in the dashing hair stylist Vann Ou from Bubbles Salon. The moment I walked into the joint, I could tell that Vann, who manages Bubbles in Bryn Mawr and now in Rittenhouse Square, was the “Nick” we were looking for…

Vann the Mann

The entire event, from “before” to “after,” was chronicled by David Campli (Campli Photography) and Dave Williams (MediaWave Productions). David C. told the story in photographs, and Dave W. produced the three videos you see below. (Fun Fact: I did the voice-overs for the videos, and also contributed one of my original songs – from another life – for the background music).

The SPW team (special thanks to Ashley Miller) identified our three make-over winners, all Chamber members and either self-nominated or nominated by friends or colleagues:

– Susan Graham is a Marketing Manager for Bryn Mawr Hospital, and the mother of two little kiddles. In light of her work and personal load, she has a remarkably good sense of humor…

– Paula Kielich is the President of Pals for Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing companion animal programs to the handicapped, elderly and mentally-impaired. A feisty little lady with beautiful eyes and skin…

– Lori O’Leary is the Executive Director of MusicWorks, a music therapy program started by her husband, musician and therapist Jerry O’Leary. She is the dearest person, with the most enviable bone structure…

Megan Kristel, who is very simply the best at what she does, invaded the closets of each winner, found clothes with hidden potential, then took each of the ladies shopping at Elizabeth Maar Boutique in Haverford to find pieces that would pull their looks together – many thanks to owner Nellie and super saleswoman Joyce for their help. The story continued at Bubbles Salon, where Vann and I tag-teamed our new friends into top form:




The event benefited my favorite local charity, Main Line Animal Rescue, and the organization’s fearless and inspirational leader Bill Smith talked about their fight to stop puppy mills. I mean, the man got Oprah to pay attention, so enough said. (Fun Fact #2: our little girl cat, Lana Turner, came from MLAR, and it’s taking all of my powers of self-control to stop myself from inserting a picture of her here.)

And here are the “afters:”

Call us “crazy,” but in spite of the logistical challenges involved, Megan and I agreed that we would actually do this again! Many thanks to all involved…

Eileen Connolly Robbins, David Campli, Susan G., Paula K., Lori O., Megan Kristel, Dave Williams, Vann Ou, and moi!

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