Sexy dressing is controversial. There seems to be a profusion of unwritten rules about how women can and should dress sexy, when we can do it, how often we can do it, and how we should look when we do. Additional unwritten rules touch upon how old we can be and still dress sexy, how much or little we can weigh and still dress sexy, how many traits or abilities we can have that differ from the perceived norms and still dress sexy, and on and on and on. It’s overwhelming and infuriating and these lists loom so large that many of us have opted right out. Sexy dressing is too fraught, too risky, too laden with the potential for judgment and misinterpretation to even bother. Many women are just not interested in the scrutiny – positive or negative – that comes with sexy dressing.
But I also know that sexy dressing can be private, intimate, and expressive. Under the right circumstances it can feel empowering and freeing. And for many women, sexy dressing is an act of rebellion that says, “I am a proud and sexual being. And there’s nothing shameful about that.” Sexy dressing can be incredibly fun, and even those of us who don’t do it often have a fabulous time doing it on occasion.
Sexy dressing also encompasses a HUGE variety of styles, garments, and looks. Since there as many ways to dress sexy as there are ways to be and feel sexual, it’s a very broad spectrum. But the three main categories that come to my mind when conceptualizing sexy dressing are as follows:
Showing bare skin
Most of us show bare skin every single day, but keep it confined to our faces and necks, hands and arms, calves, ankles, and feet. Once more skin is exposed – shoulders, decollete, midriff, thighs – most consider the outfit in question to verge on the sexy side. Many people have sex while naked, and outfits that reveal either lots of bare skin or bare skin in known erogenous zones can subtly evoke emotions and ideas about sex.
Showing body shape beneath clothing
Think of Joan from Mad Men. Most of her dresses keep all of the above-mentioned sexy zones totally covered. But her dresses and skirts are form-fitting and show her figure very clearly. Nothing is loose, everything snug and tailored. And her looks are frequently and effortlessly sexy because of it. Actual tight clothing that pulls and pinches seldom evokes sexiness since it looks awkward and uncomfortable. But clothing that fits to the figure and shows the body shape beneath is sometimes perceived to be on par with clothing that reveals bare skin.
Items that have a sexy history
High heels, leather clothing, fishnet tights, bustiers, and loads of other garments, shoes, and accessories have become symbols of sexiness in and of themselves. Each has its own history and reasoning, but they all share a common trait: When they’re incorporated into an outfit – even if the rest of the outfit is relatively non-sexy and/or modest – they add a dose of sexiness automatically.
Now we’ve FINALLY gotten to the interesting part of this post. Let’s talk about how you feel about sexy dressing! Here’s what I’d love to know:
- Do you dress sexy?
- When and why?
- If you were going to assemble a sexy outfit that you felt fabulous wearing, what would it include?
- What does dressing sexy mean to you?
- If you feel strongly about these issues, express your views respectfully and civilly or they will not be published. I’m happy to participate in a discussion that includes contrary opinions, but will not tolerate cruelty.
- Be courteous and kind to each other when responding to remarks from other readers.
Image courtesy Bebe.
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