AFTER the breakup of her marriage, Martina Paul barely had the strength to get dressed in the morning.
But parting ways with her husband, with whom she lived for 13 years, helped the wedding planner realize that another part of her life was sorely missing – a dull and outdated wardrobe.
Now 45, Martina is desperate to update her outfit and get back on the dating scene.
She says: “After my breakup, I simply had neither the strength nor the desire to dress up. I didn’t like the idea that I lost my mojo and now I look sloppy.”
Martina believes that too much time spent apart is to blame for the breakup of the marriage.
She says: “When we got married in August 2013, I thought that we would end up working nine to five to spend time together.
“But he chose a job with 16-hour shifts, so we hardly saw each other. It seemed like he was never around.
“In the end, I packed my bags and left last April, and our divorce will be finalized next month.
“Because my husband was too tired to spend time with me, I never had the need to dress up, let alone try to look fashionable.
“Mostly I lived in hoodies and sweatpants. I also put on weight.”
Martina from Cambridge is now looking to take the plunge and find a new partner.
She says, “I want to be confident so I can date and find love again, but I find the idea very intimidating. I don’t know what protocol is and I definitely don’t know how to dress for a date.
“Until now, I’ve been thinking about joining clubs, like a salsa club, and I signed up on a couple of dating apps to test the waters, but I still didn’t have the confidence to make the right choice.
“I have a pretty big personality, but my clothes didn’t always reflect that.
“I wish I could wear leather pencil skirts and leather pants, but I never had the confidence to even try them on.”
Now that Fabulous Fashion Director Tracey Leah Sayer has made a makeover as part of our Challenge The Stylist series, Martina has turned the corner.
Her new look is perfect for helping her gain the confidence she needs to enter the dating scene.
She says: “Tracey and the team were very patient and professional. One of the first things Tracy did was find out what size I was.
After the separation, I simply had neither the strength nor the desire to dress up. I hated the thought of losing my mojo and now looking messy.
“I always knew I was a size 12 and Tracy thought so too.
“She tried a size 14 on me and they fit but were too loose. We realized that 12 is ideal.
“Tracey said that so many women wear clothes that are too big or too small because they don’t know what size they are, and that makes a big difference when you get the right clothes.
“She also convinced me to try brighter colors, which I’ve always avoided in the past because I didn’t think they would suit me.”
Martina’s favorite outfit from the tried and tested looks was a green Lindex dress.
She says: “It looked and felt very expensive and also grown-up.
“The red dress was the kind of thing that I would never have thought to try on, let alone buy, because it looked too cute, girly and bright – which is not my thing at all.
“But when I put it on, I immediately felt confident and sexy.
“One of the first things I did after the photo shoot was to go through the drawers and throw out some of my old, messy clothes.
“Now I also know to use bright colors and not avoid them. I feel more than confident about the way I look and even date Mr. Right.”
“I’m talking to a few people right now and hopefully I’ll be asked out on a date soon. When they do, I will definitely wear this red dress.”
- Head to @fabulous magician on Insta to watch Martina’s makeover video.
TRACY SAYS: “Starting dating again after 13 years of being in a relationship will always be difficult, but I’m glad that Martina is committed to getting back there.
“This gorgeous Next dress is a cute look that made her instantly feel sexy and confident.
“The cinched waist, medium length and color look amazing on her and she immediately wanted to update her dating profile with these snaps.”
Dress, £48, and heels, £56, Next; Bag, £65, Dune London
dress after divorce
TRACY SAYS: “Martina is thinking about her first solo vacation and wanted the dress to impress.
“This stunning green maxi dress has just that. This style is very suitable for most shapes and sizes and looks great with metallic heels and this cute beaded bag.
“In the fashion business, we call it ‘dopaminergic clothing’ because wearing such bright colors instantly lifts your spirits and makes you feel good – what’s not to love about that?”
Dress, £59.99, Lindex; Heels, £56, Next; Bag, £49.99, mango