'Baywatch' beauty Nicole Eggert embraces her curves on 'What Not to Wear'

"What Not to Wear" - Nicole Eggert
The "Baywatch" star before, L; and out of sweats and back into dating, R (TLC)

Former "Baywatch" babe Nicole Eggert learned to show off her post-baby curves on "What Not to Wear" last night -- and that hiding in sweatpants is no way to live.

Eggert, who turns 41 this week, has had a harder time than most in the celebrity-weight-struggles spotlight. A petite-division Miss Universe at age 5, she's best known for her roles as foxy babysittee Jamie Powell on "Charles in Charge" and "Baywatch" lifeguard Summer Quinn. Two kids and twenty-odd years later, she's naturally put on some pounds, and the tabloids haven't been kind about it.

Eggert is realistic about not getting her early-'90s body back, and even made a "Funny or Die" video daring folks to call her fat. But Stacey and Clinton had to confront the star about her style denial after "kidnapping" her from a red carpet. Eggert's secret footage showed her still trying to rock short-shorts and flowy tops from the juniors department, wearing sweatpants and other "I've given up" workout clothes all day (not just to work out), and clinging to maternity gear that would hide her tummy.

Eggert was open to ditching her Daisy Dukes and tent-like tops, but upgrading her to a more pulled-together look took some convincing. She blamed being a busy single mom for her inattention to style, saying, "I just worry about everything else but the way I look." She also fretted that, if she got cute clothes "in the larger size," she'd lose her motivation to drop that last 10 pounds. Stacey, usually the "bad cop" of the host pairing, switched to encouraging mode to explain that style isn't a reward for getting skinny: "Style is the tool to help you feel as good as you can, any day, all the time."

Even that didn't sink in at first, as Eggert spent most of her solo shopping trip complaining about the pencil skirts Stacey insisted on, and selecting mediocre dresses (one of which Clinton compared to an East German ice-skating outfit). But after Eggert sighed aloud, "When you're tiny your whole life and then you're curvy now, it's an adjustment," something clicked. She found a bunch of flattering printed jeans and waist-defining tops that would still let her chase her 15-month-old daughter around; she even embraced Stacey and Clinton's strategy for balancing her proportions, admitting, "There's a reason, I guess, why they put so many pencil skirts on people." (They do put everyone in a pencil skirt, it's true.)

After Ted Gibson trimmed up Eggert's split ends and used layers to point up her cheekbones, Carmindy amped up Eggert's makeup look with a smoky eye featuring blue liner -- and Eggert showed off her new togs to an approving Stacey and Clinton, acknowledging that she might just feel ready to get back into dating again. Friends and family loved Eggert's new look -- here's hoping the paparazzi can find a more flattering angle for the petite star from now on.

Check out the big reveal:

Eggert hasn't done much acting since the birth of daughter Keegan in 2011, though she's appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club" and participated in Comedy Central's roast of fellow "Baywatch"er David Hasselhoff. She also has a 14-year-old daughter, Dilyn, from her relationship with actor Justin Kerwick, which ended in 2002. Eggert was also engaged to the late "Lost Boys" actor Corey Haim in the early '90s.

"What Not To Wear" airs Thursdays at 10 PM on TLC.