AFTER the breakdown of her marriage, Martina Paul barely had the energy to get dressed in the morning.
But the split from her husband, who she’d been with for 13 years, helped the wedding planner realise that there was another part of her life that was severely lacking — her drab and outdated wardrobe.
Martina said: ‘I hated the idea that I’d lost my fashion mojo and now looked frumpy’Credit: Fabulous Magazine News UK
Now, Martina, 45, is desperate to update her outfits and get back out on the dating scene.
She says: “After my separation I just didn’t have the energy or will to get dressed up. I hated the idea that I’d lost my fashion mojo and now looked frumpy.”
Martina believes spending too much time apart was to blame for the marriage collapse.
She says: “When we got married in August 2013, I thought we would end up getting nine-to-five jobs so we could spend time together.
“But he chose a job with 16-hour shifts, so we barely saw each other. He never seemed to be around.
“In the end I packed my bags and left last April and our divorce will be finalised next month.
“With my husband being too exhausted to spend time with me, there was never any need for me to dress up, let alone try and look fashionable.
“I mostly lived in sweatshirts and tracksuit bottoms. I also put on a stone in weight.”
Martina, from Cambridge, is now keen to take the plunge and find a new partner.
She says: “I want to be able to have the confidence to go on dates and find love again, but I find that idea very scary. I don’t know what the protocol is and I definitely don’t know how to dress for a date.
“So far I’ve thought about joining clubs, like a salsa club, and I have signed up to a couple of dating apps to test the water but I haven’t had the confidence to swipe right yet.
“I have quite a big personality but my clothes haven’t always reflected that.
“I’d love to be able to wear leather pencil skirts and leather trousers but I’ve never had the confidence to even try them.”
Now, with a makeover by Fabulous Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer as part of our Challenge The Stylist series, Martina has turned a corner.
Her new looks are perfect to help her gain the confidence she needs to head out onto the dating scene.
She says: “Tracey and the team were so patient and professional. One of the first things that Tracey did was work out what my size was.
After my separation I just didn’t have the energy or will to get dressed up. I hated the idea that I’d lost my fashion mojo and now looked frumpy.
“I’ve always known I was a size 12, and Tracey thought so too.
“She did try a size 14 on me, and they fit but they were slightly too loose. We realised 12 was perfect.
“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 it makes a real difference when you get it right.
“She also persuaded me to try brighter colours, which I’d always avoided in the past because I didn’t think they suited me.”
Martina’s favourite outfit of the looks she tried was the green dress from Lindex.
She says: “It looked and felt really expensive and also grown up.
“The red dress was the sort of thing I would never have thought to try on let alone buy, as it looked too cute, girly and bright — which isn’t me 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 go through my drawers and ditch some of my old frumpy clothes.
“I also know now to embrace vibrant colours instead of avoiding them. I feel more than confident about how I look, and even meeting Mr Right.
“I’m talking to a few people now and hopefully I will be asked out soon. When they do, I’m going to definitely wear this red dress.”
Head to @fabulousmag on Insta to watch Martina’s makeover video.
TRACEY SAYS: “Starting to date again after being in a relationship for 13 years is always going to be difficult but I am glad that Martina is keen to get back out there.
“This gorgeous Next dress is a cute look that she immediately felt sexy and confident in.
For a date Martina wears Dress, £48, and Heels, £56, Next; Bag, £65, Dune LondonCredit: Fabulous Magazine News UK
“The gathered waist, mid length and the colour all look fabulous on her and she immediately wanted to update her dating profile with these shots.”
Dress, £48, and Heels, £56, Next; Bag, £65, Dune London
Getting dressed up after divorce
TRACEY SAYS: “Martina is considering her first solo holiday and wanted to have a dress with the wow factor.
“This stunning green maxi dress has just that. This style is very flattering on most shapes and sizes and looks great with metallic heels and this cute beaded bag.
For the wow factor Martina wears Dress, £59.99, Lindex; Heels, £56, Next; Bag, £49.99, MangoCredit: Fabulous Magazine News UK
“In the fashion biz we call this ‘dopamine dressing’ because wearing bright colours like this instantly lifts your mood and gives you the feel-good factor – and what’s not to love about that?”
Dress, £59.99, Lindex; Heels, £56, Next; Bag, £49.99, Mango