Halloween is nearly upon us, which means America is on the verge of waking up to a 24-hour, nationwide fetish party. Be prepared for sexy nurses, sexy witches, and all manner of painted-on latex costumes to spiral out of control because America has unofficially declared Halloween to be the day good taste flies out the window.
Though Halloween may give us a free pass to show off how well our Cross-fit training and kale-smoothie regimens are going, dressing like that looks trashy at any other time. There’s a thin line, in fact, between sexy and slutty, and watching everyone don a a bikini-and-whip combo only makes it more obvious.
Bearing this in mind, I started wondering where that unspoken line actually is. Here’s what I came up with:
Day vs. Night
Nighttime somehow means you can get away with more. I’m not sure why this is, but just as you’re judged more harshly for downing tequila shots at ten in the morning, you can’t get away with showing skin before the sun goes down.
So if it’s still light outside, limit your sex appeal to well-tailored clothing in flattering colors. Keep your skirt no higher than a few inches above the knee and never show cleavage at work.
It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes wearing MORE clothes is sexier. Many anthropologists believe humans actually invented clothes to INCREASE sex appeal, because it taps into the peekaboo effect.
More clothes can fire up the imagination by keeping something hidden while drawing attention to it. Don’t believe me? Just think about how thigh-high boots are sexier than flats and why lingerie is such a big business.
Pick One Body Part to Show Off
To find the right balance, you want to bring in a sensual element without pulling out all the stops. One way to do this is to never show off more than one body part at a time. That means you can show off a little cleavage, OR your toned legs, OR your flawless back, but not all of them at the same time.
Tightness vs. Length
Another way to balance the sexiness is by keeping an inverse proportion between your hem length or neckline to the tightness of your garment. For example, showing your belly-button somehow looks classier in a flowing top than in a cut-off camisole.
If you’re wearing a tight skirt, keep it on the longer side. Pencil skirts are sexy without looking trashy, whereas tight mini skirts easily slide into poor taste territory.
Boots and Tights to the Rescue
You can buffer a short skirt’s potential trashiness, however, by covering up some of your legs. Wearing tights or longer boots looks much more respectable with miniskirts than do high heels. (This is a mistake I’ve noticed transvestites often making, by the way. They also tend to over-accessorize).
Finally, anything that reminds us of animals looks racier. Leather, suede, and animals prints ramp up sex appeal exponentially, so you have to be more careful with them. The same short skirt will look more dangerous when made of leather than cotton.
I believe part of what pushes sexy into cheap is looking desperate, like you’re trying too hard. You don’t want to look like you’re bending over backwards to get attention because it isn’t very chic.
So, what do you think? Did I nail the unspoken rules of dressing with taste or did I forget something? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