What Not to Wear

Reading material to keep you out of skankdom

There she is. Super-tight mini, neon pink dress with cutouts to expose some skin (and in not the right places); huge hoop earrings; a shiny new handbag, extra large; crazy bondage-style platforms; hair done up with highlights and hot rollers; and an arm full of last season’s bangles.

The girl I describe here is, sadly, not the minority in Las Vegas. But she is one of many baring too much flesh and bearing too many accessories. With summer upon us, the urge to take it all off is overpowering, thanks to the blazing heat, coupled with billboards across town featuring Playboy-esque models in tiny dresses.

There is a beautiful way to show those gorgeous shoulders and slinky long legs without having other women talk about you.

I’m inspired by style writer Derek Blasberg’s article on the “sexification” of Paris fashion as well as the growing availability of sex toys at CityCenter (Kiki de Montparnasse and Roberto Cavalli have a great selection). Las Vegas has always had the title of being the most overtly sexual place in the United States. Stand outside any nightclub and it seems all the girls waiting in line got the same memo. Sometimes I’m tempted to go over to a particularly helpless case, give her my clutch, pull her hair back and cover her with my jacket.

Sexy is something that is incredibly powerful, and showing nicely toned and tanned legs does wonders for getting your car from valet faster and snagging a ridiculously hot husband. You must think of your sexy powers as something like a chef composing a meal. He (or she) would not think about serving foie gras with a souffle and crème brûlée. Use your sexiness in the same way. A leg there, a little cleavage here, a great big necklace and an over-the-top hair-do. Your powers will be depleted if you use all of them at once, and you won’t make it to the next level in the game if you blow it allwith one trashy outfit.

Especially here, where the neon lights and the late nights can blur the line of what is sexy and slutty. When you see ladies during the day showing a little too much skin at the grocery store, or you pop into a casino for drinks and dancing with friends, think to yourself about how you would make that outfit less trashy and more sexy.

Luckily, The Modern Muse is not alone in her plight. In recent years there have been a slew of books written on the subject, including Jordan Christy’s How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World (Center Street, 2009, $17). Also see Nina Garcia’s The Little Black Book of Style (ItBooks, 2007, $20). So, happy summer reading, and remember, no bikinis in the casino!