3 Tips for Looking Sexy Yet Classy

“Proof That See-Through Dresses Can Be Modest, Too” – As I was reading this article on PopSugar last week, I found myself agreeing with everything written. The article crystallized many thoughts that have been swirling around my head on this topic. Looking sexy no longer means breaking out your shortest, tightest body-con dress. There is a revolution going on in fashion, giving us a new way to dress both sensually and modestly. I, for one, am thrilled about this trend, particularly right now with so many holiday cocktail parties upon us.

Here are my top 3 tips for achieving that classy not trashy look.

  1. Be choosy: What’s your favorite part of yourself physically? Choose to showcase that – and just that! That’s right, pick one part. No need to show it all. Less is more. Leave some to the imagination.
  2. Balance it out: If you are going to wear a dress with some sheer accents, make sure to balance that out with a conservative silhouette. For instance, while the dress I’m wearing has some sheerness to it, it also has a high collar and midi skirt length, giving it a romantic look.
  3. Amp it up: Use color to add that eye-catching pop to your holiday looks. Don a red dress or a purple dress. Or, stick with a classic black dress and play with a red lip and red nail polish.

Bonus tip: In the end, it’s all a matter of attitude. Confidence is sexy. And how you carry yourself exudes that confidence. So, walk into a room with your shoulders back and your head held high, proud of yourself. That is more important than anything.

Top 20 Self-Portrait Looks

While you may not be able to shop the romantic, high-neck, yet sheer pieces from the Red Valentino Pre-Fall 2016 collection mentioned in the PopSugar article just yet, you can get the look for less now with Self-Portrait. In fact, in my estimation, Self-Portrait was the first designer to bring this look forward recently – and at a great price point for the quality of design and craftsmanship.

You might remember me wearing this Self-Portrait jumpsuit here. Did you notice it is on sale now, as well as several of the pieces above?

These fresh feminine looks are perfect for your upcoming holiday party.In fact (spoiler alert!), I’ll be sporting this dress at our annual holiday next week.

Details of My Look

Self Portrait scallop edge midi dress | Vince Camuto jeweled strap dorsay heel | Kate Spade square gift box clutch | Herve Van Der Straeten cuff | Jennifer Fisher ring | OPI black cherry chutney nail polish


Kate Spade Giveaway

Did you notice this charming and cheeky Kate Spade gift box clutch? It makes the perfect finishing festive touch to your holiday look.

I’m thrilled to partner with Kate Spade to offer one of these (valued at $398) to one of you lucky readers. The giveaway will remain open until Sunday evening at midnight central time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, and the gift box clutch shipped out to you as soon as possible so you can enjoy it during the holidays.

To enter, simply leave a comment here + follow me on Instagram. Bonus points for leaving your best tip for keeping your style classy for holiday parties.

(Leave your Instagram name in the comments below, please.)

Best wishes! Thanks as always for visiting.

Updated with Giveaway Winner:

Congratulations to Karen – you win Kate Spade gift box clutch! I’ll send you an email so we can coordinate details.


Photography byย Maritere Rice


  1. Carrie,

    I am in love with everything about this post! You look so very lovely!
    My #1 tip for keeping it classy at holiday parties is being yourself! a beautifully quirky bag like the Kate Spade beauty you are holding is just as classy as red lipstick in my books! *fingers crossed for this one*

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Conny says:

      @atablespoonoflife for instagram ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Carrie says:

      Great tip, Conny! I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Paige Evans says:

    Carrie, you can pull of ANYTHING! You are so beautiful!!! Couldn’t resist a chance at winning that Kate Spade clutch ๐Ÿ™‚
    My best tip – sparkles!!! Can’t go wrong ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Carrie says:

      Ah thanks so much, beautiful Paige!! Great tip. My favorite and easiest. Well, that plus red lipstick.

  3. Lola Ladejobi says:

    Nice tips! I just had a [lengthy] discussion around the notion that “it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it” & this post definitely helps my “sheer can still be classy” argument.
    My best holiday tip is simply don’t go overboard! You can’t have over-the-top hair AND nails AND clothes AND shoes; pick one. ?

    1. Carrie says:

      I love your comment about “how you wear it”! Wonderful point.

  4. Sydney says:

    Carrie is there anything you don’t look good in!!?? I am loving this dress it has the perfect contract of a modest cut but also a little flair with the sheer elements! All the dresses you show are stunning !!! I am actually a huge lover of accessories for the holidays! Sometimes budgets don’t always allow for new dresses every year or you just don’t have time to find one so I love to really use accessories to recreate a new look with the same dress!! This Kate spade clutch would be the perfect item to reinvent some classic outfits!! So excited about this giveaway! I love your bracelets! I am really into gold jewelry right now and yours look like ribbon they are so pretty!!

