woman in mirror

Photo: Sergio Kurhajec

What if when you gazed into the mirror, the image of your true fashion-and-beauty soul gazed back? For five women, that wish came true when we paired them with a dream team of experts: Ken Paves's hairstyling crew, makeup artist Rebecca Restrepo, and our own fashion guru, Adam Glassman.

The women's new looks are daring, different, and terrifically fun. See their stunning transformations—then learn how to inject a little soul into your own everyday style.

Dress, Pamela Roland, $1,980, Neiman Marcus, 800-365-7989. Earrings, House of Lavande, $398, 561-802-3737. Clutch, Roger Viver, $2,275, 212-861-5371.
Jocelyn Ruggiero

Before: Ben Goldstein. After: Sergio Kurhajec

Jocelyn Ruggiero, 39
Real life: Writer and performer, mother of twins
Secret alter ego: Pinup girl

Dresses for comfort, and never fusses with her natural color or curls.

Why she believes she was born 50 years too late:
"I've always liked the idea of a little tease. There are so few things that are left unsaid these days."

When she first fell for Rita Hayworth, et al.:
"I was so young, I can't even remember. I grew up hanging pinup posters in my bedroom."

How she brings the '40s into her 2012 life:
"I listen to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. And I wear red lipstick nearly every day."

How she doesn't:
"I recently moved to suburban Connecticut and have gotten more casual. I wear a lot of jeans, vests, and sneakers."

The Hair

Jocelyn has always dreamed of going Hayworth-inspired red but worried the results would look unnatural. Stylist Alexis Kuykendall, from the Ken Paves Salon in Beverly Hills, chose a rich auburn without the copper or orange tones that can make red look fake. With Jocelyn's naturally curly hair, the rest was easy. Stylist Roberta Rogers from Ken Paves used a large-barrel curling iron to smooth her waves and a styling cream to keep them shiny.

The Makeup

Though Jocelyn was already at home with the red lipstick of a '40s starlet, Rebecca told her to retire her usual blue-based reds in favor of warmer, more orange-toned shades (like the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in Le Orange she's wearing here). "Orange-reds won't emphasize the ruddiness in Jocelyn's skin the way blue-reds can," she says. With bright lips, eye makeup should stay simple: Jocelyn's eyes are defined with a medium brown shadow in the crease, black liquid liner along the upper lashline, and two coats of mascara.

The Clothes

This formfitting L'Wren Scott dress is instrumental in playing out Jocelyn's fantasy: The strapless, curvy fit says pinup, while the below-the-knee length leaves a bit to the imagination, Adam points out. The only accessory needed: flirty, polka-dot retro platforms (Jessica Simpson Collection).

Your Inner Pinup

Ava, Betty, and Lena always paired bold lipstick with flawless skin. Get it fast: Mix a liquid foundation with a little bit of water to even out your complexion without a dry or cakey finish.

Forties-inspired clothing is all about the silhouette: Off-the-shoulder, strapless, and waist-enhancing pieces are key, and the fit should be body-conscious but not skintight. Choose bright colors and—if you want to be extra-playful—fun patterns, like cherry or bird prints.

Dress, L'Wren Scott, $2,990, by special order, Barneys New York, 888-822-7639. Shoes, Jessica Simpson Collecteion, $110, jessicasimpsoncollection.com.
Melanee Farrah

Before: Ben Goldstein. After: Sergio Kurhajec

Melanee Farrah, 32
Real life: Government analyst
Secret alter ego: Gamine

Conservative jackets and pants suffice for long workdays; one horrendous haircut scared her away from making style changes.

Why she's ready to try a new look:
"I work really hard, travel for my job, and rarely do anything to feel good about myself before I walk out the door in the morning. I guess you could say my issue is that I overperform and underdress."

The haircut that made her very afraid:
"A mullet. I was in high school; it took forever to grow out. I'd love to try a pixie, but I'm gun-shy."

Her dream style:
"Clothes that are structured but still playful, feminine, and elegant...and an Audrey Hepburn haircut."

The Hair

Melanee wasn't ready to commit to a pixie, so Roberta fitted her with a wig instead. It was dyed a slightly warmer version of Melanee's natural color, with sable brown highlights, to bring out the golden tones in her skin. To keep the short cut feminine, Roberta used a razor to blend the layers. "The style should look a little grown-out," she says, "with none of the sharp edges you'd see in a man's haircut."

