Adding unexpected touches (a wrapped shirt, a grand exit) and glamorous essentials (red lips, shades).
It's about dressing in fabrics that feel great against your skin.
And it's about choosing more original ways to express your sensuality than by merely donning a micromini.
Our get-sexy looks work for any age or budget: some are after-dark only (shoulder-duster earrings), while others can work for daytime (touchable fabrics, hats).
Here's how to add sizzle to your look without sacrificing your modesty.
1. Wear something ordinary in an unexpected way.
It doesn't have to be a huge statement like wearing a jacket backwards; subtle alterations pack the chicest punch. For example, take a basic man's white shirt (slightly oversized), unbutton it, wrap it so that one side overlaps the over and tuck in.)
2. Do red lipstick.
Pale lips may be trendy, but nothing does the job like red. Use lipliner for a perfect appearance, choose a creamy matte in a red that best suits your skin tone (blue-reds for darker skin tones; orangey hues for olive; true reds for blondes). Use a light hand for the rest of the face because the lips should take center stage.
3. Add a hat.
Nothing attracts attention quite like a hat. First, it takes guts to wear one. Second, it takes panache to carry it off. Combine the two qualities and you get major appeal. Stay with classic shapes -- the fedora, the beret -- to make it easier to pull off.
4. Accessorize with shoulder-duster earrings.
Skip every other piece of jewelry, pull your hair back and make sure your makeup stays soft. This look goes great with bare shoulders and updos, too. Definitely an after-dark look.
5. Make it metallic.
Black may be chic, but gold, silver, copper and pewter are especially luminous when you're going for vavoom. Look for simple shapes (the story here is the fabric and color, not the line of the outfit) and tones that flatter your skin color. Pass on major jewelry and makeup to let the dress really shine.
Adopt an exotic look.
The cheongsam is a classic example of a dress with international allure. Harem pants, sarongs and embroidered items are all borrowed ethnic looks with tons of feminine charm. The mandarin-collar dress from China is flattering, chic and always intriguing.
7. Wear shades.
Perhaps the single sexiest item you can own are a great pair of sunglasses. They add tons of mystery, look cute even on top of your head and actually serve the practical purpose of protecting your eyes.
Make a grand exit.
Sexy is all about surprises, so a deceptively simple dress from the front can be a showstopper in the back. Open backs, lace-up backs, great dress trains all make for dramatic effects.
9. Stay soft with touchable fabrics.
Forget everything you've ever heard about hardcore leathers or sparkly sequins being heat-inducing. Cashmere, silky satin, buttery soft suedes are the real scene-stealers. Touchable fabrics not only invite another's touch, they have the added bonus of feeling great against your skin so you feel pampered.
10. Play peekaboo.
No need to bare your breasts, even with lace. Nude linings, camisoles and slips all keep you covered while the lace itself stays really suggestive.