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Women in uniform get a New Year's makeover

LIRR conductor Kesha Bennett, 33, of North Babylon,

LIRR conductor Kesha Bennett, 33, of North Babylon, tips her service cap to her glamorous New Year's makeover, including a crystal medallion necklace that is wrapped as a bracelet, from Badgley Mischka ($200). (Dec. 3, 2009) Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Some women pretty much get to wear what they want to work - a stylish high heel, a body-flattering pencil skirt, a vivid color. Then there are those who don't. Certain occupations require the same clothes day in and day out. And many of these uniforms are really little more than woman-size garb for men. From a fashion standpoint, being one of the boys can get tiresome.

We caught up with three such women who are the real deal - a motorcycle cop, a train conductor and a construction worker - and gave them makeovers designed to let their femininity roar for New Year's Eve. To that end, we've outed their inner glamour girl and we think you'll agree, they dress up quite fabulously.


Who: Kesha Bennett, 33, a North Babylon resident, mother of one and conductor on the Long Island Rail Road for 5 1/2 years.

Daily duds: Blazer, man-tailored shirt, trousers, tie, safety boots, leather belt with flashlight and ticket punch attached, conductor's cap.

Her goal: "I look like a mother and a conductor every day. I want to look young and supermodel sexy."

The makeover: At Salon Blue in Mineola, artistic director Nichelle Boakye first curled Bennett's braids and then swept them into an elegant updo with some flirty stray pieces. Makeup artist Josephine Abbatiello used smoky purple and silver for her eyes and some vampy false eyelashes. A chocolatey gloss enhanced her bright smile. At Lord & Taylor, Bennett opted for a killer body-skimming frock with glistening beaded seams in pewter (Patra, $198), vampy peep-toe heels (Nina, $99), chunky crystal chandelier earrings (ABS, $150) and a crystal medallion necklace that was wrapped around her wrist as a bracelet (Badgley Mischka, $200).

Her take: "I want to go to a glamorous party with all the superstars. This is my moment, and I am so happy."


Who: Laresa Hallstein, 20, of Medford, has worked as a flag person for Asplundh Tree Experts for two years.

Daily duds: Yellow or orange safety vest or jacket, work boots, hard-hat, safety glasses, gloves, and, in cold weather, lots of layers.

Her goal: "Really pretty and feminine. That's every girl's dream."

The makeover: A recent home dye job by a friend (um, purple) made hair of the essence. At the Sorell Salon in Roslyn, colorist Kathleen McCabe applied corrective color in cinnamon and strawberry blonde streaks to Hallstein's long locks. Albert Abramov, an owner of the salon, shaped her hair, adding long layers. At one point, four stylists were working on her hair, blowing it and curling it for the big night. Makeup artist Ellen Maruca used shimmering brown shadow and individual lashes to amp up Hallstein's baby blues, along with gold-flecked blush on her cheeks.

At Transitions, a boutique in Roslyn, the fairy tale continued with a saucy black alice + olivia strapless number with mauve stripes on the bodice and a (very) short balloon skirt ($396). Jewelry - graphic filigree earrings ($15), a huge crystal cocktail ring ($24), a chunky bracelet ($29) and cutout suede booties by Halé Bob ($175) all came from ShoeStyle in Roslyn and added wham-bam glam.

Her take: "I don't even feel like the same person," said Hallstein. "I'm shocked and feel pretty and just want to go out!"


Who: Officer Tracy Dioguardi, 48, of Massapequa, is the mother of two and says she's one of three female motorcycle cops on Long Island. She's been on the Port Washington police force for 15 years.

Daily duds: Police motorcycle breeches, riding boots, Under-Armor shirt, police shirt, bulletproof vest, basketweave belt, leather jacket. "Accessories" include: gun belt with pistol, pepper spray, expandable baton, handcuffs, flashlight, police radio and microphone, helmet, sunglasses. Her bike is a police model 2006 Harley-Davidson Road King.

Her goal: "You tend to lose your feminine identity in the uniform," she says. "I want to look younger, sexy and feminine."

The makeover: At NuBest Salon and Spa in Manhasset, stylist Jamie Mazzei reshaped her curly layers, then colorist Christian Fleres applied a warm chestnut brown to help pop her green eyes. Makeup artist Anna Naso added further drama with smoky gray and plum shadow, then added a peachy glow to lips and cheeks. At Bloomingdale's, Dioguardi modeled a swanky Elie Tahari silver and gold sequined sheath ($598), Judith Jack earrings, ($298) and Lauren Ralph Lauren strappy sandals ($89). A Collection 59 fox stole ($275) added the wow factor.

Her take: "I feel fabulous, very sexy, very pretty. I'd like to go to a dance club and sip Champagne." Her partner, Officer Paul Faulk, was stunned. "She doesn't look like one of the guys today."


After her Newsday makeover, Officer Tracy Dioguardi got so stoked by her new look that she bought a sexy black dress, armfuls of costume jewelry and new high heels for a Christmas party. Co-workers didn't recognize her; she got loads of double-takes and felt, well, fabulous. "Thank you again so much for inspiring me and waking up the sleeping beauty beneath the surface," she wrote to us.

For sure, many of us would love to be awakened by a professional makeover and catapulted into the new year. But not to worry. A story in January's Harper's Bazaar says more moderate tweaking can do the job. The piece stresses the importance of being who you are, rather than total reinvention - good, doable advice for the new year.

Author Teri Agins encourages readers to go for a new "polish" and focus on details. Simple stuff like a change of lipstick, false eyelashes, a new 'do and even a great pair of earrings can amp and vamp, she writes. Find one great, fresh something that makes you feel good . . . and have a happy 2010. 


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