Photo: Michelle Holden

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SLIMMING STRATEGY #3: Choose a Structured Dress

Don't try to hide a tummy under a tent. A sheath that's bright on top and dark on the bottom slims the hips and stomach while enhancing a smaller chest.

Illya Brunner, 44, a social services case manager, has slender arms and legs but thinks of her midsection as a problem area. A flowing A-line dress inadvertently added volume to her bottom half, while a more fitted dress (Jay Godfrey, $440) with a pencil skirt that starts just above her natural waist minimizes Brunner's stomach and shows off her legs. A ruffle at the bust plays up her chest and shoulders, resulting in a more proportionate silhouette. "When I go shopping, I always reach for black since it conceals a lot," says Brunner. "But the bold colors are what make this dress look so good."

Earrings, Leslie Greene. Watch, Philip Stein. Shoes, Takera Shoes by Asjha Jones.