Experts dish beauty and dating advice to help you strike a balance between what men want and what makes you feel confident
You’ve heard the old line that there’s a difference between “guy pretty” and “girl pretty,” right? According to data from online-dating site Zoosk, that sentiment is spot-on: About 57 percent of men weren’t turned on by red lipstick on a date (aren’t red lips sexy?!), and upwards of 82 percent preferred “natural” hairstyles colors above trendier takes.
Yes, you should totally wear whatever makes you feel sexy. Above all, men love a confident woman—especially if her debatably-alluring look conveys that she’s truly comfortable in her own skin. But if you’re rockin’ that shade just to turn him on, we don’t want you wasting your time. So we asked a few relationship experts to share what guys find most attractive on dates—and how to pull off a date look you’ll both love.
Opting for the lusty color in your outfit instead of on your lips. “For a first date, red shows confidence, which is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” says dating expert Julie Spira, founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. “Plus, red is the color of love and romance—and red is the color of the stop sign,” just in case you need to send that message
Dating and relationship expert Laurel House, author of Screwing the Rules, agrees. “Men love the color,” she says. “It’s visually and mentally stimulating—but that doesn’t mean you need to look like a Valentine’s Day card. A simple red v-neck blouse is perfect.”
We get it—sometimes your locks don’t dry or curl how you want, and you have to resort to pulling it up into a tight sexy ponytail. And while this is totally excusable over being late from a second shower and blowdry, this strategy kinda bums guys out. “A man wants to be able to run his fingers through your hair,” says House. “He may even imagine giving your hair a little pull in the heat of passion, and he definitely doesn’t want to have to fight bobby pins or have a sticky mess on his hands.” Leave your hair naturally soft, down, and touchable, she recommends.
The smoky eye makes you feel sexy, but 66 percent of men in the Zoosk survey didn’t find their date more attractive with dark makeup. “Most men love a natural look over a heavily made-up look, so ditch the smoky eye and red lipstick in favor of a natural gloss and a huge smile,” says Spira.
Plus, a more subdued palette can allow your personality, confidence, and connection with him shine through, says dating and relationship expert Neely Steinberg, author of Skin in the Game.
Putting the girls on display tonight? “I think a common misconception is that women think the more skin they show, the sexier they will be to men,” Steinberg says. “Leaving a bit to the imagination is a lot sexier to most men, though.”
Your look should whisper sexy, not scream it. “If you dress with too much cleavage, it’s really a turn-off,” says Spira.
You can show some leg, cleavage, or a little midriff, but pick one area rather than feeling like you need to show off everything in one outfit, Steinberg suggests. Or have a top completely buttoned up but form-fitting to show of your gorgeous curves, Spira adds.
If your outfit looks straight off the runway, he might get the wrong idea. “When you dress over-the-top in a fancy outfit, men often think you’re a high-maintenance girl,” says Spira. “Wear a simple dress to show your feminine side on a date. Or, if it’s a daytime date, jeans and a cute t-shirt are always a good idea.”
Same goes for jewelry: “While your friends might find your chunky turquoise necklace to die for, your date finds it distracting,” House explains. Keep your necklace and earrings simple, minimize the ‘flare’ and glittery boggles on your blouse, and focus instead on flattering lines that show off what your mama gave you.
You don’t need to pull out the lingerie just yet. “While men fantasize about hot lingerie, it’s usually not with the girl he wants taking home to the family,” Spira says. “Wear something comfortable and sexy, but not slutty. It’s best to ease into the ultra slinky lingerie.”
House has the same advice: “While those sexy teddies are great on occasion, what a man is most turned on by is a more simply-seductive look—short cotton shorts paired with a white tank top.”
Most of the time, men love a woman who looks feminine and pretty—unless she’s stealing her man’s shirt, boxers, or basically anything else from his closet that is. “I've heard men say that the sexiest outfit a woman can wear is a man's t-shirt or his button-down the day after a sleepover,” says Steinberg. “It's not trendy, it's not overtly sexual. It's simple and uncomplicated. So don't assume that you have to put together some crazy outfit to get a guy's attention.” A pair of boyfriend jeans, a t-shirt, or a leather jacket will all do the trick for most guys.