Well Being

How To Be Sexy According To Fashion Photography (And The Daily Mail)

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fanningPeruse the right sidebar of the Daily Mail on any given day and you'll find a smorgasbord of fat-shaming, gossip-mongering and oohing or booing over celebrity outfits. It's a dream for procrastinators (or bloggers) and a feminist nightmare (because of course by “celebrities” I mean female celebrities, and whether runway models or Secretary of State they're treated like the commons).

But today in particular the Mail's sidebar grabbed me. First it was Miranda Kerr dolled up in some women's magazine, then January Jones, then Dakota Fanning. One, two, three, throw in a couple of lesser-known Victoria's Secret models in European fashion spreads, Olivia Wilde dressed like a cancan dancer on the cover of Vanity Fair and an MSNBC news anchor showing off her baby bump and there it is: The whole absurd portrayal of women in fashion photography and entertainment media summed up in less than a few hundred megapixels.

Let's start with Fanning. Here she is in the March issue of Glamour Magazine looking like a cross between a Cabbage Patch kid and Mrs. Haversham. This seems to be one of a few default editorial looks for young starlets these days.


If you're too old to pull off the deranged old drunk lady meets cherub aesthetic, consider a beehive and sequined hot pants a la Irina Shayk and Anne V imitating 60s showgirls the Kessler twins. This says you're still young and spunky, but old enough to undress each other in a sexy way.

Irina Shayk & Anne V play the Kessler Twins via The Daily MailIrina Shayk & Anne V play the Kessler Twins via The Daily Mail

But what if you're not blond and less-than-a-quarter-century old? Don't worry, older women and brunettes can still be sexy as long they're lounging seductively on couches or wearing lace (see exhibit A, January Jones and exhibit B, Eva Herzigova). Sometimes, however, it's important to mix it up and cling in a terrified manner to the nearest glass surface.

January Jones, Vs. Magazine

Screen shot of January Jones in Vs. Magazine fashion spread

What if you're going for elegance over sex appeal? Easy! Just wear a long black dresswith a really high leg slit, duh.

Veronica de la Cruz

de la Cruz photo that accompanied People magazine announcement of pregnancy

Lastly, should you become with child, everyone knows the protocol is to take “arty” shots of your exposed stomach. Once the domain of reality stars or the uber-famous, everyone's getting in on the game these days. Here's MSNBC anchor Veronica De La Cruz happily awaiting the birth of her first child” by contentedly clutching her baby bump in a field.