CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A woman wakes each morning and looks in the mirror. She only sees the flaws and the things that others don't see. She second-guesses her talents, value and the characteristics that make her unique.
This happens to women every day all over the world, and it used to happen to Cathy Schrader, of Scott Depot. Schrader, 45, has had her share of struggles -- a divorce, the deaths of her two children and the loss of her house, job and savings. And that was 20 years ago.
Schrader believes God gave her a second chance. She met her second husband, who had two children from a previous marriage. "God brought these two families together and made us one. He gave us an extra blessing, a daughter, when the doctors told me I couldn't have children," Schrader shared.
We are told that the difficult times come so that we can appreciate the good times, and Schrader understands that as much as anyone.
"My [second] husband was out of work for four years, and we had three young children at home. I worked two jobs and tried to hold everything together."
Just as he was well enough to go back to work, Schrader had health problems of her own. "I had my thyroid removed and gained weight. I looked and felt differently. I lost my confidence."
As many mothers do, especially in difficult times, she put her family before herself. Schrader shopped at thrift stores to find clothes to cover -- but not to fit -- her body. "I want to shop at thrift stores because I want to -- to find a good bargain -- but not because I have to," she said.
When she received a promotion at work that required public speaking, she was excited, but at the same time, she was worried. She had prevailed through her trials, but there was something she had lost and didn't know how to regain it.
"People didn't take me seriously. I wouldn't go out in public because of the way I looked and felt. I wanted to be able to step out there with confidence," Schrader said.
With confidence, she could help her community and communities all over the world. Her job with the Girl Scouts helps young girls build confidence too, and she wanted to be a role model for them. She also wanted to do support missionary efforts in Honduras.
So, after a "Dress for Success" presentation I gave for the Girl Scout leadership, Schrader solicited my help to regain her confidence. She wanted to find a look that fit her style and body.
After a meeting, we identified her look. Schrader had always been artistic and liked colorful and statement jewelry. She didn't wear dresses much, but mentioned that she might like to find dresses that would work for her body type. She thought all along that she was a specific size and shape, but she was something completely different. She found beautiful clothes that fit her style, her current job and that would be appropriate for her bright future ahead.
Schrader's first stop on her two-day makeover experience was to see Michelle Smith at MasterCuts at the Charleston Town Center Mall. Smith helped Schrader find a color and cut that fit her style and face shape. With new hair products to go with her new 'do, the evolving Schrader hit the stores for the next phase -- clothing.
The first step was to remind Schrader of the basics, accomplished by following the criteria of BASE, an anagram Stacy London and Clinton Kelly shared in an episode of TLC's "What Not To Wear":
B: Does it fit the Body?
A: Is it Age-appropriate?