Our cover girl Lashunda Roberts, 21, likes to dress up, but doesn't often have a chance to do so. "My life is kind of boring," she said. "I go to school and go to work." She attends North Hennepin Community College, works part-time at Wal-Mart and cares for her 2-year-old son. She's also a resident at the Jeremiah Program in Minneapolis, a nonprofit organization that helps single women with young children get an education and launch successful careers.
Our makeover artist: Grant Whittaker, a Minneapolis-based style expert.
The challenge: We asked Grant to build a holiday-worthy outfit around one of Lashunda's favorite items of clothing.
The starting point: A sparkly T-shirt. "I like stuff that stands out," said Lashunda, "stuff with a lot of glitz."
To complete Lashunda's outfit, Grant only went one place: Goodwill. "It doesn't matter where you shop, it's the outcome that counts," he said.
Grant paired her gray T-shirt with a bright fuchsia pencil skirt ($6.99). "We're seeing a lot more color -- vibrant color -- and pattern this year. This color is trendy, and really flattering on her."
He layered on accessories, including patterned black stockings ($4.99) and a chunky bracelet ($8.99). Her open-toed heels ($6.99) and clutch ($2.49) are in shades of cranberry that "play off the undertones of the color of the skirt. I think it's old-school to say your shoes have to match your bag," he said. "As long as you stay in the same color family, you're fine."
Grant used a belt to help blend the neutral tee with the bright skirt. "A belt ties it together," he said. And because Lashunda likes a bit of bling, he selected a black leather belt ($3.49) with "good hardware."
Instead of going for an up 'do, Grant curled Lashunda's hair into a "nice, loose wave" that he pinned to one side.
"I didn't want people to see the makeup first -- I wanted them to see her," said Grant. For a "focused, pretty look," Lashunda is wearing a cream foundation, luminescent bronzer, metallic copper eye shadow, coppery brown lipstick and, for a touch of drama, false eyelashes.
The look: The young sophisticate.
Total cost: Less than $35.
The payoff: "I'm so excited about the holidays," said Lashunda. "It's my son's birthday, I've got a couple of Christmas dinners to go to and I'm going to church on New Year's Eve. That's where we bring in the new year."