To show off, or not to show off? And if so, how MUCH of it to show off? And HOW do you reveal almost all with class, style and sophistication?
The decision to flash the flesh is always fraught with controversy. Which is why so many celebrities have built careers [or reinvigorated stalling ones] by dressing provocatively.
image via pinterest
Why? Because it works [duh]! It all started when Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” in almost her birthday suit – a sheer film of nude coloured mesh with clusters of shimmering diamantes covering her privates was all that stood between the bombshell’s celebrated curves and conservative 1960’s America.
The effect was sensational and a new breed of cheeky attention grabbing glamour was born. Liz Hurley jettisoned into our consciousness in 1994 on the arm of then beau Hugh Grant in THAT Versace dress – basically a slip of stretchy black fabric held together by a few strategically placed safety pins, leaving little to the imagination. Burlesque beauty Dita von Teese regularly flaunts her wares on stage and on the red carpet in the most suggestively discreet and chic way. But for each newly born celebrity that can claim successful infamy after a dressing “down”, there is a larger number of Hollywood tragics who get it diabolically wrong, forever remaining on the “worst dressed” lists. So just how do you carry off a barely there gown without looking cheap, tawdry and not wishing you could “Turn Back Time” like Cher in her 1989 film clip?
Follow my guide below to avoid looking like a “Dancing with the Stars” escapee … Warning: this is dangerous territory and NOT for the faint hearted.
There are few occasions outside of the red carpet where gratuitous flesh flashing is appropriate and applauded. Proceed delicately and with extreme caution.
1. The most important rule when wearing a see through dress is obvious.
You MUST have a KNOCKOUT body. And I mean KILLER. No Courtney Love wobbly bits, lumps, bumps, bulges or sagging anything. We only want to see toned lithe limbs and svelte curves. If you can’t bounce a 20 cent piece off it – don’t show it.
2. Know your best assets and be selective.
Choose wisely what to flaunt, and what to cover up. The areas generally deemed too rude or just not that attractive are the “council workers crack”, the crease of buttock cheek and side of breast, the armpit crease, groin and navel.
3. Choose ONE piece of skin to bare, not everything at the same time.
If you flash a lot of leg with a slash to the wahzoo, be careful to cover up everything else. When going for a deep cleavage plunging neckline, counteract with a long sleeve and ankle grazing hem. If wearing a dangerously low cut backless number – cover up the décolletage in front. This approach will deliver a more demure brand of sexiness, rather than the tacky “take-your-clothes-off-it’s-Spring Break” on YouTube kind. It’s about suggesting rather than overtly flashing it all.
4. The “nude illusion”.
Is most effective and intoxicating when the entire body is covered in a sheer film of mesh and embellished with strategically placed jewels, tendrils of lace or swirled detailing. Choose nude, buff and flesh tones or sheer black over bare skin. The idea is to subtly HINT at what lies beneath and leave something to the imagination. If you blatantly show everything, you run the risk of being mistaken for a Lady Gaga imitator searching for her stage, or worse – a porn star.
5. Banish tacky “showgirl”.
Trims like feather boas, fringing, tassels and too-shiny sequins to a land far, far away! These belong in the theatre or sleazy strip club. Keep detailing chic with shimmering icy crystal, hand loomed lace motifs or delicate tulle ruffles.
6. Regal poise and grace.
Will save this look from coming off too Katie Price aka Jordan, page 3 girl. Dita and Liz manage to pull this look off successfully because they are LADIES. Whilst these frocks often require no knickers – you never see them flashing their “lady bits” a la Britney or Lindsay. Ladies keep themselves nice and blush regularly, despite keeping us guessing with a wink that says “I know, it’s a bit of a naughty frock, but I’m really a nice girl. Or maybe I’m not …
7. When wearing a potentially “dirty” dress.
CLEAN styling and grooming is essential to keep your look from falling into the gutter like Li-Lo. Keep makeup fresh, doe-eyed and 1950s movie star classic. Hair should be sleek, polished, swept subtly off your face and with a slight bendy wave. Keep jewellery to a minimum. Underplay everything else because the dress will be screaming for enough attention.
8. If you’ve come this far, the only mistake you can make now is to insipidly dribble onto the red carpet with the apologetic aura of a shy librarian.
So, last but not least – you need a lethal dose of chutzpah and uber confidence to work this look successfully. Once you have made the decision to bare nearly all, as Tyra says “own it”. Commit to the look, strut, preen and sashay with the confidence of an empowered “Blond Ambition” Madonna. OK budding starlets, now you are ready to make that carpet blush red and become a superstar. Spangles firmly in the right places, head held high and walk that fabulously fine line between cheeky glamour and overt tartlet.