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J.Crew's Jenna Lyons has awesome beauty advice for you

Jenna Birch is a health and lifestyle writer, lipstick enthusiast, aspiring yogi and diehard Wolverine based near Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, visit jennabirch.com or follow her on twitter @jennabirch.

Jenna Lyons perfectly describes what sexy means for the modern woman

Confession: I'm a J.Crew addict. I anxiously await the catalogs in the mail every month. My friends groan when we head past the store in the mall, anticipating hours of shopping mayhem. The saleswoman who works my regular location immediately grabs the key to the jewelry case when I walk in.

Really, in this case, my love knows no bounds.

Jenna Lyons is often credited for helping reinvent J.Crew, taking it from bland to brilliant. She's made it relevant, edgy, quirky, glamorous, refined and memorable all rolled into one. The clothes are nicely tailored, well-made and timeless, with the occasional offbeat print and flashy accessory thrown in for good measure.

Jenna Lyons perfectly describes what sexy means for the modern woman

Photo credit: Getty Images Entertainment/Getty images

I never realized, however, that "good" also translated to subtly "sexy" until reading a new interview with Jenna on Yahoo! Beauty where she happens to define the term: "There's sexiness in not trying to be sexy," she says. "There has to be something that's a bit undone. You can't have perfect hair, and clothes, and makeup — you need an element of imperfection to make you feel like there's a person behind it all... Society is so tough and expectations are so unrealistic."

I'd never thought of sexy in that way before. Sexy feels so overt, so in-your-face. But the girls that are the prettiest and the sexiest seem to behave in the way Jenna describes, right? She hit the nail on the head. And the J.Crew icon's anything-but-standard vision of sexy helped me define my own style.

Jenna Lyons perfectly describes what sexy means for the modern woman

Photo credit: Getty Images Entertainment/Getty images

Sexy is human. Sexy is not trying so hard. Sexy is taking society's beauty ideals and current trends and throwing them out the window. Even if you're perfect on paper, with every hair in place, you can't please everyone. Someone will still find "flaws" and try to make you feel like less. So why put that pressure on yourself? Wear what you like, develop a style that makes you feel good, and just be real. That natural, real beauty is what shines through — and I've got to say a quick thank you to Jenna and J.Crew for that, at least.

Jenna Lyons perfectly describes what sexy means for the modern woman

Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

As you get older, you start to have the insight and confidence to buy and wear what you like. And as I developed my own taste and style, I also developed signatures without even realizing it, like adding playful prints and pops of color, choosing bold shoes or wearing jewelry with major sparkle. Much of it was from J.Crew, and people began to take notice and compliment me on my style. I don't think they were noticing the clothes I was wearing, per se, but the girl in them. I felt like myself. Finally. After all those growing-up, in-between, I-don't-know-what-I-like years. I loved these new items, because they felt super specific to me and my developing style. Therefore, I felt killer in them. Sexy, even.

Clothes and accessories you truly love can make you feel more confident, and that's what's sexy — not the clothes themselves, but showing off the best version of yourself as you wear them. So, go forth. Be a little undone, be a little quirky, be totally real and redefine what it means to be sexy.

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