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The secret formula to dressing sexy (without looking sleazy)

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How to dress sexy without looking sleazy- formula for women's fashion and style

It’s an age-old question and, quite honestly, a very fine balance: how to look sexy- without looking sleazy

 

Let’s face it. There are times we love to dress up and look pretty. Who doesn’t like looking pretty?

 

But as a stylist that works with people to find the perfect outfits, one question crops up every time when we are discussing going out/date night/sexier looks (whatever you want to call them!).

 

IS IT TOO MUCH?

 

As women, how many times have we gotten dressed for a night out (or even a coffee date if I’m being honest) and thought, “Is this too much?” You may not be necessarily dressed like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman pre-Gere (aka a prostitute) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still question the ‘too muchness’ of your outfit. The ‘is this too much?’ question is usually seen hanging out with the ‘is this age appropriate?’ question- but more on that later.

 

Although different people are comfortable dressing at different levels of showiness- I’m going to go over a general rule for keeping the balance between sexy and classy in an outfit.

 

The rule of alternating zones: Put together outfits with alternating sexy and conservative pieces.

 

*Note: For the clarity of this post, I am going to use the words sexy, showy, or revealing as synonyms. I will also use conservative, classy, and casual to mean the same things. I do not mean to use any of these words in a negative manner and will refer to the above sets of words as opposites rather than good and bad. Everyone has their different ideas of what constitutes sexy, conservative, etc. so please keep in mind that I am aiming for middle ground. Smile

 

This rule is one of those things that seems easier said than done, right? I know you have follow-up questions, so keep reading.

 

First, think of the body as three or four different zones (as shown below).

 

Zone 1: Your hair or face

Zone 2: Top (shirt)

Zone 3: Bottom (pants/skirt)

Zone 4: Shoes

 

Zones 2 and 3 would combine in the case of a dress.

 

Let’s go back to the rule: Put together outfits with alternating sexy and conservative pieces.

 

When I say alternating, I’m referring to alternating ZONES. Below are four examples of different ways you can alternate zones between sexy and conservative.

 

Example 1:

Edgy look | Turtle neck sweater dress with grey over the knee bootstarget athleisure, sweatshit dress, how to do athleisure, how do you do athleisure, plus size style, sweater dress with suede OTK bootsZone 1: Hair or face (More made-up face and hair)

Zone 2: Dress (Casual dress)

Zone 3: Shoes (Heels)

 

Don’t both of these ladies look amazing? Notice how zones 1 and 3 are sexier (makeup/fixed hair and over the knee boots) while zone 2 is more conservative (loose sweater dress).

 

If either of these ladies switched out their sweater dress for a skin-tight mini dress, the outfit would look a whole lot different. That’s not to say it would look bad, but (in my opinion) it would look less stylish and make the wearer appear like they are trying hard to look really sexy.

 

Love these Fall outfits and want some more inspo? Check out the biggest trends of Fall 2018 and 150+ ways to wear them here.

 

Image Credits: Left and Right pictures

 

The opposite works also.

Example 2:

Stay comfy and stylish as the season transitions in our plus size Indie Flair Maxi Dress. In a fall-ready color, you’ll love the ease of this floor length dress. Shop our entire collection at www.kiyonna.com. #KiyonnaPlusYouZone 1: Hair or face (Light makeup and ponytail)

Zone 2: Dress (Fitte/shorter OR fancier)

Zone 3: Shoes (Flats or sneakers)

 

This time, zones 1 and 3 are more conservative and zone 2 is sexier. We have a fancier dress and necklace that she has toned down with flat sandals. She still is pretty made up, but I’m taking these pictures off Pinterest and it’s hard to find images of women looking too casual in the makeup department. Haha.

 

Did you know: that you look better when you wear clothes that look good on your body shape? I mean, just look at how great this pear-shaped woman looks in her dress! It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d probably be surprised to discover how many things in your closet are working against your body shape. Take the quiz to figure out your body shape and see personalized advice for your shape.

 

Image Credit: Pinterest

 

 

 

The same concept works if you have a top and bottom rather than a dress.

 

Example 3:

Modest, Feminine Dressing for the Plus Size WomanZone 1: Hair or face (styled hair and statement earrings)

Zone 2: Top (jean jacket and tank)

Zone 3: Bottom (maxi skirt)

Zone 4: Shoes (flats)

 

In this picture, zones 1 and 3 are dressier with statement earrings and a maxi skirt. Zones 2 and 4 are more casual, featuring a jean jacket and flat sandals.

