Before: Etheliya Hananova
Etheliya's minidress emphasized her thighs, and the light-colored top was unbecomingly clingy.
After: A Sleek Sheath
Better off red! This dress (Ergofit by Rafaella, $109) provides enough structure so curvy women like Etheliya can go bright (for traditionalists, it also comes in black). Its hidden asset: a mega-stretchy lining that subtracts inches. "It makes me feel sexy and elegant," says Etheliya, 27, a restaurant wine consultant. Skin-tone shoes (Giuseppe Zanotti Design) elongate the look of her legs. Earrings, Anna Ruth Henriques. Bracelets, CC Skye and Lia Sophia.
Tip: A body-shaping mesh lining means guaranteed smoothness.
Before: Lauren LaPuma
"In summer I'm a dress fanatic," says boutique manager Lauren, 26. This short, high-waisted sack accentuated rather than diminished her pear shape.
After: A Well-Placed Print
The neck ruffle and cap sleeves of this breezy dress (Victor by Victor Alfaro, $144) enhance the upper body so it balances a larger bottom half. A slimming brown background makes the colorful pattern pop in the center. Bangles, House of Lavande and Gerard Yosca. Shoes, Casadei.
Tip: Splashy florals clustered vertically on the dress make the body look narrower.
Before: Jainmy Martinez
Despite losing 50 pounds through healthy eating and exercise, Jainmy, a 32-year-old actress, was still in cover-up mode—"loose clothes to hide the love handles."
After: A Fitted Knit
Her new, improved figure is gorgeously evident in a cleverly draped faux-wraparound dress (Norma Kamali for Wal-Mart, $20). Knits, provided they're fairly substantial, have a nice way of gliding over and camouflaging less toned areas. "This dress hugs my waist, and that makes me look smaller," she says. Earrings, Paige Novick. Ring, Me&Ro. Shoes, Jimmy Choo.
Tip: Side gathers create a diagonal line that visually whittles the midsection.
Before: Jennifer Fleming
A hot pink babydoll showed too much leg, and the turtleneck made Jennifer look shorter than her 5'2".
This slinky dress (Karen Millen, $340) minimizes hips and thighs by putting long sections of darker color on the outside and creating a lighter, brighter central section that streamlines the body. "I don't like a lot of bareness," says Jennifer, 30, a makeup artist. "Shape is sexier than skin!" Earrings, Julie Sandlau. Shoes, Sergio Rossi.
Tip: The orange panel "paints" a slimming up-and-down line on the body.
Before: Andrea Sadler
A shapeless sundress widened Andrea's shoulders (not what a top-heavy woman needs); black shoes interrupt the leg line.
After: Body-Defining Lines
"It looks really sharp," says Andrea, 47, a filmmaker, of the crisp sheath (Brooks Brothers, $298) whose architectural bands balance her figure: sculpting her bust, carving out her midsection, and—assisted by matching Sergio Rossi heels—showing off her legs. Ring, Isharya. Bangles, Kara by Kara Ross.
Tip: High-contrast piping creates flattering vertical action.
Before: Gail Maceda
Gail's print dress was cute but so loose that it hung shapelessly on her small-boned figure (she's 57, a dancer turned actress).
After: Bright Top, Black Bottom
A dress that looks like separates (ABS by Allen Schwartz, $205) draws the eye up to her long neck; the high-waisted black skirt and skinny belt (W by The Worth Collection) narrow her torso and help hide her thighs. Necklace, Subversive Jewelry by Justin Giunta. Ring, Kendra Scott Jewelry. Shoes, Bruno Frisoni.
Tip: Light and dark join forces to boost assets, minimize problems.
Before: Tara Liggins
Too short, too skimpy, too flimsy. "And I'm wearing too wide a belt," admitted Tara, 26, an event planner and publicist.
After: Fit and Flare
Soft inverted pleats on the neck and skirt of this smart A-line (Talbots, $179) generate the illusion of length; a thin belt in a tonally related color (Kristin Kahle Designs, $96) subtly and smoothly marks the waist. Not-too-shiny metallics (shoes, Stuart Weitzman) are more fun than the usual summer neutrals. Bracelets, House of Lavande, $548 and $350; 561-802-37. Shoes, Stuart Weitzman, $325; 310-860-9600
Pleats ensure an easy, unconstricted feel; a skinny belt exercises curve control.Get O's creative director Adam Glassman's rules for low-fat dressing, plus nine more body-flattering dresses