Tierney in a formless peasant blouse

The Peasant Blouse
Tierney Smith, 28, event coordinator

Before: The folkloric top is cute but formless; the pants are a bit cropped, making Tierney seem short and wide. And light colors both top and bottom? Please.
Tierney in slimming pants and flattering peasant top

The Peasant Blouse
After: Pale almost always reads as big—but here's the exception that disproves the rule. "It's not often that a size 12 gets to wear white pants and look good," Tierney says. These are slightly flared to balance hips, with elongating seams down the legs.

The new, improved blouse has a slim cut and vertically organized embroidery on a dark background (pants, $195, and top, $250, Tory Burch). Earrings, Academie by Philip Crangi.
Suzanne in a melon-colored dress

The Dress
Suzanne Clare, 54, tourism consultant and substitute teacher

Before: "I love my silver hair," Suzanne says. "It started turning when I was 16, just like my mother's." But the melon-colored dress dulls out that amazing gray and looks too skimpy for her height (a glorious six feet).
Suzanne in a lightweight wool sheath

The Dress
After: "Faaaabulous" is how Suzanne feels after slipping on this lightweight wool sheath (Riser Goodwyn, $1,100)—it's lined with superstretch fabric to hold her in and boned under the bust so that no bra is needed. Nude shoes (Luca Luca) play up long legs while making her size 11 feet less noticeable. Hoops, Tiffany & Co. Ring, Evanueva for Jennifer Miller. Clutch, Bottega Veneta.
Donna in a flimsy, low-waisted skirt

The High Waist
Donna Robinson, 41, dating consultant

Before: A flimsy, low-waisted skirt with all sorts of gaps and gathers doesn't make Donna's torso seem leaner; it merely calls attention to her "little bit of tummy" ("I could stand to tone, but I'm too lazy").
Donna in a black pencil skirt and brightly colored cardigan

The High Waist
After: Same midsection, now narrower looking in a streamlined black pencil skirt (Kenneth Cole Reaction, $74): "I absolutely love how it plays up my curves and shows my legs," Donna says.

A shot of bright color on top, softened with white against the face (blouse, $600, and jacket, $1,210, Jil Sander), diverts the focus from her lower body. Hoops, Dean Harris. Ring, Tito Pedrini. Shoes, Gunmetal by Spaulding & Gublo.
Ginger in light khakis and a tucked-in shirt

Blocks of Color
Ginger Mancini, 49, high school English teacher

Before: A recent weight gain ("Only seven or eight pounds, but they go directly to my stomach and hips") sent Ginger into hate-everything mode. Tight, cropped, light khakis (with a tucked-in shirt, yet) don't help.
Ginger in wide-leg pants and a flattering tank

Blocks of Color
After: A dark shade like navy on the wide-leg pants (Piazza Sempione, $548) and at the straps and neckline of the tank (Tory Burch, $195) makes the paler areas in between (like that problematic midsection) fade away.

Even Ginger allows—reluctantly—that her waist and hips seem smaller. As for those well-toned arms, we'll do the bragging for her. Earrings, Ippolita. Ring, Tito Pedrini. Bag, Jil Sander. Shoes, Claudia Ciuti.
Rebecca in a horizontal-striped minidress

Black and White
Rebecca Klein, 38, freelance writer

Before: Rebecca gave birth to her second son, Caleb, only a couple of months before we met her, so there's a slight leftover belly—which the horizontal-stripe minidress (too short, too fattening) does nothing to disguise.
Rebecca in a floor-length, black-and-white dress

Black and White
After: Strong black bands on this floor-length dress (Naeem Khan) define a smaller waist and create a slenderizing head-to-toe line; Rebecca's new, lusher bust—a perk of nursing—benefits from a discreetly plunging neckline.

"The way it plays up my cleavage makes me feel very feminine," Rebecca says. "It's a shift in perspective: My breasts aren't just working breasts; they're also fun, party breasts." Shoes, Christian Lacroix.