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Ahead of the Curve

"A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape."—Mark Twain

Au contraire, mr. twain! Want to look taller? Lift this, or make that disappear instantly, without surgery? If your expensive new gown doesn’t flatter your body, says Gulfshore eveningwear guru Terri Eisenfeld, you might as well have grabbed something from your grandmother’s closet. Perfect fit is both an art and an illusion. Here, some of the best illusionists in the business share their secrets.

1. CHARMING CHAPEAU:  If your fashion wardrobe begins at the earlobes, you’re missing the halo that will frame your face, says milliner to the stars, Marsha Drummond. Marsha, aka "Mona the Mad Hatter," breezes into Marissa Collections each October to personally measure customers for that glam Naples Botanical Garden event, Hats in the Garden. Get on the list: (239) 262-6994.

2. BETTER TO SEE ME WITH: Properly fitted glasses make the eyes more alluring, says Kelly Chasnov, owner of the upscale Eyetopian Optical shops, (239) 947-0049. The eye should be centered in the frame, and the top of the frame should fall below the brow. Best-kept secret: An upward lift on the sides of the glasses also "lifts" the face.

3. REWORKING GRANNY'S BROOCH: That sentimental family piece with the stunning jewels just doesn’t fit your style. No problem, says Jacob Tuchman, a partner at Yamron Jewelers, (239) 592-7707. Important stones from vintage jewelry can be custom-designed into the new ring, bracelet, pendant or earrings of your dreams.

4.BRA: Contour Counts Women often discover the magic of a great-fitting bra only after significant weight change, a new baby, breast augmentation or mastectomy. But here’s an uplifting secret: A professionally fitted bra can vastly improve the way any woman looks in her clothes, say experts Maurine Taylor at Bra Taylor, Fort Myers, (239) 275-3838; and Christine Cammas at Femmes Je Vous Aime, Naples, (239) 403-0722.

5. THE GOWN: Fit Equals Confidence: You can wear the gown, or it can wear you, says Terri Eisenfeld, co-owner of Zola Keller, (239) 948-0006. "Very few women are a perfect (size) 10, especially when each label measures differently. A custom fit accentuates the positive and minimizes the rest, giving a woman the confidence to feel really beautiful. She carries that into her life." Inside tip: Eveningwear sizes run smaller than daywear.

6. MEASURE UP, SIR: A custom suit can make a man stand straighter, grow taller and lose 30 pounds. It’s all in the measuring, and Ron Brodeur of Brodeur Carvell Fine Menswear measures 25 points on every client. "I can fill out a thin frame and slim down a portly one. Better fits come with higher-priced labels, so men who can afford a $900-plus suit off the rack may as well have one custom made." Brodeur makes house calls. (239) 931-4000.

7. STANDING TALL: Remember when some movie hunks had to stand on planks to measure up to their taller leading ladies, or wear clunky lifts? No more! Lifts can be placed discreetly inside many shoe styles. And ladies, no need to pass up those gorgeous 5-inch Manolo Blahnik stilettos: A professional shoemaker can trim them to order. Recommended: Silvio Palomba (Naples, 239-261-0910) or Rafael Lazo (Fort Myers, 239-656-1151).

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