    1. Sydney says:

      my instagram is @sydneypower_ I am already following you!

    2. Carrie says:

      I just love and appreciate your comments so much! Xo

  5. Sheri says:

    What a great giveaway! My best tip for keeping it classy for holiday parties is about “fit.” I think a little bit of tailoring can really help ensure a dress fits correctly.

    Fingers crossed xoxo

    1. Carrie says:

      That’s a great tip, Sheri! Without proper tailoring, a great look can go wrong so easily.

  6. Carrie your style is amazing- always so colorful & classy! My best tip for keeping your style classy for holiday parties is to keep it simple yet elegant & to wear a pop of holiday color somewhere. Whether your lips, nails, clutch, or shoes…one should always incorporate some red or sparkle for the holiday’s!

    1. Carrie says:

      That is so sweet, Lawren! I’m so glad to have connected with you.

  7. Amber D says:

    What a fun giveaway! Thanks! @adawson816

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Amber!

  8. Izael G says:

    You look so chic <3 really love this post and the way you look ๐Ÿ˜€ #flawless


    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks a bunch, Izael!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Carrie… this look is perfection! I am loving your website! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My holiday style tip… glitter and sparkle are so classy and elegant. Sparkle makes me happy!.

    Happy Holidays!

    Instagram: @sklauck

    1. Carrie says:

      Hey Stephanie! Thanks so much. I’m glad to have reconnected on IG.

  10. Melissa P says:

    What a cute bag. I love to have one special item (shoes, purse) to pair with my staple items. It helps me feel festive and keeps my closet from bursting at the seams! Love your style!

    1. Carrie says:

      That’s a good point, Melissa! One statement is all you need!

  11. Elsie Marcelle says:

    I want this โค๏ธโค๏ธ #giveaway

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Elsie!

  12. Rosie Clayton says:

    Love that cute bag! My tip is to wear something you’re comfortable in, rather than trying to impress anyone else. If you feel good, you’ll exude confidence and look better. Also, balance is key- not too much sparkle or skin (especially at work or charity functions)!

    1. Carrie says:

      That’s so true!

  13. Christina says:

    Carrie love your colorful and eccentric style! Staying classy is super easy with modest silhouette, but still standing out by playing with colors and interesting textures like a chunky knit with a sequin midi skirt or culottes. @nativesequinz

  14. Lorin Foteh says:

    Love all of your posts but this one in particular, never predictable and always spontaneous yet classy!

    My favorite holiday tip is to choose your one showstopper piece and wear classic pieces with it. Oh! And always with bold repair plum lips!

  15. KATYF says:

    Kate Spade always has the cutest handbags. I love to have one special item (shoes, purse) to pair with my basic / core items. I feel festive and It keeps me on budget for the holiday season. Thank you for the contest!

  16. Taylor Torres says:

    You totally rock this outfit! I’d love to win the Kate Spade clutch!

  17. Anna Mulcahy says:

    Absolutely perfect! Fingers crossed โ™กโ™กโ™ก
    annamulcahyart on Instagram

  18. Diana says:

    Love the look and the clutch! My #1 tip for staying classy during holiday parties is to keep the outfit simple and throw on some signature accessories, and do a simple yet sexy makeup look (red lip is a good option!).

    Xoxo cinnamonandheels

  19. Bella B says:

    Carrie you look stunning in this dress! and I already follow you on Instagram. for my holiday style I would wear plaid skirt and a cute black top I recently got a great top and skirt from chic wish and I can’t wait to share that outfit with you!!


  20. Missy Page says:

    I love this post! Beautiful pictures and great tips. My tip for keeping it classy is to remember “you” are the focal point. Your outfit should accentuate you!

  21. Kristen W. says:

    My tip: Classic red lips. ? @cgirlinthecity

  22. Tracy says:

    This purse would be displayed lovingly year round. It is so cute! My engineering Christmas parties are pretty conservative. I usually find some fun shoes and stick to a classic black or navy dress. Kind of boring but it works for me


  23. Mara says:

    Carrie, this post was so fun! My tip for staying classy is finding a dress that fits correctly! If your dress is too small or large you won’t feel confident. I also love adding some glam; it’s not the holidays without some shine. That clutch would be just the right amount of glam!

  24. Morgan Robertson says:

    What a wonderful give away for the Christmas season!

    My tip to keeping your look classy at holiday parties (and in general) is to choose figure flattering silhouettes, and don’t go too trendy!

    Personal comfort is key, and I am a big fan of the holiday classics- black, emerald, red, tartan, and of course- sequins!

  25. Jamie Waters says:

    Sigh so true. I came here to try and get some holiday party inspo. Love your words and cute self!

