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Monday, February 8, 2010

Nighttime Dressing

I'm no party animal, but I've spent my fair share of time out on the town at nightclubs, lounges, parties, and the like. As a teenager, I definitely made my share of fashion mistakes, and now that I'm much older, and in better shape, I have a stronger understanding of how to dress to flatter my body and to feel confident for nighttime. Gone are the days when dressing up for me meant designer jeans with boots and a halter top. Saturday night I wore a blue beanie, a loose floral tank top, a striped body con mini, a fringed scarf with a layered necklace on top, 2 pairs of tights, a vintage beaded jacket, cocktail rings with a red manicure, lace-up peep-toe platform boots, and a loose side braid.

After countless nights spent getting dressed and observing how other women dress, I've devised some tips. These tips are geared toward many of the young twenty-somethings in my area who seem to think that the more skin they show, the better. In terms of my particular area, trends lean towards: an overdose of cheap-looking poly/rayon/spandex blend dresses, micro length skirts and dresses on women with less than toned legs, overly penciled brows, and lots of indecently low cut tops. I think that when done the right way, being covered up can be sexier, and it will also send a better message to people who will make judgements based on appearances.

Do: concentrate on your best feature and accentuate it. Great legs? Wear a mini skirt. Toned arms? Try a halter top. Sexy shoulders? How about a one-shoulder dress.

Don't: overdo it by showing too much skin. If you're showing cleavage, then don't wear a short skirt. If you're baring your back, then don't reveal too much leg. Interestingly enough, I just read in the March issue of Glamour that a U.K. study found that exposing about 40% of your skin was most attractive to men. Or, you can opt to wear something form-fitting and show very little skin - that's understated but alluring.

Do: make use of winter accessories when the temperatures drop. I like to add tights (for warmth and for the slimming and smoothing effect), knit hats, gloves, and faux fur jackets. This allows me to wear the same dresses year round, but make them look different depending upon the season and how I accessorize. I can't even count how many women I've seen recently walking around in forty-five-degree weather in skimpy camisoles and halter tops. It's not cute to be cold; put on a jacket, you'll be warm and look loads more stylish. (Maybe this is just a southern California thing, because I think women in this area wear the same things all year long - flip flops, tank tops, etc.)

Don't: wear something if it's not comfortable. It doesn't matter how amazing those heels are if you can't walk or dance in them. Furthermore, if you're not comfortable, it will show in the way you carry yourself.

Do: use night as an occasion to try something new, such as a shiny cocktail ring, a fun new clutch, a bold color, or a cat eye.

Don't: dress inappropriately for your body shape. Since I'm petite and slightly hourglass/pear-shaped, I avoid lots of volume on the bottom. Therefore, I don't wear bubble skirts, lots of ruffles, and large prints in order to downplay some of my curves.

Do: sit and stand up straight. It will project confidence and make you feel and look better.