 

I love this example, because it shows that you can get dressed up without looking super flashy or (skin) showy. I don’t know who this woman is- this outfit may be her idea of dressing down. However, for the sake of this example, let’s pretend she’s a primary school gym teacher (speaking of, if you’re a teacher, you’ll want to check this out) who favors casual clothing over getting fussed up. If her everyday outfits are more along the lines of athleisure, a hip-hugging skirt and perfectly coifed hair give her a sexy look that isn’t out of character.

 

Image Credit: Pinterest

 

 

Example 4:

21 Pinterest recomended woman oufits

Casual-Work-Outfits-for-SummerZone 1: Hair or face (lighter makeup)

Zone 2: Top (off the shoulder/low cut shirt)

Zone 3: Bottom (jeans)

Zone 4: Shoes (heels)

 

This example is one I tend to gravitate towards when I have to attend a casual function but still want to look nice (without over-doing it, of course!)

 

It starts with more casual hair in zone 1 (although, once again, it’s Pinterest- so everyone’s hair is looking amazing…but it’s still not pulled back in a perfect french twist or anything) and then zone 2 alternates to a sexier top. For the woman on the left, sexier may mean an off the shoulder top, while for the woman on the right, sexier is a low cut v-neck. They are both wearing more conservative, casual pants (zone 3) and, lastly, they dress up zone 4 with heels.

 

Image Credits: Left and Right pictures

 

 

 

Do you see how alternating zones between classy and conservative not only keeps you from looking too frumpy or too dressed up- but it keeps your whole outfit balanced and visually making sense?

 

This is THE MAIN WAY you can dress sexy AND age appropriate. The rule of alternating zones can be applied to any body shape, body type, and age of woman. It works because it gives you just enough guidance, but also leaves room for you to determine what works best for you in terms of sexy and conservative. If you look at the last two pictures, you’ll see how two women used the rule of alternating zones to make an outfit age appropriate for 20 and 30-year-olds (left) and also 50 and 60-year-olds (right). Both are equally sexy, don’t you think? By the way- did you know that I dedicate an entire lesson to dressing age appropriate in my e-course? Check it out here.

 

Does this rule always work? Keep scrolling to hear my honest opinion.

 

how to balance sexy and classy clothing

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Lastly…there is one big question: do you have to always keep the rule? What if you want two adjacent zones to both be casual or sexy? Is that okay?

 

The answer is YES! (Come on…you knew I’d say that) Fashion is meant to be fun! Try experimenting with different levels of sexy and see which one fits best for you. I personally know my comfort level of sexy and make sure to have at least one or two more showy options in my basic wardrobe that I can easily make into a sexy outfit at the last minute.

And don’t forget: the above is really only intended to be a good starting guide; don’t forget to have fun!

 

xoxo,

Leslie

5

How to Dress in your 30’s

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How to dress in your 30's for women

 

In my humble (30-something-year-old) opinion, I think your 30’s are the most underrated decade of your life.

 

A bold statement? Yes, but hear me out.

 

During the years between 29 and 40, you have an exciting mix of life events, available opportunities, and deeper self-awareness. You’re probably making more money than you have in the past and are starting to get to the part of your career that is more than an entry level job that you sludge through to pay the bills. Your body is still in decent shape, and you might be able to continue pulling off fashions from college. On top of all that, you are really starting to figure out who you are and you are doing lots of fun exciting things like getting married and having families.

 

Maybe I’m an optimist, (okay, no maybe’s here. I’m definitely an optimist) but I think the third decade on earth is pretty good. However, like every other decade, the 30’s bring their whole new slew of dressing woes and questions.

 

Here are my top 3 tips to dressing in your 30’s.

 

1. Reassess your priorities

 

During this decade, it is highly likely that your priorities will shift. The person you wanted to be in your 20’s may not be the same person you want to be now.

 

That’s okay.

 

This is a great time to take a step back and think about how your identity is changing (wife, mom, aunt, boss, etc.) and how you want to approach your new titles.

