dressing demurely

In a society where skin is in and sex sells, the understated beauty of a truly demure, conservative ensemble can often go unnoticed. Women are expected to wear less in order to be desired more. We're taught that men lust after women who bare it all, as opposed to women who show just a little and leave the rest to the imagination. Now I should note: I'm all for female empowerment and for women dressing however they damn well please. What I am not for is women feeling pressured into dressing (or acting) a certain way because they're taught that's the only way to attract men. But before this turns into a feminist diatribe, allow me to get back to my original point...

Women are often the most beautiful when they dress conservatively. But let's get one thing clear: conservative is not synonymous with boring or buttoned-up. You can dress demurely and still be sexy. It's all about finding the right balance between what you show and don't show.

Maybe that's why I'm so in love with the Eva Mendes Collection at New York & Company. You'd think for as much as I talk about her collection that these posts are being sponsored (they're not). But what can I say? When I truly appreciate a product or brand, I want to share it with the world! From the super feminine silhouettes to the rich, girly hues to the '40s- and '50s-inspired hemlines, her collection is the epitome of dressing demurely without looking at all frumpy or dated.

My recent trip to NYC was short but sweet. Between visiting family and friends, we didn't have a lot of time to take many outfit pictures. However, on our first night there, I decided to step out in this look from Mendes' line:

 

With the sun long gone, we set up an impromptu photo shoot in our hotel room. Using both my DSLR and iPhone 6, my lovely boyfriend snapped away. We weren't working with the best lighting, and I wasn't particularly enthusiastic with how the images turned out. Still, I posted an #ootd image on my Instagram because I was so in love with this look and absolutely had to share it.

Amazingly, that post has garnered 273 likes, making it my most-liked Instagram photo to date -- WOW! It just goes to show that you can have the best cameras, equipment, lighting, editing, etc., but if your look isn't on point, none of that other stuff really matters.

I received so many kind comments about this look, several of which specifically mentioned the top and how amazing it is. Well I'll let you in on a little secret -- it's actually a bodysuit! Crazy, right? If you're like me, you may be a bit skeptical of bodysuits as a wardrobe item (and rightfully so). Back in my dancing days, I wore plenty of terrible leotards, so I'm a bit scarred.

But this bodysuit is different. It's unbelievably comfortable and features an invisible snap closure for easy on/off access (perfect if you frequent the restroom!). The vivid "tea berry" hue -- combined with the luscious sleeves and plunging neckline -- all work together to create an unforgettable sartorial statement. A high-waisted burgundy pencil skirt and ankle strap heels complete this ultra ladylike look.