by George Mickum

When dressing every day, it is important to be mindful of the appropriateness of your attire. One wants to be attractive to the person one is attracted to. But, so often the lines are crossed. From business environments to nightclubs, men and women are taking their clothing—and sometimes lack of clothing—to obscenely vulgar levels. When dressing with a sexy flair, it should look as if it happened by accident in effortless way.

For gentlemen, a tank top is not an appropriate form of attire for any occasion other than the gym and, perhaps, the beach. (Yes, it is quite flattering for toned arms.) However, this is in no way acceptable apparel for attending a barbecue, going to a club, or even picking up the dry cleaning. When wearing a button-down shirt, a man should never have more than three buttons from the neck unfastened. While this may vary due to button spacing, if one were to draw a line across the chest from one pectoral muscle to the other, that would be a good guide as to where gentlemen’s buttons should remain fastened.

For ladies, it is easy to get carried away in this current era of backless dresses, plunging necklines, and dresses and skirts so short that sitting is non-optional.. I have to agree with my dear friend P.W. who keenly observes, “The length of your skirt is in direct correlation to your credibility. Above the knee can be lovely—until the world becomes your gynecologist.”

It is best to choose one aspect to accentuate in any given outfit. When females get caught up in flattering every aspect, it quickly becomes overdone. Under all professional circumstances, a woman’s thighs should be covered 80 percent at the bare minimum. In the evening for non-formal events, it is acceptable to have more of the thigh showing. A general rule for dress and skirt lengths—keeping in mind that leg lengths do vary—would be a hand’s width above the knee. Now, that is appropriate.
Tights are not acceptable in a professional or formal setting unless the skirt or dress covers the general knee area. If a suit jacket is long enough, form-fitting pants are permissible. However, if the jacket has a traditional length, then the pants must be properly fitted. Even though this allows for tight-fitting pants, it is never appropriate for them to be skin-tight (or even nearly so!). Tight pants that closely contour the body cross the line of propriety for both men and women.
Mesdames et Mademoiselles! When wearing a dress or skirt, you must wear underwear ALWAYS! (I must say that restating the obvious does become tiresome.) It is never acceptable to have a bra strap visible. And, in no way does a lingerie camisole or bustier revealing itself under a blazer qualify as a professional look.

Cleavage, as you probably well know, has been visible and prevalent in attire since the beginning of fashion. However, I can only implore that ladies take a somewhat modest approach. While there is no exact science to it, if you are not spilling out, popping out, or suffocating, you are on the right track.
There is much to be said for looking attractive and being sexy. However, if that is what you are aiming for, the bold and obvious route is not always the most fruitful.

These Alexander McQueen pants are a great example of pants that are fitted yet not too tight as to be inappropriate or too suggestive. They flatter the body, making it clear of the physic yet not overdone. (saks.com)

These Vince leggings are cute pants for casual day to day wear. They should not make appearance at any formal event or in one’s business attire. The ultra fitted aspect makes them too tight, and too suggestive. (saks.com)

This Parker dress is too low cut, too short, and sleeveless. In general the dress is too revealing and skimpy. It attempts at being provocative in to many ways. If worn with a bolero or even an evening blazer it could be passable. (saks.com)