It's not that they're all drop-dead gorgeous like Alyssa Milano, Carla Bruni or Sophia Loren. Or all 20-somethings with blonde hair and size two waists, sculpted abs and really long legs. But they've got sex appeal. We can all learn something from these women, and because I'm a busy woman and have limited time to spend on my sexuality, I've narrowed it down to the following five things.
5 ways to get sex appeal
1. Start by loving the most important person first
Can you guess who that is? It's you!
Tell yourself every morning what a fabulous person you are, and how you deserve to be loved simply because you are you. You'll start to take better care of yourself once you feel your self-worth. Italian women know it's all about attitude and remember that feeling sexy starts from the inside. Focus on the positive (you have beautiful eyes, you're a great friend, you're proud of your work) and not so much on the negative. Lose thoughts like: I have thunder thighs and I'm getting wrinkles.
2. Don't eat a salad if you feel like pasta
If you want an espresso or latte instead of an instant coffee, go for it. If you want to eat ice cream, don't deny yourself. Go for the gusto and don't try to stave it off with a low-cal alternative you think might be better for you. Resisting your desires will make you a resentful and irritable. And while you're at it, ditch the pop and pour yourself a glass of wine. Note: This is not a free ticket to a see-food diet, in which you eat everything you see just because it's there.
3. Don't wait till the spring thaw to shave your legs
Doing it right now will feel great. Also, pluck your eyebrows. Take a shower with nice-smelling soap and exfoliate your skin. Spray on a little perfume. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi. And why not throw in a facial? Pay whatever you need to for a good haircut. Italian women know the power of good hygiene and basic grooming. You will feel amazing and sexy, just like them.
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4. Toss old, shapeless bras
A bra that fits properly is a good investment. You wear one every day so you don't have to worry whether you're getting your money's worth. Next time you're out shopping for intimates, pick up some sexy lingerie – and wear it! Don't leave it in your underwear drawer with the tags on waiting for a special night. Knowing you have it on at the office will make you feel extra sexy.
5. Yup, you can wear that!
Every once in a while I see a mannequin in a store window displaying a lovely ensemble, and I think: That's pretty, but I'm too old for it. Inevitably I stick to my basic black knee-length skirts and sensible shoes. But in Italy I saw women of all ages wearing things like red dresses, crazy patterned pantyhose, colourful scarves and loads of jewelry. They all looked great and knew it, walking around with such confidence. Are you lacking in confidence? It's time to get some (see Tip #1)! Note: This doesn't mean you should go out and get a pair of six-inch heels to wear with your black bra/white shirt/no panties combo to the next parent-teacher interview.
3 bonus tips
• Find your passion
Yes, it sounds like a statement you'd read in a self-help book, but it's true. If you are excited about a certain activity then indulge yourself and do it. If you have a day off from work, you don't have to spend it running errands. Get up, make yourself a coffee, read the newspaper or a magazine, and relax. Seriously, it's hard to feel sexy when you're exhausted from running around all day.
• Give yourself a thrill
Maybe it's skiing, dance classes or skydiving. Or maybe it's just a walk late at night with your partner. When you get your body moving and do something new and spontaneous, it makes you feel alive and excited about life again. Now that's sexy. Don't feel like moving? Visit the spa for a massage or plan a night out with your partner. Enjoy food and wine (see Tip #2) and wear your new lingerie (Tip #4). Or no lingerie: lose the flannel pajamas and go to bed naked. It feels nice.
• If it feels good, do it now
Don't wait until you both fall into bed exhausted at night. Sometimes Italian women call up their partner to meet up in the middle of the day. Sometimes they go away for a romantic weekend. Or they'll meet late at night. It's fun to shake it up a bit – it will make you feel excited about your relationship again. And sexy, too.
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