cynthia dixon

Cynthia Joy Dixon, 50, School Bus Monitor

How Cynthia described herself in one word: "Bland."
Two reasons she likes to wear practical clothes: "I have two sons, 8 and 10, and I spend lots of time with them outside at ball games."
Why Cynthia's life is really anything but dull: "I also have three grown daughters and two grandchildren."
Why she's ready for a change: "When I turned 50, one of my sons told me I look old. Oh, and I can't remember the last time I had a haircut."
O's Creative Director Adam Glassman Says: "It's understandable that Cynthia is concerned mainly about comfort. But unfortunately she's also put herself at the bottom of her priority list."

Next: See how Cynthia found the perfect mix of glamour and practicality
cynthia dixon

Getting Her Shine Back

The right pants and top can look as glamorous as a dress. These knits have a luxurious feel, and "it's easy to pull together a sophisticated outfit in a tone-on-tone palette," says Adam. The look scores extra points for making Cynthia appear taller and leaner.

The Beauty How-To: The O expert step-by-step guide to getting Cynthia's look

Next: A shapely telemarketer learns to stop hiding her curves

Eva Tortora, 29, Telemarketer

Why Eva adopted her modest style: "I wore a short skirt to a job once, and my boss told me it was inappropriate and sent me home to change. It was traumatizing."
The best thing about covering up head to toe: "It was comfortable."
The features she'd most like to play up: "My legs and my face."
What she says about her "before" photo: "...And that was the best shot."
Adam Says: "Eva is too young and too pretty to be hiding in shapeless clothes. Even though she's tall, her skirt was an awkward length, and her baggy, shapeless sweater wasn't flattering. She looks dowdy, older, and bigger than she really is."

Next: Eva discovers what a perfectly draped dress can do
eva tortora

Getting Outside Her Comfort Zone

"You can do so much with this dress, depending on how you drape and wrap it," says Adam. "The higher waist narrows Eva's middle, and the color complements her complexion." The sleeveless cut also accentuates Eva's pretty shoulders. "I could go for this," says Eva.

The Beauty How-To:The O expert step-by-step guide to getting Eva's look

Next: From the invisible woman to a can't-take-your-eyes-off-her bombshell

Angela Jones, 36, Hospital Food Service Worker

How Angela achieved her disappearing act: "I don't go out a lot. I want to look presentable, but I need to be able to wash and go."
What motivated her to consider making a change in her looks: "I work in a cancer hospital, and I saw how much a wig could help a patient's self-confidence. So I decided I would donate my long hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes free wigs for women who've lost their hair to cancer."
One of the nicest surprises about her makeover: "I thought I was a size 16. But I'm actually a size 12!"
Adam Says: "Not only were Angela's separates dated but the cuts—blousy on top, too narrow on her lower half—weren't flattering to her."

Next: Angela's hourglass shape, revealed
angela jones

From Wallflower to Femme Fatale

Angela channels bombshell glamour in a clingy evening gown. "This dress is body-conscious, and it outlines Angela's great hourglass shape," says Adam. "The crisscrossing crystal straps and draped fabric play up an unexpectedly sexy feature—her back—without being too revealing." And in this white-hot number, her behind is definitely more of an asset than a problem.

The Beauty How-To: The O expert step-by-step guide to getting Angela's look

Next: An architect upgrades from grungy basics to a sophisticated, office-ready look

Frid Branham, 38, Architect and Artist

Why she couldn't classify her look: "Was I artsy? Grunge? I just pulled back my hair and put on whatever was clean."
How long she'd maintained her unclassified look: "Since high school. I'd always liked neutral tones and layering with textures."
One of the ways her kids contributed to her style: "I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son; sometimes I have to tackle my son on the playground to get him home."
The least important person in her life: "Me. I just don't take time for myself. This is the time for me–professionally and personally."

Next: Adam shows Frid how to dress simply—and still look very polished
frid branham

From Grungy to Sophisticated

Frid didn't love the way her belly looked until she tried shapewear. "It makes it so much easier to wear certain things," she says—like this faux wrap. "The draping balances her shoulders and hips," says Adam. And this dress is versatile: With a blazer, it's office-ready; add bold jewelry for going out.

The Beauty How-To: The O expert step-by-step guide to getting Frid's look

Next: From fussy and eccentric to uber-chic and sleek

Susan Fanning, 55, Director of Recreational Therapy for Seniors at an Assisted Living Center

Why Susan was never seen without a hat: "When I was 4 years old, I'd get dressed up in a hat and gloves to go out to listen to my dad play music; I've worn a hat to go out ever since. And hats hid my thin hair."
The look Susan was going for: "Classy, with a kick. It's my job to motivate people all day long. If my style boosts my spirit, it can boost other people's spirits, too."
Why she thinks it's time for a change: "Changes are good...right?"
Adam Says: "Susan was dressing too costumey, and she was covering up her great figure."

Next: Susan keeps the dramatic red she loves, but upgrades to a more modern and flattering shade
susan fanning

From Fussy to Fabulous

"Susan loves red, but she was wearing the wrong shade—her signature color looked harsh against her fair complexion. You noticed her clothes before you noticed her," says Adam. He steered Susan away from cherry red and into a dress in a rich shade of bordeaux, which better suits her skin, hair, and new makeup. A little red can go a long way: Susan didn't need red lips and clothes.

The Beauty How-To: The O expert step-by-step guide to getting Susan's look

O's 10th anniversary special: The Make Me a 10! Reader Makeover Series