 

In your 20’s we talked about sending the right message. What do you want to tell the world? Guess what? Just because you are in a better position in your career or you’re married or you have a family, doesn’t mean you stop sending a message to the world. This is a great time to reevaluate the message you’re sending and, if necessary, re-construct it to fit your current aspirations and identity.

 

You may be reading this thinking…” okay, Leslie, that’s great…but what does it have to do with how I dress?”

 

The answer? It has everything to do with how you dress! Your appearance is the first big broadcast of your message to anyone you meet. Everything from how you do your hair, to your makeup, and your outfits come together to send a message in that broadcast.

 

Look in the mirror. What is your current appearance telling the world? Is it what you want to say?

 

Want to learn more about constructing the message you send to the world (aka: your personal brand)? Check out this entire e-course I created for newbies who are interested in finding and sending the right message- but aren’t really sure where or how to start.

 

How to dress in your 30's for women

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2. Keep upgrading your basics.

 

In my previous blog post on how to dress in your 20’s, we talked about starting to upgrade your basics from college to career. This is no easy task, and depending on your budget, could take a decent amount of time.

 

Budget isn’t the only thing that can hinder your wardrobe upgrade- not knowing your style can also be a culprit.

 

Maybe it’s because I love fashion, but I experimented a lot with different trends and looks throughout high school and college. Some looks were really good, but most were quite unfortunate (see: sage green pleated mini skirt with homemade tube top). These looks not only made for some great laughs (in hindsight, of course) but they helped me figure out my sense of style. Over the years I figured out what I like and what actually looks good on me. If your style is all over the place (or you just have no idea what it is) check out this blog post on finding your personal style and be sure to take the quiz that’s halfway down the page!

 

Because of experimenting with fashion in my teens and twenties, I was able to figure out what style was best for me (and the message I want to send the world)! Now, I can really bolster the basics in my wardrobe because I am choosing garments that I will love and actually wear a lot. This adds a layer of confidence when spending more money on clothing.

 

Knowing what works for your shape and choosing clothes that fit you make A HUGE difference. I made the drawing above by tracing the same pear-shaped woman. Look at what a difference it makes when she’s wearing basics (like pants and a blazer) that actually fit! If you’re not sure what shape you are, read this blog post and be sure to take the quiz! 

 

If you’re not sure what wardrobe basics I’m talking about, you’re not alone. Most women can’t really pinpoint the essential items they need to create a killer wardrobe. To help you make better purchasing decisions, I created a style e-book that focuses on the 20 items every woman (no matter the age!) needs and what versions of those items will work best for each body type. Check it out and get a peek inside the book here.

 

3. Don’t forget to have fun

 

You may have a big girl job, a husband (or wife), and even a child (or a chinchilla and too many plants in my case), but that doesn’t mean you have to graduate straight to the frumpy clothes train. In fact, there is no reason for anyone of any age to be on the frumpy clothes train…but that’s a different rant.

 

Remember, you are still young- so have fun with your outfits! Once you have your basic wardrobe figured out and you know your style (these are game changers- I promise!) you’ll be able to experiment with your clothes in a way that will yield more results that you love.

 

What do I mean by that?

 

Think about this scenario. You are putting together a scrapbook. In scenario A, you have a collection of scrapbooking supplies that you’ve collected over the years along with more paper/stickers/etc from your Aunt and Mom. In scenario B, you go to the craft store and choose exactly the right color papers, stickers, and accessories that you know will look great in your scrapbook. Now, which scenario will lead to an outcome you love with the least effort and most joy? You got it right, scenario B. That is essentially what you’re doing when you start building a classic wardrobe.

 

Once you have classics you love, adding the small accessories that turn an outfit from basic to fabulous is easy and actually enjoyable (for those of you who don’t like the whole process of putting together outfits).

 

Case in point? Have great basics, but don’t stop there. Be sure to still have fun with your accessories- this will keep your outfits age appropriate and keep you from looking frumpy. Because no one wants to look like they wandered out of a frat house party or an AARP meeting when they’re 30 (something).

 

 

 

TLDR: You’re finally hitting your stride in life- make sure your wardrobe is keeping up. Keep upgrading your classic wardrobe to your lifestyle but don’t be afraid to have fun! 

 

Enjoy your 30’s! Hopefully, as I age, I will prove myself wrong and every decade will be more underrated than the one before it. 🙂

 

Your fellow 30-something,

Leslie

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