The Makeup

Short hair brings out your features—so use a light hand with color. Rebecca put the focus on Melanee's large brown eyes and left the rest of her face almost bare. She blended a charcoal liner on Melanee's upper lashlines, smudging it up onto her lids, and lined the lower rims with a black pencil. A blush and lipstick in soft peach tones complete the look.

The Clothes

It's the balance between masculine and feminine elements that makes Melanee's fantasy look work: Tailored Theory cigarette pants are a nod to a structured menswear-inspired style, while the fresh Adam floral blazer and Petit Bateau striped top are pure gamine.

Your Inner Gamine

If you don't want to go short, you can still get almost the same glamorous, no-fuss effect by pulling your hair into a low ponytail or bun. Pat a couple of drops of shine serum over your hairline to calm flyaways.

Keep clothing streamlined and tailored (with capris, blazers, and white button-downs), paired with simple ballet flats and delicate accessories like stud earrings.

Shirt, Petit Bateau, $75, petit-bateau.us. Pants, Theory, $335, Bloomingdale's, 800-555-7467. Earrings, Sonyarenee Jewelry, $58, sonyarenee.com.
Samantha Sarro

Photo: Sergio Kurhajec

Samantha Sarro, 30
Real life: Highway construction worker
Secret alter ego: Princess

Gets her hair cut at a barber shop, and wears bulky layers that make her feel schlumpy...even when she's off the job.

When she chopped off her hair:
"Two years ago, right before I started working my first construction job."

Her current hairstylist:
"A barber at Marley's Cuts in Shirley, New York."

What she digs:
"Roads. I also rebuild bridges and pour concrete."

Her workday wardrobe:
"Sturdy, oversize, and shapeless."

Her style idol:
"I'd have to say it's my 14-year-old daughter. She's really chic and just naturally has always had a great eye for fashion."

The Hair

Samantha may have set a photo shoot record in the stylist's chair: ten minutes. Stylist Tip Hallock, from the Ken Paves Salon, smoothed a dollop of gel through Samantha's hair, then used her fingers to sculpt soft waves around her hairline.

The Makeup

A little tinted moisturizer was all it took to even out Samantha's porcelain complexion. After that, Rebecca focused on enhancing her eyes (with a few individual false lashes and multiple coats of Lancôme Hypnôse mascara) and playing up her rosebud lips. Because Samantha has so little ruddiness in her complexion, she can pull off a blue-based red lipstick; a creamy formula (like Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary) has a natural luster. The total effect: fairy-tale feminine.

The Clothes

Samantha loved the color and fit of this gown by Sydney's Closet. Traditional fabrics (like floaty tulle, delicate lace, and jewel-toned satin) convey "classic, old-world glamour," says Adam. And the dress's unabashedly feminine silhouette—tight bodice, full skirt—emphasizes Samantha's generous curves.

Your Inner Princess

Long, full lashes bring femininity to every look (even steel-toed boots). To add extra volume, wiggle your mascara wand at the roots of your lashes before pulling through to the ends. Another easy (and subtle) eye-opener: Line the lower inner rims with an off-white eyeliner pencil.

Pair soft pieces like a charmeuse blouse with a pencil skirt. Pastels, jewel tones, and metallics heighten the wow factor.

Gown, Sydney's Closet, $346, SydneysCloset.com. Earrings, House of Lavande, $848, 561-802-3737. Bracelet, Ben-Amun, $215, thomaslaine.com.
Victoria Hill

Before: Ben Goldstein. After: Sergio Kurhajec

Victoria Hill, 42
Real life: Runway model coach
Secret alter ego: Rocker

Cardigans, khakis, and sensible shoes are her go-to outfit—and they ensure that she blends in with the crowd.

Women whose shoes she'd like to step into:
"Joan Jett. Tina Turner. Pat Benatar. They have different takes on the rocker look, but they're all gorgeously daring."

Why she usually plays it safe instead:
"My work keeps me running from appointment to appointment all day. I'm not comfortable wearing a short skirt and high heels. How would I run up and down the subway stairs? And it would attract the kind of attention I don't want."