  26. Vicky Roberts says:

    I saw that Kate Spade clutch in the store a few weeks back, and have been gazing at it online since! Love! My holiday tip is to keep it simple with the outfit but at bling with accessories ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Maritere R says:

    Always beautiful and classy, Carrie! Love the giveaway, and love the holiday look tips your shared. My best advice is to wear something that you feel great on. Feel good, look good! And then boost your look with with a bold lip, or bold eye makeup and a simple gloss. (IG @mariterecr)

  28. Sherry Williams says:

    Instagram: SHERRYANDALEX
    I really know nothing about having a classy style- no tips I can give. Looks like I could learn more than a few things from your site. It is all so stunning. I use to love your scrapbook style back in the day and have admired your IG fashion sharing for sometime. I have a teenage daughter who is really getting into beautiful clothes and thought she would love your IG and this giveaway. Thank You. ?

  29. Kate in CO says:

    I typically love a gorgeous top with either velvet or silk trousers. Or for a complete change — a gorgeous skirt with simple top. Definitely a gorgeous pair of heels for both options! Winter in Denver can vary from 50 to below zero so it is best to have many options!

  30. Ally says:

    Great tips Carrie, and that dress is stunning on you!

    Xo Ally


  31. Maleny Lizbeth says:

    Interesting post! It set my creative fashion tastes to the test of this new style.

    The giveaway has me in awe. I’ve always had the lady heart that calls for Kate Spade’s delicacies. You match it splendidly dear.

    As a tip for the winter season bliss, the oh so troublesome, winged eyeliner with every gals favorite bold red lipstick. Do it. The season calls for it.

    But above all, wear happiness. Put on a smile and fall victim to the joy and sparkle of the night.

    1. Maleny Lizbeth says:

      Instagram: malenylizbeth
      Happy Bloggin’ <3

  32. Karen says:

    Sydney and I love reading your post Carrie, I really enjoy to classic styles you use but you find the most amazing ways to spice them up and add some flare to a classic cut. This kate spade clutch is stunning, Sydney hasn’t stopped talking about it, such a generous giveaway! So happy to be a follower of your blog!

  33. Erica says:

    Your style tips are right on! It’s amazing how a rather sheer dress actually looks pretty modest. And of course you look amazing!

    xx Erica

  34. Val says:

    Love that plum color on you it looks fab! My top for staying classy is make sure to find something that fits your body type and leaves something to the imagination.

  35. Reeti Raswant says:

    Carrie, your taste never falls short of amazement to me!!! Absolutely stunning in every look. My holiday tip would be to add a gorgeous pearl nechlace, or wear a touch of glittered gold eyeshadow on the center of your eyelid. Perfect with the box clutch as well. Xoxo

  36. Vera says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! My advice would be to wear shoes that are pretty and comfortable! (Or keep a pair of flats nearby to change into as the evening progresses) I’ve seen so many uncomfortable heels kicked off at the end of a night and then you have a beautiful outfit with dirty feet! (username vera8181)

  37. Diana Camden says:

    Amazingly cute bag! I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Diana C ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Lauren Hershey says:

    Beautiful as ever, Carrie. And so classy. I already follow you on IG. Mine is @LoHersh.

  39. Nancy Wyatt says:

    Love this dress on you. You are always dressed so classy! I’m so excited to have dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 and 10 in some designers so trying on dresses is so much more fun! I know we are talking fashion but…..Keeping it classy at parties can also be done by keeping cocktails to a minimum. Giggle. Ok, but my fashion tip would be to make sure not to wear anything too short or a top you are constantly having to pull up. Love following you on IG Carrie!! @_nancywyatt

  40. Christina fernandez says:

    Cute dress and fab shoes! Bravo????. Now for tips : 1) red lipstick 2) big eyelashes w liquid eyeliner but very minimal eyeshadow 3) short red nails 4) long pencil skirt w/ a light sparkly top…and of course killer heels ??

  41. Kim says:

    I adore this purple dress! I totally agree that being sexy doesn’t mean you have to bust out the tightest, shortest dress in your closet anymore…thank god! With all the beautiful lace and tasteful cut outs in dressed now, you can get away with so much more! I always love a little bit of glitz incorporated into my holiday looks and usually have some sort of sequins involved in my outfit!

    Also, another fun colorful wall! LOVE it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    ig: @kimcasemyers

  42. I rarely win anything, but this is one is so damn pretty I just have to participate! ๐Ÿ™‚
    As for holiday season tips, I try to stay away from anything too short, too sparkling, too bright. (And I’m pretty sure you know my Insta-nickname, but anyways, @apovoroznyuk)

  43. Jennifer says:

    This Self Portrait dress was made for you! Just love the color on you! I adore all their dresses because they are all so unique and the fit is incredible. I agree, that it’s all about confidence and the way an outfit (in this case) a dress makes you feel!


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