Yes, they’ll look – just like you’d probably look if a handsome, well-built guy passed by you – but there are plenty of other things that can garner a man’s attention, according to a recent survey from Redbook magazine.
Here’s what men find sexy:
79% of men want a peek at your cleavage.
“I love a low-cut dress … and the lack of it.”
–Mike, 40, New York City
Wow! No surprise there. A low cut top can be as effective as Kryptonite in turning a strong, intelligent man into a babbling fool. But it can also turn some guys into leering, presumptuous jerks, so you have to be careful when and where you wear them.
If you feel comfortable wearing a daring décolletage (not everyone does), surprise your guy by wearing one for a romantic date, for his birthday, or some other special occasion. I did this for our anniversary just last week, and Robert’s gaze kept straying to my bustline all during dinner (as did the waiter’s, the busboy’s, and the other men sitting around us, which is why I don’t wear this style very often). It also filled his head with all sorts of ideas, which made for a VERY interesting evening once we got home.
When should you NOT show your cleavage? At work or at work-related functions. You want your co-workers to focus on your ideas, not your breasts. I’d also hold off on first and second dates (or more, until you feel safe and comfortable with the guy), and at church or religious celebrations. You might even forgo this style at family events to avoid snide or disapproving remarks from relatives.
72% of men want to cuddle up with a cozy-sweater girl.
“Fabrics that look soft to the touch make a woman look sexy.”
–Judd, 30, Brooklyn, NY
Form-fitting sweaters have been popular since Lana Turner made them sexy in the late 1930’s. Opt for styles that lovingly hug your curves, not too tight, not hanging off.
Skip the bulky, scratchy knits and try short sleeve silk sweaters in warm weather, lush angora and cashmere (if you’re not allergic) when it’s cold. Remember, TOUCHABLE is the key factor. If you don’t like how it feels against your skin, neither with he.
56% of men love your dress-down uniform: jeans and a white tank.
“You can’t go wrong with a white tee and jeans.”
–Chad, 31, Brooklyn, NY
I laughed when I saw this one, because I happen to think guys look really sexy when they’re either very dressed up, like in a tux, or very dressed down in a white t-shirt and jeans. Funny they should think the same about us!
But sloppy doesn’t cut it. Both pieces have to fit well. Make sure the top is all white – no logos or tacky sayings – and the jeans are a simple, classic style. You want to call attention to the body IN the clothes, not the saying or decorations ON the clothes.
79% of men think a beachy sundress is hot.
“I like a lightweight dress that blows in the wind.”
–Barry, 27, Rochester, NY
Ask most men whether they prefer a woman in a dress or pants, and they’ll almost always say a dress. Dresses are feminine and girly and when properly selected, can really show off the curves.
The key phrase here is “properly selected.” Opt for styles that show off your best features, like your neck, waist, or legs, and that hide your not-so-great-features, like flabby arms or chunky thighs. White or dark colors hide perspiration, cotton and linen breathe and wick away moisture. Keep a few in your closet for the warm season and pair them with high or low heeled sandals (whichever you prefer) for a carefree summer look.
But don’t wear a sundress to work unless you cover up the arms with a sweater or jacket. Beachwear is not business wear – unless you happen to work on the beach.
64% of men would like to live with the girl next door.
“I’m into the kind of makeup that looks like it isn’t there.”
–Bryan, 39, Richmond, VT
This is an interesting one. While the high-maintenance, high glamour “pin up girl” (Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Pamela Anderson) has a long history in our society, the “girl next door” has also been there every step of the way. For every guy who has a “thing” for bright red lips or heavily made up eyes, there are two who prefer the natural look.
But that doesn’t mean NO makeup. No makeup implies you don’t care how you look, which doesn’t fly with most guys. Most men prefer women to look polished but not fussy. So keep it simple and keep application time short, but DO even out the skin tone, powder the shiny spots, and brighten your eyes with a little mascara.
If you’re not sure what your guy likes, just ask him. Or, if he makes a request about your makeup, honor it if you feel it’s reasonable. Robert made it very clear early on in our relationship that the shiny, sticky lip gloss had to go. Since I liked his kisses more than I liked my lip gloss, I complied. I haven’t worn it in years.
67% of men are bewitched by bed-head.
“Bed-head makes girls look messy, but in a pretty way. Love it.”
–Travis, 28, Newfane, NY
I’m not so sure about this one. It got mixed reviews in my informal poll. Bed-head after a good romp? Sure! At work or at a party? Not so much.
But since all but one of the guys I spoke to prefer soft, bouncy, touchable hair to stiff, shellacked, won’t-move-in-a-strong-wind hair, I’m thinking that’s what they meant with this question. Long hair is the top choice (”You can really sink your hands into it,” said several), but a few of the men I spoke to said they really didn’t care about length so long as it looked healthy and was well groomed. Unnatural (or uncomplimentary) colors, severe or elaborate styling, and a brittle texture all got a “pass.”
How does your hair stack up?
60% of men go crazy for the snug fit of a pencil skirt.
“I love a skirt that hugs a woman’s curves.”
–Dangelo, 35, Los Angeles
Pencil skirts have been around since the 1940’s and have been popular ever since. The style follows the shape of a woman’s body, drawing attention to the curves. No forgiving A-line, no anything-could-be-under-there trapeze, a pencil skirt clearly outlines the body it encases.
Which means, of course, that not everyone can wear it well.
It’s best suited to curvy figures with a small waist, rounded hips, and flat tummy. Add a wide belt to emphasize the small waist, or pair it with a touchable sweater for a truly enticing look. You’ll be amazed at how much attention you’ll generate.
Now I know what some of you are thinking: don’t live your life to please a man!
I agree with you. But I also know that gathering intelligence on the other half of the population gives you an advantage in dealing with them, both in work and romance. You’ll know what to stay away from in the workplace to avoid inappropriate remarks or suggestions, and what to focus on in relationships to garner, hold, or rekindle a guy’s attention.
Age doesn’t matter. Neither does size. If you take some time to look sexy, you’ll feel sexy and you’ll project that. Self-confidence is alluring, and for many men, even sexier than lingerie (which, by the way, didn’t make this list). So use this intel to your advantage.