Guys, I know it’s Monday morning and all, but let’s talk…
In 1962, Marilyn Monroe serenaded the President in a leave-little-to-the-imagination, beaded, peach gown. In 1993, Liz Hurley appeared on the arm of a very dashing Hugh Grant in a statement making Versace dress, completely held together by gilded safety pins. In 1998, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw made jaws drop in her infamous “naked dress.”
A completely see through beaded mesh covers Rihanna at the CFDA Awards.
A Kardashian undoubtedly flashes a “goody” (at least) once a week.
Gigi Haddid’s side boob has gotten more press than the model herself.
Beyonce appears on the red carpet essentially nude, minus a few strategically placed rhinestone embellishments.
Are you seeing a trend here?!
The naked dress has evolved over time from a risqué fashion statement to literally being naked. More importantly, we all seem to be OK with it.
Take a peek at the dress selection at your favorite retailer and you’ll discover backless, strapless, plunging, slit-up-to-the-hoo-ha, little numbers that by today’s standards are perfectly acceptable clothing choices. Now, I’m not going to get into women’s rights. I’m not going to speak about how we objectify women when we make their bodies taboo to see. I’m definitely not going to get into how we transform women’s bodies into wholly sexual objects through a tradition of body shaming and sexual repression under the guise of humility. I think that’s a whole separate argument and pandora’s box that I don’t care to open — and frankly, it’s not my place (or desire) to preach on that!
What I am going to get into is this:
What kind of message is all of this “fashion” (or lack thereof) sending to the next generation?
Are we telling our girls that showing skin equates sexiness/attractiveness in essentially, a direct linear relationship: more skin = more sexy?
Well, I’d like to break this cycle.
I’d like for the young(er) woman that I see out and about in their skimpy Saturday night ensembles to consider for a moment that perhaps part of the allure of being “sexy” is about maintaining some semblance of mystery.
When Marilyn, possibly one of the most (if not THE most) revered sex symbol of American history, wore that wisp of a beaded dress to serenade the President of the United States she was covered and contained, and even carried a fur coat to top off the look! Her dress got our attention and left us intrigued… as it should.
Can we please bring THAT sexy back?!
As a style professional, I’d like to offer some pointers to keep everyone looking their best:
1. Flaunt/expose only one body part at a time: If a dress is bare up top, keep the length longer. If you’re into showing off your toned legs, then keep the cleavage under wraps. If you follow this tried and true style tip, the eye will automatically be drawn to whichever piece is exposed and not distracted by any additional flashes of skin.
2. Short + tight does not always look sexy: We’re not all built like Victoria’s Secret models, so we must understand that the short/tight schtick does not work for everybody. In this case, one size definitely does NOT fit all. Figure out what your best asset is — your legs, your small waist, your bust, etc. and work it.
3. Confidence is the sexiest part of your body: When shopping for those special night out looks, only invest in those pieces that are truly you. I always tell my clients that no matter how old, young, thin or curvy they are, unless they find a look that truly embodies their personality they’ll never look or feel their best.
Here are just a few of my favorite summer styles that are a good blend of skin and coverage to help you create your own classy version of the “naked dress”:
(Click on the images below for product details!)
Obviously, this Monday morning essay is not intended to change the mindset of a nation, but maybe it just may inspire a few people to reconsider their next purchase.
(header image via)