Fashion agony aunts Sophie Barker and Annie Carroll are the gurus behind fashion directory Homeroom, a website that helps you navigate seasonal trends and find emerging Australian brands. In their latest column for Broadsheet, they offer five styling solutions for dressing sexy with confidence – from embracing sheer tops and knee-high boots to kitten heel mules and baseball caps.

Hey Homeroom, how can I dress “sexy” beyond wearing tight, bodycon clothing?
– Secretly Saucy

Dear Secretly Saucy,

Never miss a moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

The notion of what is or is not “sexy” is highly subjective, and this is also the case with our wardrobes. Most of us will have at least one item that we purchased in the hope it would tease out our inner sexy minx. But we might not always feel truly confident in said clothing.

The first and only rule in how to dress “sexy” is to dress in what makes you feel more confident. But what happens if you’re not too sure what clothing makes you feel confident? We’ve got a few simple outfit formulas and ideas to help you feel sexy without compromising your fashion style.

The jeans-and-a-nice-top failsafe

The key to making this classic combination work is to ensure your jeans are fitted in all the right places (generally speaking, the waist/hips/butt region – get them altered if need be) and loose through the rest. Case in point: these wide-leg raw denim jeans from Country Road. This will give you a casually cool base to work with. Vamp things up with a delicate black lace blouse to counter the utilitarian jeans. Wear with patent Mary Jane heels in the colour of the season (bonus points for adding this crescent shaped bag) and layer over a cropped vegan leather bomber jacket. Silver jewellery in soft, curvaceous shapes will finish the look.

For a more daytime-friendly option, these straight-leg jeans by Ksubi balance a bit of bare-shoulder action. This ultra-soft jersey glove top does the trick. Shield naked skin from the chill in a ’70s-inspired faux fur cropped jacket, and accessorise with a logo baseball cap, mini red leather handbag and leopard-print kitten heel mules. Slide on a pair of black cat-eye sunglasses.

Highlight your assets (but cover the rest)

Pick a part of yourself that you like and emphasise it. The key here is to keep the focus on that body part by covering the rest to balance out the amount of skin on show. Love your ankles? Wear a maxi skirt that just grazes the ankle and pair it with a knit sweater. Like your legs? Go for a miniskirt paired with a shirt and oversized blazer. Love your neck? An off-the-shoulder top will be your best friend. Go one further and add a voluminous vegan leather maxi skirt, a pair of croc-effect leather knee-high boots and a silver crescent shoulder bag.

Knee-high boots

There’s something about wearing a knee-high boot that makes us feel undeniably confident. Naturally, they lend themselves to a shorter hemmed skirt or dress, but balance out the proportions and mood with a high neckline or a relaxed, grandpa-style knit on top. These heeled white boots are just the right heel height for this folded stripy miniskirt. A slightly sheer chocolate brown skivvy will be just light enough to wear under this double-breasted, wool blend blazer. Lean into the ’70s-inspired aesthetic with an oversized denim tote, gold earrings and aviator-adjacent sunglasses with a tinted lens.

A flat black riding-style boot like these from Essen are a sturdy bedfellow for a uniform-style pleated skirt. Pair with a slouchy cardigan to counteract the preppy energy, silver studs in organic shapes and a snakeskin-effect tote bag.

Pair stockings and knee-high socks

Sheer stockings and knee-high socks fly close to the lingerie-as-outerwear sun, but with some clever styling tricks they can feel fresh. Pull up a pair of sheer black socks to just below the knee and slip on a pair of low-heeled black patent Mary Janes. When worn with a matching two piece like this leopard-print jacket and miniskirt layered over a simple form-fitting black skivvy, the effect is demure with a wink. Keep accessories simple – a pair of black sunglasses in a classic silhouette and a relaxed black handbag – to let the clothes do the talking.

Sheer stockings are a styling element, not a practical winter warmer. Wear a pair of superfine sheer tights (40 denier) under a long black-belted skirt – a slit in the skirt is also very sexy. Try a pair of ultra-pointed black stiletto pumps for a quintessentially sexy (but contemporary) footwear choice. And finish the look with a buttoned-up indigo denim jacket.

Opt for casual sheer

Sheer is a shortcut to sexy, but to keep it feeling fresh, choose casual and unexpected silhouettes and accessories. This silk off-the-shoulder blouse in dolphin blue is just the right amount of see-through and offers a neckline you can adjust. Wear it with a long black taffeta skirt and zebra-print kitten heeled slingbacks. Or amp it up a notch with crystal drop earrings, longline black cashmere gloves and cradle a plush black vegan leather clutch.

For more style inspiration, visit homeroom.com.au or follow @homeroomau.