How to Wear the Sexy Library Look

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You know that alluring academic look—the one that is so ladylike and poised and yet somehow so wild and adventurous. The sexy librarian’s simple style is the envy of nearly every woman and the fantasy of nearly every man. It’s paradoxically classic yet modern, demure yet flirty. You’ve longed to work cardigans and pencil skirts with that kind of finesse, but never knew how to slip them on without appearing frumpy. Worry no more. Bookish glamour can be yours. Here’s how to wear the sexy librarian look. Glasses are purely optional:

*Go for the perfect color palette: Navy, black, white, ivory, lavender, khaki, camel, beige, fire engine red, forest green—these are just a few of the colors a sexy librarian can pull off. In fact, pastels, neutrals, blacks, and jewel tones are all safe. Stay away from traditionally tropical colors, like fuchsia, magenta, or lime green, and anything neon or fluorescent. Remember never to pair pastels and blacks or wear head-to-toe of any color without a splash of another.

*Go for feminine tops: Wear fitted cardigans over lacy camisoles in reflective fabrics, like silk or velvet. You might also try rib tees, sweaters, baby doll tops, and even peasant tops. Just keep the cuts classic—steer clear of anything too faddish—and the colors sophisticated. The neckline should be low enough to reveal your collarbone (unless you’re in a turtleneck), but high enough to conceal cleavage. If you decide to wear a turtleneck, make sure that the fabric skims your body, but doesn’t cling to it. Bunches and wrinkles are never appealing, gals.

*Go for the right pants: Tailored jeans and khakis with back pockets are your trademark pants. You can also try corduroy (with thin cords.) Keep in mind that boot cut and skinny jeans are versatile cuts that will work well with your wardrobe. The seat should hug your bum without creating an unsightly wedgie and the fabrics around your thighs should be close to your skin. Anything baggy will end up looking slouchy. Avoid shorts at all costs. If you don’t consider yourself a ‘pants person,’ read the next tip.

*Go for stylish skirts: Keep the hemline relatively conservative but never stuffy. Never choose a skirt that falls more than two inches above the knee. Long skirts are fine as long as they don’t appear matronly. Mid-calf length is unflattering for nearly everyone, so unless you know for sure that it works with your figure, select a different length. In terms of color, you can select either a solid skirt or a patterned one. If you choose the latter, make it plaid, houndstooth, paisley, or floral. Pass up anything too delicate. The sexy librarian is confident in her fashion decisions, not meek like her boring colleague.

*Go for cute shoes: Instead of the traditional preppy loafers, choose bohemian moccasins—nothing too elaborate, but interesting enough to get noticed, perhaps with beads or embroidery. Ballet flats are another great option. Tall boots—whether Uggs or equestrian style—pulled over your pants to show their full length go brilliantly with skinny jeans. Giant wedge sandals, mega-platforms, sneakers  (tennis shoes are fine), and hooker boots (tall black boots with ultra-pointy toes and itty-bitty heels) have no place in your wardrobe.

*Go for antique and ethnic jewelry: Boring librarians wear predictable matching necklace and earring sets with a plain watch. Sexy librarians are modern and let current jewelry trends inspire them. The two styles of jewelry that work best with the sexy librarian look are antique and ethnic (certain pieces actually fit into both categories!). Cameos, wooden beads, turquoise rings, and bangles, for instance, are all winners. Be very careful with pearls because they can easily spoil an outfit by looking too stodgy. Giant pearls and simply too many pearls (like layers of pearl necklaces) can automatically ruin an outfit. Stick to pearl studs, pearl drop earrings, or a single strand of small to medium sized pearls.

*Go for other chic accessories: Scarves and belts can add that extra flair to any outfit. With this style, it’s best to wear scarves around your neck—tying one in your hair or using one as a sash will probably end up seeming too ‘art school’. But don’t feel limited; there are many ways to wear a scarf around your neck. Be creative (within reason, of course.) You can also make bold statements with smart belts. Thick or skinny, the choice is yours. If you want, you can place the belt over your waist to cinch up a dress, cardigan, or sweater sort of like a mini corset. Just remember not to over-accessorize!

*Go for subtle hair and make-up: Neutral eye shadow, brown eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, and a little bit of concealer are all that a sexy librarian needs to be pretty and polished. Wear your hair down, not pin-straight but instead wavy and slightly tousled, or in a loose bun. You don’t want the hair to look like it was perfectly coiffed by a machine, but you also don’t want to seem like you just lost a rodeo, either.

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