While not everything is about looks, there's no denying our human nature that makes us want to appear more attractive. When it comes to knowing exactly how to do so, it starts to get tricky. The truth is that fashion-wise, there are no magic formulas.A new dress might make you feel good temporarily, but it's not going to give you confidence forever.
I spoke to Dr. Genevieve von Lob, chartered clinical psychologist, who as well as being the author of Five Deep Breaths: The Power of Mindful Parenting works with women on their self-confidence.
"Women in particular are much better at honing in on the negative," says von Lob. "And the brain is naturally biased to look at the negative because we hardwired to look for threats on an evolutionary side. Media, our upbringings, and competition can make women, and men, feel less attractive."
With this in mind, I picked out five classic ideas about how to look attractive to ask von Lob about and find out whether they really work for us, why they're good, and what impact they can have on us psychologically. Keep scrolling for more.
1. Items That Define Your Waist
The idea: Pieces that define your waist, such as corsets and belts, give you the look of bigger hips, thus making you look "more attractive," thanks to the evolutionary notion that you appear fertile.
The psychologist: "The most important thing is if you feel comfortable in it, and comfortable within your own skin and feeling empowered wearing it. Attractiveness isn't just the outer; it's an inner thing. The way to be attractive is to boost ourselves and give ourselves more confidence. One piece of advice I'd give is pinning up positive affirmations to help yourself remember you're brilliant, thus giving you more confidence."
The idea: Red is a sensual colour that gives the impression you're confident and sexy.
The psychologist: "Colours are very powerful, and red is a very strong, sensual, and passionate colour. It evokes confidence in people. You can also draw attention to yourself by wearing it, and the more you boost yourself and get attention, potentially the more confident you feel. However, If you’re a very insecure person, all that attention might have a negative impact. I think with anything like colour, it has to be an individual thing. The other important point about colour is that it's subjective—everyone has built up their own associations with different colours."
3. High Heels
The idea: High heels make you appear taller and slimmer.
The psychologist: "This, again, is a lot to do with associations. Through history, women who have worn heels have been considered sexy, which is attractive. However, heels don't necessarily make you 'attractive.' Ultimately it’s not about what you're wearing, but it's that thing that shines through certain women. These women are comfortable in their own skin; they've been able to challenge the inner critic and stop the negative comments about themselves. But every woman has something they’re not happy with. and it's hard to silence those critics, but a woman who shines has worked at it."
4. The Little Black Dress
The idea: The LBD is the ultimate dress to wear to feel attractive.
The psychologist: "Unlike red, a black dress is more understated and sophisticated. It's not associated with sex as much, and it's not as attention-grabbing. This is probably a good option if you're more of an introvert."
5. Short Skirts/Low-Cut Tops
The idea: Showing off your legs or cleavage will make you appear attractive.
The psychologist: "This all depends on your level of confidence in the first place. How beautiful do you feel already? If you're lacking in confidence, it won't help. It will make you feel more uncomfortable. If you're confident, you're not going to care what other people think of you."