In Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories of their real-life beauty transformations. This week, Kathy Deringer, a former NFL cheerleader turned health-care professional and mom, toned down her "beach babe" style for a classier, more comfortable look.

Images courtesy of Kathy Deringer

Within weeks of giving birth to my first child, I was back in my hip-hugger jeans and form-fitting tops. I lived in South Florida, where beautiful women and revealing clothes were the norm, so my style made perfect sense to me. Part of me still longed to be the NFL cheerleader I once was and to hold onto every ounce of youth that I could.

But when my son was a year old, I moved to South Carolina. It was quite a culture shock. I found myself surrounded by Southern belles who shopped at clothing stores I wouldn't be caught dead in. I was over 40, but men in their 20s and early 30s were typically attracted to me. Flattering, but this wasn't the person I wanted to be anymore. Demi Moore can do it in Hollywood, but this was the lowcountry of South Carolina. Plus, the looks I received from some other women, especially those accompanied by their husbands, were scarier than a Stephen King novel.

Four years into my Carolina living, I decided it was time for a change. I didn't want to be that sexy and slinky woman anymore. So one night, I stood over the bathroom sink and proceeded to chop seven inches off of my hair. The first snip was terrifying, but I kept reminding myself that this was for the best. I knew that it would not only change the type of men I attracted, but also the overall image I projected. I was now a corporate employee and a mom, and I wanted to look the part.

My next step was to go through my closet and aggressively weed out the clothing I'd bought in juniors' stores and outfits that just didn't say "respectable." I wanted to walk onto the soccer field with my four-year-old son and feel like a regular soccer mom, not a 20-something wannabe. I stuck with clothes from stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic that were still figure flattering, yet subtly so. I found myself looking for more timeless and classic styles and added a few staples that could be mixed and matched with other pieces.

I stopped using heavy-looking liquid eyeliners and dark lipsticks. Now, I use over-the-counter makeup purchased in Wal-Mart or Walgreens; brands like Rimmel, Prestige, and CoverGirl. I stick with basic subtle colors and mainly use shades of browns and beiges. I used to spend a lot of time in salons, but I find I can do just as well myself. I now do my own haircuts and hair color with L'oreal Excellence. That way I don't spend a lot of money or time. Plus, I am trying to keep things in my life simple and low maintenance.

Most people, especially my women friends, appreciated and complimented the change. Others asked, "Why did you cut your hair? It was so beautiful!" All I could tell them was, "It was time." It feels good to fit into the crowd, and to not be the woman who gathered cold stares. Now, if people stare, it's usually a look of appreciation and admiration!

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