The upside to attention:
"In the right context, it's really fun. And I'd love to feel freer, more spontaneous."

The Hair

To create allover texture—but not soft curls—Roberta twirled two-inch sections of Victoria's hair around a curling iron, leaving the bottom inch or two out of the clamp. The technique created waves with a rough finish. To make Victoria's hair a little piecey, Roberta warmed a little wax (from a stick, like TIGI Bed Head Stick) on her fingers and ran it over individual strands.

The Makeup

Just ask Chrissie Hynde: A rocking makeup look calls for black eyeliner. Lots of it. Rebecca used thin black pencil on Victoria's lower lashlines, then a smudgy black liner on top. A shimmery cream shadow (like Clinique Lid Smoothie Eye Colour in Bit O'Honey) leaves lids looking a little wet—"not too pretty and perfect," says Rebecca—and a lip stain defines Victoria's mouth without looking high-maintenance.

The Clothes

Channeling Beyoncé ("Run the World [Girls]" played at her photo shoot), Victoria worked the rock-diva combination of sparkle and spikes with an electric blue, sequined Aidan Mattox minidress, bold jewelry (Deanna Hamro and Ben-Amun), and fierce, pointy heels (Cesare Paciotti).

Your Inner Rocker

If you're not into black eyeliner, a dark nail polish can nudge you toward rock 'n' roll. Try navy, an almost-black burgundy, or something unexpected, like Victoria's gold-flecked olive polish.

Chunky, layered necklaces and bracelets are an easy way to add a touch of rock to any outfit, and they're available at every price.

Dress, Aidan Mattox, $300, edressme.com. Swarovski-crystal and sterling silver cuff, Deanna Hamro, $2,695, fragments.com. Spike bracelet, Ben-Amun, $345, ben-amun.com. Shoes, Cesare Paciotti, $1,195, 212-452-1222.
Nanci Farruggio

Before: Ben Goldstein. After: Sergio Kurhajec

Nanci Farruggio, 46
Real life: Suburban mom of two
Secret alter ego: Femme fatale

Her cropped cut works well with her conservative style, but unfortunately keeps her tied to just one look.

How her hair is like cotton candy:
"It gets fuzzy at the ends and then just breaks off at a certain point, above shoulder-length."

Why she went pixie-short six years ago:
"I wanted to commit to a style. If I couldn't have long hair, I didn't want it to be in-between."

Why she likes her cut:
"It looks great—with no styling effort."

Why she doesn't:
"It's the same all the time, and I happen to like versatility. Even with fragrances, I'm always changing it up whenever I can."

The Hair

Nanci's cut is so short that extensions would look obvious; Ken's team fitted her with a full wig instead. If your hair falls below your chin, you can get a similar look with a row of clip-in extensions.

The Makeup

Nanci's long blonde hair is enough of a statement, so Rebecca kept her makeup clean and simple. She defined Nanci's eyes with different shades of brown shadow (taupe all over the lids and chocolate in the crease) and lined her upper lashline with a cobalt blue liquid eyeliner (Yves Saint Laurent Eyeliner Moiré in #8). "A deep blue liner brightens anyone's eyes, but it's especially stunning on women with light blue or green eyes," says Rebecca. A warm pink blush keeps Nanci's complexion from looking washed-out against all that blonde.

The Clothes

The body-conscious BCBG Max Azria dress and the strappy metallic platforms (Christian Louboutin) Adam selected for Nanci fit the femme fatale bill. But the dress's cap sleeves, crew neckline, and sophisticated color palette keep the look from straying into Real Housewives territory.

Your Inner Femme Fatale

Whatever the length of your hair, emphasizing your mouth adds instant allure. Look for a nude gloss with a bit of iridescence to make lips appear fuller.

When you're feeling seductive, choose dark colors and jewel tones (as opposed to neons and pastels) and play up your legs or your décolletage, though not both. Also, consider a fitted, sexy le smoking–style pantsuit—the sharp, menswear-inspired look emphasizes the soft femininity of Rapunzel-like hair.

Dress, BCBG Max Azria, $278, Bloomingdales.com . Shoes, Christian Louboutin, $1,795, ChristianLouboutin.com. Bangles, Ben-Amun, $198 each, Henri Bendel, 800-423-6335.