San Francisco Chronicle

Silvia Rubin | January 2002

Cheryl Eccles was absolutely, positively, ready for a change. “Cheryl is adorable, but boy, did she look like a schlumpy mom,” says Micki Turner, an East Bay image consultant.

They met at one of Turner’s fashion seminars on how to update your look. [That evening Eccles wore baggy] jeans from an outlet store, an old, bagged-out turtleneck from Costco, a brown leather metal-studded belt, a 10-year-old bright red pea coat with pewter buttons and epaulets, also from an outlet store, and a pair of who-knows-how-old black boots.

Her excuse: “I have three kids at home under the age of 7. I have had absolutely no time to go shopping.”

Understandable. But now that her youngest has just started to walk, Eccles, 36, who is a stay-at-home East Bay mom, made a resolution to get a new look, get out of her Costco clothes, and shop at places that actually specialize in clothes.

“Her old look was all mixed up,” Turner says. “The jeans are too baggy, the sweater was bagged-out, the belt doesn’t go with the jeans, the jeans don’t go with the boots, and the jacket is really, really dated.”

Turner took her to Macy’s and Banana Republic and to Berkeley coat designer Linda Letts, where they came away with a practical, flattering wardrobe.

A black, mock turtle by Max Studio, with a little bit of stretch, provides a sleek, flattering look that the Costco sweater couldn’t. The new black boots, with a square toe and chunky, walkable heel, were on sale at Banana Republic.

Snaring the new red coat was one of the highlights of the makeover, Eccles says. Turner contacted Linda Letts of Greatcoats in Berkeley, a by-appointment-only business, and found exactly what she was looking for.

Most days, Eccles still wears jeans, a sweater and the red coat. “Cheryl was wearing jeans, a turtleneck a red coat the day I met her,” Turner says. “The difference now is everything is sleeker and slimmer.”

“I stand taller and prouder in my new clothes,” Eccles says. “I feel more confident, I feel like a cooler-looking Mom. It really makes a difference in the way I feel about myself.”