By: Story and Photography by Rebecca Osterlund, Living North
Clothing provided by Lillians of Duluth
Hair and Makeup by Salon in the Valley
Jodi Hakimaki of Cloquet never thought she would be let go from her position of office manager after nearly 15 years of working at the same company. But back in January, she found herself in the same position as thousands of other people in the Northland: unexpectedly unemployed. Though stunned, Hakimaki set out on her job search, confident in her abilities, but went to interview upon interview with no job offers. Hakimaki found herself broke and discouraged. That’s when an employee at the Minnesota Workforce Development Center in Duluth suggested a program that pays some or all of a displaced worker’s college tuition. At the age of 46, Hakimaki was doubtful.
“I thought, ‘That’d be great if I was 20 but no, Lady. I need a paycheck’.”
After talking it over with her husband, Hakimaki ultimately decided to give the program a chance, enrolling in the nursing program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. With grants and loans, she plans to reinvent her career.
The only problem? Her look. Hakimaki was already uncomfortable going back to college after so many years of being in the work force. During the months she’d been unemployed, she said her style had fallen by the wayside.
“You just get so complacent,” Hakamaki said. “I used to wear makeup every day and put on nice clothes but now it’s an afterthought.”With the assistance of Salon in the Valley and Lillians of Duluth, we’ve set out to bring Hakamaki’s confidence and style back to the forefront.
HAIR AND MAKEUP
“I’m so used to wearing my hair in a ponytail, I don’t know what I’d look like any other way,” said Hakamaki, whose tresses reach the center of her back. Her hair held an assortment of colors, ranging from light brown to blonde to gray. Salon in the Valley owner Stacy Nylund took one look at Hakimaki’s hair before asking to cut off most of it.
“It’s thick. Very, very thick with a lot of natural wave,” said Nylund. “It’s very pretty.
There’s just a lot of it.” She proposed to give Hakimaki a modern version of a curly bob. After some initial hesitation, Hakimaki agreed to the plan and Nylund started with a color treatment.
Rich, chocolate brown followed by a treatment of caramel highlights would bring out Hakimaki’s natural features and make her blue eyes pop, said Nylund. After blowing Hakimaki’s hair dry using a low setting, Nylund thinned the hairdo and applied Onesta’s Smooth and Shine thermal straightening creme to create defined, bouncy curls.
Next came makeup. Shirley Nylund applied a moisturizer with SPF as the first step. “An SPF closer to the face than your foundation is better for you,” said Shirley, explaining that it prevents sun spots and wrinkles. A light layer of foundation was applied, followed by under-eye concealer. Shirley chose a golden hue and brown liner to complement Hakimaki’s eye color.
“A lot of people love the smoky eye,” said Shirley, “but when you get older, the eyelid just can’t support those colors.” Of the final hair results Hakimaki said, “It feels styled. I think I have a sense of style now. I love the color.”
“I have three pair of black pants,” said Jodi when talking of the extent of her wardrobe. She says the black pants are always worn with a T-shirt.
When Hakimaki worked as an office manager, she dressed to impress in business clothes. Since being let go, she has reverted to the black pants for daily wear. Hakimaki was concerned about her figure; her weight has fluctuated during her unemployment.
The stylists at Lillians of Duluth were no strangers to working with full-figured women and immediately set out to find a formflattering
ensemble Hakimaki would feel comfortable wearing. The boutique offers sizes
varying from small to 4XL. “Plus-size places want to dress you like an old, large woman,” said Sara Andrews, co-owner of Lillians. “We
want to dress you fashionably and trendy – no matter what size you’re in.”
After trying on several outfits, Hakimaki settled on a black dress with a lacy overlay. A turquoise-and-green necklace and a matching green clutch provided a splash of color. Adding white ballet slippers created an unexpected combination and elongated Hakimaki’s shorter frame.
“The dress is very feminine with a high waist,” says Andrews. “It’s a great length and the ruching is flattering. The lining is two inches shorter than the hem so it has a delicate touch at the bottom.”
Hakimaki was extremely pleased with the final look. “It’s my version of the little black dress,” she said. “When we get bigger and older, you think it doesn’t apply, but I like this. I feel like I’m going somewhere instead of lounging on my couch.”
With her completed makeover, Hakimaki strolled down the street
with confidence. “It’s nice to see me have a look that matches my
personality,” she said with a smile. “Because I really am a fun person.”
Clothing provided by Lillians of Duluth