Rock & Roll Makeover For 21-Year-Old Cancer Survivor + His Devoted Mom

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Playing From Sweats to Sweater Blazer + Silk! Complete Makeover for Cancer Survivor + His Mom

Our good friend, lifestyle expert Tommy DiDario, has a knack for finding some of the most heartwarming and inspirational stories—and this one, about Michael and his mom, Ashlee, is certainly no exception.

In March 2020, Michael Cramer, not even 20 years old, started feeling quite tired, but he blamed it on the emotional toll of the pandemic. Soon, though, he started experiencing a host of other symptoms, including night sweats and daily fevers. By July, he had a diagnosis: a rare and very aggressive form of blood cancer—and after losing his own father to cancer.

"[I was told] I was going to need two to six rounds of chemotherapy, and then get a bone marrow transplant," recalls Michael.

But, of course, he was never alone. Ashlee ultimately quit her job to stay by his side throughout treatment, a choice she said "probably saved both of us."

Soon, Ashlee started to share Michael's story online, and they received so much positive feedback, which led them to where they are now—co-hosting the podcast "Michael and Mom Talk Cancer." 

This is where Tommy comes in! After years of being in and out of hospitals—and mostly in sweats—Tommy thought the inspiring duo deserved a special treat: a head-to-toe makeover! That includes new ensembles from Banana Republic for both Michael and Ashlee, plus fresh cuts. (Ashlee's comes courtesy of the lovely Nichola Lynch from Sean Donaldson Hair.)

Michael and his mom, Ashlee, fully made over
Rachael Ray Show

Rach's review, soon as she saw Michael? "He's so GQ—I can't even!" 

We also wanted Michael to be able to build back up his strength—and our friends at Tempo came through! They set Michael up with the Tempo Studio Pro Package, a home gym, complete with a screen that displays classes and tracks form, plus all the necessary equipment.

“My hands were shaking when I opened the box,” says Ashlee. 

Get all the details about Michael and Ashlee's Banana Republic looks from the show below—plus two MORE looks Tommy styled for them.

MICHAEL'S SHOW OUTFIT

Tommy's first look for Michael
Rachael Ray Show

As Tommy explained, "Michael is starting to do  speaking engagements to help inspire other  people, so I wanted him to look really chic but not stuffy—he's a cool 21-year-old!"

That meant finding him cool pieces, including this "GQ grandpa"-worthy sweater blazer. "It's such a fun piece, because it reads as dressy without having to wear a suit."

Tommy paired the sweater blazer with a crisp, white button-down – untucked! "Usually, I am all about the tuck," he says, "but...if you find a fitted button-down shirt, it can be untucked for a cooler vibe—as long as it's  just about two inches below the jacket."

Tommy finished Michael's ensemble with dark denim and a Chelsea boot, which, he notes, makes the whole thing feel a bit more "rock-n-roll."

SHOP TOMMY'S LOOK: 

Massa Sweater Blazer (Whiskey)

Massa Sweater Blazer (Whiskey)

Banana Republic
$150

Cotton Cashmere Dress Shirt (New Off White)

Cotton Cashmere Dress Shirt (New Off White)

Banana Republic
$120

Slim Luxe Traveler Jean (Medium Dark Wash)

Slim Luxe Traveler Jean (Medium Dark Wash)

Banana Republic
$130

Tapered Sunglasses (Amber)

Tapered Sunglasses (Amber)

Banana Republic
$95

Tanner Boot (Black)

Tanner Boot (Black)

Banana Republic
$200

ASHLEE'S SHOW OUTFIT

Tommy's first look for Ashlee
Rachael Ray Show


As for Ashlee, Tommy embraced one of 2022's biggest color trends: Barbie pink!

"I put Ashley in a power-pink, double-breasted blazer with a pink turtleneck for a really chic, monochromatic look," says Tommy.

Want to try the monochromatic trend for yourself? Tommy says the key is all in the texture—specifically, choosing a different one for each piece. That's why he paired Ashlee’s velvet blazer with a ribbed top, for contrast. (This look could work just as well with a white tee, he notes!)

Our style guru finished Ashlee’s look with skinny jeans and flats to keep it casual.

SHOP ASHLEE'S LOOK:

Veluro Oversized Velvet Blazer (Bright Berry)

Veluro Oversized Velvet Blazer (Bright Berry)

Banana Republic
$280 $225

Lucci Merino Turtleneck Sweater (Happy Hour Pink)

Lucci Merino Turtleneck Sweater (Happy Hour Pink)

Banana Republic
$95 $75

High + Skinny Jean (Dark Rinse)

High + Skinny Jean (Dark Rinse)

Banana Republic
$109 $60

Kite Post Earrings Small

Kite Post Earrings Small

Banana Republic
$60

Heritage Etched Buckle Belt (Black)

Heritage Etched Buckle Belt (Black)

Banana Republic
$90

Luz Leather Loafer (Black)

Luz Leather Loafer (Black)

Banana Republic
$250

MICHAEL'S BONUS OUTFIT (DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE!)

Michael's second look from Tommy
Rachael Ray Show

Tommy paired a corduroy trucker jacket with a well-tailored pant for another "casually chic" combo for Michael. 

SHOP MICHAEL'S SECOND LOOK: 

Corduroy Trucker Jacket (Black)

Corduroy Trucker Jacket (Black)

Banana Republic
$150 $80

Silk-Linen Sweater Polo (Coral Sunset)

Silk-Linen Sweater Polo (Coral Sunset)

Banana Republic
$90 $28

Skinny Traveler Pant (Black)

Skinny Traveler Pant (Black)

Banana Republic
$100 $70

Reversible Leather Belt

Reversible Leather Belt

Banana Republic
$75

Tanner Boot (Black)

Tanner Boot (Black)

Banana Republic
$200

ASHLEE'S BONUS OUTFIT (DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE!)

Ashlee's second look from Tommy
Rachael Ray Show

For Ashlee's second look, Tommy went glam -- all silk everything! Perfect for a night out. 

SHOP ASHLEE'S SECOND LOOK: 

Eclipse Silk Top (Black)

Eclipse Silk Top (Black)

Banana Republic
$120 $95

Danae Silk Draped Skirt (Cabin Red)

Danae Silk Draped Skirt (Cabin Red)

Banana Republic
$170 $150

Motif Coin Earrings

Motif Coin Earrings

Banana Republic
$60

Ravello Suede Sandal (Black)

Ravello Suede Sandal (Black)

Banana Republic
$290

Delicate Strand Stone Necklace

Delicate Strand Stone Necklace

Banana Republic
$50

Triple Strand Gemstone Necklace

Triple Strand Gemstone Necklace

Banana Republic
$60

Thank you, Tommy, for the fabulous looks. And thank you, Michael and Ashlee, for sharing your inspiring story with us. ❤️

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