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City Pound to Get a Makeover

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The dogcatcher may be a symbol of good old-fashioned local government, but staff members at the city animal shelter say they're tired of their same-old fashion. So they've called in a professional stylist to help upgrade the department's look.

Enter local fashion stylist Lauren Deloach. She ran into Jody Jones, director of Richmond's animal shelter, at a reception at a local fitness center in the fall. The two chatted, and Jones invited Deloach to tour the animal control office.

"When I saw their facility, I couldn't just walk in there and walk out and not help in some way," Deloach recalls.

Those bulky gray and navy button-down uniforms needed, um, a makeover.

"It was like from a gas station," Deloach says. "You know how you see those shirts and it says 'Jim' on it?" She offered to design new uniforms gratis. "I told Jody that I would do anything to help get the look that they wanted," she says.

Deloach, 26, who runs her business D&R Style Consulting from her home, says her personal style rests on a classic foundation with trendy accent pieces. She usually works with individual women to realign their wardrobe and hone their personal look, but takes on uniform styling projects for companies, too.

When consulting with an individual client, it's easy to pick out strategies for looking good, she says. But when it comes to corporate clients, flexibility is key.

For the city animal control workers, Deloach is considering a jade green tone because it flatters a range of complexions. She'd add a contrasting color -- darker green, burgundy or navy — so employees can strategically mix and match, use colors to express their emotional state that day or play the shades off each other to complement different body types. She's toying with the idea of a festive animal print for Fridays.

"It does the company a disservice to do great work in the community and not be able to represent that visually," Deloach says of the animal control department. "And it does affect morale as well."

Deloach expects to complete the project by the end of the year.

"We look forward to seeing the designs," city spokesman Linwood Norman says. S



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