If you’re trying to create an impression, that’s precisely the impression you create.
I maintain that sexiness is in the eye of the beholder; you can’t ‘intend’ to look sexy and get away with it. I also maintain that you can look sexy or comfortable, but probably not both together. One friend maintains that there’s nothing sexier than confidence. I’d build on that and suggest that where clothes are concerned, sexiness comes from looking comfortable wearing what most people would be uncomfortable wearing.
Autumn and winter means parties and fancy dress and the annual spectacle of tight or skimpy costumes intended for women and baggy, shapeless outfits for men. The baggy stuff doesn’t appeal to me as a man, because I just don’t think it looks cool; I’d happily dress as Indiana Jones or a Jedi knight, but not in a Scooby Doo onesie. The skimpy stuff for women I’d be very careful about too; I’ve gone out in a red Star Trek minidress, but I probably wouldn’t want to socialise in a bunny girl costume (and definitely not a schoolgirl costume – for all sorts of reasons, but mostly down to the gut feeling that it just wouldn’t be right). Generally speaking, I just find the feminine costumes more iconic or striking than the (intended) masculine stuff.
I recently went to a couple of parties in a catsuit and 4″ heels. Now this conjures up all sorts of impressions, mostly of a fetishy nature (I’ve no idea when or why catsuits became fetishy, and I’m sure that’s not important right now). The look I was going for was Selene from Underworld in the first instance, and Emma Peel from the 1960s Avengers in the second (although with pop culture memories being so short, I accepted people’s interpretation of Black Widow from Avengers Assemble).
Now I just wanted to look cool (even though I had a couple of bright blue toy guns strapped into my thigh-holsters), and more importantly passably feminine-looking. Looking sexy wasn’t really a concern. It sure as hell didn’t feel sexy. For one thing, it was a cheap, one-size-fits-all fancy dress catsuit, which means one size won’t fit all. For another, I had to tuck everything away as thoroughly as possible (and that’s never comfortable), and I couldn’t drink much because going to the toilet meant taking the time to undo everything (and minor acts of gymnastics in a confined toilet space). The tightly-cinched waist, the tottering about in heels and the weeks of being careful about what I ate meant that spending a few hours prancing about in a catsuit ‘just for fun’ actually requires a fair bit of commitment (no comments about ‘maybe you should be committed!’ please!). Despite all these discomforts – and having to forget how exposed I felt – I really enjoyed the reactions I got, ranging from “You’re really confusing me right now!” to “Well, that wasn’t the voice I was expecting to hear….”
Did I want to look sexy? Well, I wouldn’t have minded if people thought I looked sexy. The main thing for me was looking like I ‘belonged’ in the costume, and it wasn’t a just jokey fancy dress thing. Emma Peel and Selene run about armed to the teeth, kicking ass all over the place in their iconic costumes, but they look like they belong in them; in their fictional worlds, it’s their version work clothes and they don’t make a big deal out of it – that’s for other people to do.
Having said that, the next time I wear fancy dress, I think I’ll go as a Jedi Knight…