DRESSED TO IMPRESS
Rachael Ray gives area man a makeover
PHOENIXVILLE >> Until last week John Long wore a pair of shorts every day of the year. Freezing temperatures, formal occasions, you name it, for nearly 30 years, the 47-year-old refused to wear long pants, opting instead for baggy cargo shorts.
To compliment his questionable fashion choice, Long, a construction worker who runs a snow-plowing business, also sported long bleach-blond hair. Think Guy Fieri, but without the spikes.
That all changed when Long agreed to allow the “The Rachael Ray Show” to give him a makeover — and the transformation was nothing short of amazing. The episode, which aired Nov. 4 locally on 6ABC-WPVI, featured Long with a whole new wardrobe, including long skinny jeans, and a new short haircut with his natural dark brown hair color.
“I didn’t look like me,” he said. “They did a great job. They brought in stylists from a popular salon in New York, it was amazing.”
Ever since he got out of high school in 1987, Long said he enjoyed surfing at the beach and grew comfortable wearing shorts wherever he went.
“I liked wearing shorts and never went back to wearing pants,” he said. “They’re easy to buy, inexpensive. I work construction so they’re comfortable and I move around faster. I just found them really easy and convenient and have been doing it ever since.”
He’s not kidding either. On his wedding day 17 years ago, Long looked like AC/DC guitarist Angus Young after he had a tailor cut him a pair of shorts out of tuxedo pants. When he and his wife Rose would go out to fancy restau-
“I didn’t look like me. They did a great job. They brought in stylists from a popular salon in New York, it was amazing.” — Phoenixville resident John Long
rants, they’d be sat in the corner where they couldn’t be seen, he said.
“We’d go out to restaurants and I’d think ‘wow, do I look extra good today?” Rose said. “Then I realize, ‘oh my gosh, everybody’s looking at him because it’s freezing outside and he’s wearing shorts!’”
Rose, a hair stylist at Innovations Hair Salon in Phoenixville, said she put up with his wardrobe choices, but had enough of battling her husband over his bleach-blond locks, especially after the over processed hair began to break off.
“Hairstylists know when we do our family’s hair they want it the way they want it,” she said. Yet the bleachblond look only looks good on short hair and Long always wanted to grow his hair out.
Time for a change
After seeing an episode of the “Rachael Ray Show” where the producers were looking for men in need of a “man-over,” Rose submitted a wedding photo featuring Long in his shorts to the show. The producers reached out and Long agreed to a makeover at the TV studio in New York.
The couple and one of Rose’s friends made the Amtrak ride up Oct. 31 and stayed at the Hilton Fashion District hotel. That afternoon, Long spent three hours trying on clothes and shoes before celebrity stylist Clinton Kelly signed off on the new threads.
Rose spent the day shopping, she said laughing.
The next morning Long was back for a haircut and was shuffled from room to room amid the “controlled chaos” of the show which was taping several segments for the next few weeks at one time.
“People were everywhere,” he said. “It was crazy. I saw Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and he said, ‘Man, you look sharp, dude.’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’m an Eagles fan.”
After changing into his new clothes and getting his makeup done, Long was out on stage to hug his wife and talk to Ray and Kelly about his makeover. Long wore a button down shirt underneath a dark red sweater and a blazer. Ray complimented him saying he looked sexy, while Kelly said it wasn’t hard to get him to change his look but admitted “straight men can be stubborn.”
Long said he was a bit overwhelmed and distracted by the number of cameras and by the audience making it hard to focus when the hosts were talking to him.
“Rachael (Ray) started talking to me,” he said. “I was looking at the crowd. She called me squirrel. I said, ‘sorry, I’m just blown away.’ She said, ‘What do you think?’ ‘I can’t believe I look like this.’”
Dressed to impress
After the taping, Ray treated the couple to dinner at the restaurant called The Smith. Long said they had to give the host a fake name before they sat down but were served whatever they wanted. This time there was no need to hide the couple in the corner.
That night Long said Rose told him she couldn’t believe how good he looked.
“She said, ‘Holy cow, that’s what your butt looks like in jeans,’” he said. “It turned out to be a really cool experience. It was her idea to do it all. She talked me into it.”
While Long confessed to wearing shorts again, he said he’s much more willing to dress up nowadays.
“Friday night when the showed aired I wore a similar outfit (as on the show) when we went out,” he said. “I was dressed to the nines.”
Rachael Ray and celebrity stylist Clinton Kelly admire Phoenixville resident John Long’s makeover during a recent episode of “The Rachael Ray Show.”
Phoenixville resident John Long hugs his wife Rose after receiving a makeover on a recent episode of “The Rachael Ray Show.”