5 Simple Ways To Feel Sexy

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When it comes to feeling sexy, there’s no one-size-suits-all formula. And that’s a good thing.

In a media landscape saturated with a singular version of “sexy” – where women’s bodies are used to sell everything from running shoes to sofas – it can feel like the pursuit of sensuality is a bottomless pit of both time and money. But what if we shifted the definition of sexy away from the sterility of the corporate gaze, and back towards what makes a person feel like the most confident version of herself? We talked to the women featured on Passerbuys about how and when they feel sexiest, and discovered the answers are as unique and wide-ranging as the people who recommend them.

A strong red lip copy

It’s no surprise that a red lip is one of the most recommended ways to feel instantly sexier. Marketer Kim Ing recommends MAC lipstick in Media, chef Carolina Santos Neves reaches for a tube from clean-beauty brand Bite, and illustrator Ariel Roman favors NARS matte lip pencil in Cruella paired with a strong liquid cat eye and “next to no makeup and big hair.”

Graphic designer Noemie Le Coz agrees that she feels sexiest when having a good hair day, as does designer Susan Alexandra. “I feel sexiest when I'm tan, when my hair is long and when my digestion is good,” Alexandra shared.  

Therapist Naiylah Warren’s go-to look is a combination of lipstick and great hair. “I feel sexiest when my hair is slicked down in a middle part low bun, when I'm wearing my red lipstick, or being freshly waxed,” she says.

What you wear

Slipping into something that inspires confidence is also a frequent feel-good suggestion. “I feel sexiest in Myla Lingerie,” says actor and activist Jameela Jamil, who also recommends the brand Lonely. “Sexy underwear and bras all the way,” agrees Carolina Santos-Neves. “I love comfortable and lacy pieces. For underwear, I think that Honeydew does a beautiful style.”

Entrepreneur Dianna Cohen recommends a silk robe for Sunday mornings, as does Santos-Neves. “I feel very sexy when I'm wearing a silk robe. I have a kimono, actually, that my brother got for me,” she says.

The power of a t-shirt was also mentioned by multiple Passersby. “I feel the sexiest when I’m hanging out in my apartment wearing just an old soft oversized tee and big socks. My husband agrees on this one,” shares comedian Sandi Marx. Producer Sarah Winshall also keeps it simple: “Cotton t-shirt, no bra.”

And when women want to feel sexy outside of their bedroom? “Black jeans and LOQ mules with red lipstick and a Bembien bag,” says Nicole Najafi. “I just feel like the best and truest version of myself.” Filmmaker Crystal Moselle recommends a formula of “tiny top, flowy pants, and big messy hair.” And Ariel Roman reaches for a go-to outfit of a crisp white shirt paired with her favorite Levi’s.

Nail artist   Holly Falcone   in her Greenpoint apartment

Nail artist Holly Falcone in her Greenpoint apartment

Don’t overthink it

Sometimes looking good is as simple as feeling good, and to that end, self-care goes a long way. Milk Makeup co-founder Georgie Greville favors “a nice bath and an Indica vape by the bed”, but if where you live hasn’t gotten around to legalizing, a glass of red wine can also do the trick. “I am trying not to conflate confidence with sexiness here but both feelings are heightened after a glass of red wine,” says comedian Lauren Servideo. “I love Merlot. It was the preferred wine of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, so it's good enough for me! I mean, I drink the Trader Joe's blend but potato, potato.”

Your surroundings can also inspire sexiness. “Easy Sunday mornings at home (or ideally on vacation), cooking breakfast and hanging out” is where Dianna Cohen feels best. “I'm usually in a silk robe and a Louie Armstrong playlist is likely in the background.” Mastering engineer Heba Kadry recommends the Highline Standard Hotel. “It’s a cheesy, obvious choice, but it does the trick!”

Music and dancing

“I feel sexiest when I'm dancing,” says activist Jasmyn Story. “There is something exceptionally natural, spiritual, and erotic about allowing the body to be swept up in rhythms and melodies. I am a giant ball of sexy energy when I dance, from ballet to everything I hope nobody sees in the club.” What kind of music gets Story on the dance floor? “For me, it's about the two essential elements: a repeated beat and a high tempo. So disco and the babies she bore are my go-to "back off the dance floor so I have space" genres. From Beyoncé to Daddy Yankee, to Walter Murphy to Gap Band, if it grooves, I move.”

Other Passerbuys-approved tracks to add to your Spotify: entrepreneur Olivia La Roche recommends Pony by Genuine, Nicole Nafaji loves Crimson and Clover by Tommy James & The Shondells, and Jameela Jamil says, “I think we can all agree D’Angelo is the master of people to bang to.” Round out your playlist with Alice Coltrane, Khruangbin, The Comet is Coming or Dub Reggae, as recommended by Georgie Greville.

Power

Social media manager Sara Haile feels her best both mentally and physically after a workout. “Anything that has a cleansing quality to it. Showers literally cleanse you and tough workouts cleanse you of any bullshit you're thinking about.”

Observing the power of our bodies is another great way to inspire self-confidence. “Right after I finish my period, I feel the best/lightest/sexiest for about 5 days,” says photographer Julia Carsaro.

“At 3 months post-delivery, this one is hard to answer,” producer Naima Abed shares. “I mean, I do feel sexy now still, although my body will never be the same. I feel very powerful having brought this little one to life and caring for her.”

And in the words of journalist Priya Patel: “It’s more like when I’ve had a kick-ass day and feel like I can change the world and do anything.”

Words by Liv Walton