From highlights to heels, guys reveal what works--and what doesn't
by Steve Santagati
Let's face it: We all want to look sexy sometimes. And whether you're into a vintage style, or the full-on va-va-voom, we have to wonder, what do guys notice? If you ever wanted to know about men's preferences—like whether your Manolos even register on his Richter scale—here's your definitive guide. In this excerpt from The Manual, you'll find out for sure what men find sexy.
Attention to vanity will seem shallow at times, but in the game of love, it's very important. Most people I see are lazy in this department. And, not surprisingly, these are the same people who complain, saying things such as “People are so superficial,” “I want him to love me for what's inside,” or “I hate the gym.” Well, no one is telling you that you can't dress as you choose. But when you put those constraints on yourself, you're limiting the number of men who will find you attractive. In the end, meeting the right person is a numbers game, and part of getting those numbers rolling is how you dress.
A Woman's Closet, Designed by Men
Lingerie can be inexpensive, but it can't be the kind that comes in a package of three (white, pink, and blue). Nor can it be the “granny” kind with a waist that reaches up to you rib cage and that hangs like a diaper. Lingerie is one garment that you should find as sexy as he does. And it benefits you, too. Women have told me that when they wear nice underwear, even though no one may see it, they will actually walk and talk differently, just knowing they have a little sexy secret. If lingerie can do that to a woman—and we already know how it affects men—then don't you think you should go out and get yourself some? You have tons of choices, and when it comes to lingerie, men like just about anything.
Again, we don't care. We know you like them. We don't understand why you like them. All we know is that many of you have closets full of them, and we've figured out that since you spend so much time and money on them, we can compliment them to flatter you. That's about it.
Most likely, if a guy tells you what nice shoes you have, he's either gay or “working on you.” My friend Mari recently told me that a guy came up to her in the airport and complimented her on new shoes. She's so sweet that she thought he meant it. I'm not saying that they're not nice shoes. But have you ever heard a man say, “Well, the thing that caught my eye was Shirley's shoes. I love those pumps, and when I saw them I knew she was the woman for me”? I don't know a single male who would say, “Dude, this chick had the hottest shoes on last night. Damn, I should've gotten her number.” It doesn't happen. Shoe flattery is for one purpose one: flattery. Have I made my point?
There is one style of shoes that men notice, and that's high heels. But heels are more about what a girl looks like in them than about the shoes themselves. Heels make feet and legs look sexy. The classic example is a girl wearing high heels in a bikini. Cheesy, and not particularly functional in the sands of Miami and L.A., but men notice for sure.
Hair, on the other hand, is, sigh, one of the sexiest things about a woman. Hair grabs us and doesn't let us go. Think octopus tentacles. Your style, color and texture are no matter. Your hair only needs to have a clean, tousled, just-out-of-bed look. My opinion is that most women look sexier with longer hair than shorter. Men like long, sexy hair largely because we don't have it. Plus, very few women can get away with that short boyish look. Next time you're out in public, watch how men look at women with long hair versus short.
On a related note, hair salons suck. I can't believe what they've done to some of your mops. They're not just ruining your hair; they're wrecking your love life. With the Internet and a gazillion fashion magazines at your fingertips, you've got plenty of references. Please think sexy and spend the time and money to get the right do. When in doubt, turn to whichever celebrity women are getting the most attention for being sexy, and copy them. Messy sexy is what you should be after: think Sheryl Crow, Jessica Alba, Jane Seymour and Reese Witherspoon.
A few more tips: Don't color your hair based on the swatches you picked up at the paint store. Other styles to avoid include bad bangs, mullets and that “business in the front/party in the back” look. And stop cutting your hair short as you age—there's no need to.
Every woman wears a dress differently. The only hard-and-fast rule is to pick a dress that accentuates your best body parts. Whether you have a gorgeous back, incredible thighs, or lovely collarbones, stock up on designs that not only fit but also highlight those attributes.
Your shape and height determine much of what you'll look good in, but here are some general rules of thumb:
Wear heels. Heels create the illusion of longer legs. And as I've said, they're sexy!
Buy a dress that vaguely clings, while still allowing your bum to move freely. Check out the red carpet “best dressed” lists for examples.
Loose cotton dresses are best if you have some pounds to shed. They give us a hint of your bum and legs without a solid picture. We have vivid imaginations and we fantasize you better-looking, not worse. (We're on your side here. Just give us something to work with!)
Stand up straight, shoulders back, chest high.
Wear longer dresses that hug your legs a bit. You want a fitted design.
Pick either heels of flats, depending on how tall you want to appear.
Make sure that at least 60 percent of your skin is covered by the dress. You have a lot of skin, and a little goes a long way.
As with shorter girls, loose-fitting, sheer cotton dresses that cling a little are great for those of you carrying a bit of extra weight.
Tops and Bottoms
This is fairly straightforward: You need to have tops and bottoms in your closet that you have no doubt are “man killers.” Call it your “good luck resisting me” section. This is the part of the closet that houses the cleavage cuts, the tighty tops, and the bootylicious jeans. Feel free to mix and match from the more “domestic” side of your closet, but never forget: it's a jungle out there, and sometimes it pays to get a little wild if you want to survive.
Glasses are hot! Hands down. Just make sure you pick a great style that flatters your face and keep the lenses free of eyelashes and finger prints. I love chicks in glasses.
Reprinted from the book The MANual by Steve Santagati. Copyright © 2007 by Steve Santagati. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.