1. Show Skin Strategically
Looking truly sexy involves knowing what to bare—and what to keep under wraps. Otherwise, where’s the mystery? “Choose one—only one—body part and show it off,” advises Jen Rade, stylist to Jenna Fischer and Angelina Jolie. “If it’s cleavage, don’t show your legs. If it’s your legs, stay covered on top
2. Round Up White Button-Downs
They elevate jeans and keep ball skirts from drifting into fantasy-land. But all that mileage comes at a cost: a short shelf life. So buy three, don’t overbleach (which can cause yellowing), and refresh regularly.
3. Accessorize in Brights
If you’ve got a closet full of neutrals—be they navy, black, camel, or gray—add energy with boldly hued shoes and bags. Not only is a hunter green satchel more lively than ho-hum black, but it’s also surprisingly versatile. Feeling really brave? Wear a neutral base with shoes and a bag in two different complementary colors.
5. Know Your Stretch
The secret formula for a soft but formfitting T? 95% cotton, 5% Lycra spandex. For jeans to hold their shape, they need at least 2% Lycra.
6. Hem Your Pants for a Shoe Height
“The biggest mistake women make is wearing pants that aren’t the right length for their shoes,” says stylist Kate Young. To fix this, hem to either heels or flats—no going back. Generally, hems should just graze the tops of your shoes and be from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch off the floor.
7. Throw On a Scarf
It’s the ultimate accessory according to a host of the best-dressed women we interviewed. Stash one in your purse or carry-on to transform simple Ts in the time it takes to make a knot.