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How to Look Pretty, Not Provocative

Updated on May 16, 2013
If you're uncomfortable looking provocative, you can still be pretty by dressing modestly.
If you're uncomfortable looking provocative, you can still be pretty by dressing modestly. | Source

Choosing Modest Over Overtly Sexy

Sometimes it's hard when you're a modest girl or woman to feel pretty--the images you're bombarded with from television, movies, and magazines so often equate pretty with sexy, requiring lots of leg, cleavage, and make-up.

If you prefer a midi-skirt to a mini-skirt, you can still be pretty--and leaving something to the imagination isn't a bad thing. It's just all about the image you want to portray, and the situation you find yourself in.

Read on for tips on looking pretty, not provocative.

How to Apply Natural Make-Up

Pretty and Natural Make-Up

One way to look pretty, not provocative is to choose a natural look when you're applying make-up. Going light on the make-up gives you a fresh, youthful, and healthy look.

To get a natural look, try the following:

  • Go easy on the bronzer--it can look over-the-top in the bright light of day.
  • Stick to two coats of mascara and avoid heavy eyeliner
  • Choose a light foundation, either a mousse consistency or a mineral powder
  • Apply a gloss instead of a heavy lipstick
  • Blend on neutral eye shadow colors, such as taupe or cream (and avoid sparkle)
  • Save the smoky eye for going out or dates

Heavy makeup, including bright lips with a smoky eye, look more like you're heading to a club than to work or your everyday life. Even artfully applied, it can be a bit much for daytime. If you're going for modest rather than attention-grabbing, keeping your make-up natural is a good strategy.

When choosing an outfit, highlight your favorite feature and keep the rest covered up.
When choosing an outfit, highlight your favorite feature and keep the rest covered up. | Source

Choosing Clothing that Covers You Up

The easiest way to look pretty, rather than provocative, is through your choice of clothing. When you're choosing modest clothing, keep in mind that you can still look pretty--cleavage, bare shoulders, and bare legs are not the only way to look lovely!

As an added bonus, dressing more conservatively portrays an image that you respect yourself and that others should, too.

When you're shopping for good go-tos for pretty yet modest outfits, consider:

  • Shirt dresses
  • Maxi skirts
  • Maxi dresses
  • Peasant tops
  • Pencil skirts
  • Cardigans
  • Sheath dresses
  • Skinny jeans
  • Camis for layering under tops that may show a little more than you're comfortable with

Great stores for ladylike, beautiful clothing include:

  • Ann Taylor
  • Ann Taylor Loft
  • Kate Spade
  • J. Crew
  • Banana Republic
  • Anthropologie

If you do like to show off your favorite asset, so to speak, but still want to look modest, then choose one feature to highlight at a time--legs, shoulders, arms, etc.

As for shoes--stick to heels under three-and-a-half inches, and avoid any shoe that incorporates clear plastic in the heel, sole, or upper.

Dressing for Work

Tailoring Your Outfit to the Occasion

Remember that whether you look modest or sexy depends on the situation--almost any amount of cleavage at your place of work will feel provocative, while if you're running errands a little cleavage isn't out of place. And to take it to an extreme, you probably won't want to be wearing a shirtdress if you're out for a night in Vegas!

Dressing modestly during the way and showing a little more skin at night or at appropriate occasions is a great way to look pretty rather than provocative.

There are all kinds of beauty, so just dress in the way that makes you feel comfortable and confident!

Comments

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    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you! Completely agree...sexy at work is definitely a bad idea. And when you feel comfortable and dress to reflect who you are, you are the most appealing!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Great tips! I feel like looking modest can be sexy. When I see people dress intentionally sexy to me, it looks as if they're trying too hard instead of being themselves. Also if you work a regular job you'll probably need more clothes to look sexy out of work and presentable at work. To me being yourself pays off much more than trying to be something you're not.

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      @Alphadogg16: Thanks for commenting! Good to hear a man's perspective on how women dress. :) I agree about the self-esteem too--while some women just truly are confident and like to show off what they've got, others are trying to attract attention the wrong way.

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      @pinto2011: Thanks for the comment! I agree, the media does commodify women...sometimes we just need to be told that it's OK not to dress that way!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      @Randi: I used to work retail, and I totally agree! Though now I work in a corporate office and often think the same thing...there's a lot of skin going on at the office on some days. Can't believe I got so many repins so fast!!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      @Jo_Goldsmith11: Thank you for that awesome compliment! I agree, dressing like a lady is important to me and really does portray a certain image that you demand respect and also respect yourself!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      @Aleenabronee: Thank you! I appreciate your reading and commenting. :)

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Very Nice Hub, there's nothing more attractive than a well dressed,natural looking woman. Unfortunately I think it comes down to self esteem/insecurity. Most women are their own worst critic, and if they are unsure of themselves, will go about trying to get attention in the wrong manor.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      You have had 5 repins already!

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Safron! You have placed a very refined article by making the difference between sensuous and vulgar. Media, manufacturers and marketeers more or less are comodifying and creating a mental setup where female are projected as of an object which is quite dangerous.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great ideas and advice. Now if only people would listen to them. I work in retail and, while far from a prude, I am constantly amazed by what some people wear to go shopping in! For that matter, to go out at all! Thank you for a great hub! Up++ and sharing, pinning!

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 

      5 years ago

      This is so fantastic! This deserved a vote up ++ and to be shared and tweeted. My mom use to tell us girls that we need to "dress like ladies and respect ourself as a lady". Women are beautiful by God's design anyway. We should not dishonor ourself by showing more to the mainstream than we do for our spouses. Take care. Thank you for writing this. :)

    • Aleenabroonee profile image

      Aleenabroonee 

      5 years ago from California

      Nice dressing tips. I like it

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