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"This year I'm switching from preppie to sexy."
"I was hiding behind my weight," says Elaine Griffin, 44, a Harlem-based interior designer whose book, Design Rules, will be published this fall. "I didn't want to think about the messy things in life, like relationships: For eight years I did nothing but work and eat, eat and work. My blood pressure skyrocketed and my doctor told me diabetes was on the horizon." So she lost 50 pounds, going from a size 14 to a size 6. Serendipitously, once she slimmed down, a wonderful man showed up—and the Georgia-born Griffin began questioning whether her lifelong Southern prep style ("Lilly Pulitzer in summer, cords and turtlenecks in winter") was alluring enough. She wasn't about to do a va-va-voom fashion number, but what she needed was a decorous everyday version of sexy: a filmy ruffled blouse (Luisa Beccaria, $1,335) with just a glimpse of color-matched bra (Conturelle, $115) and a shapely pencil skirt that comes discreetly to the knee (Newport News, $29). "I'm a little less nervous now about wearing revealing clothes," Griffin says. "I can be sexy but still a lady."
Earrings, House of Lavande Vintage; belt, GF Ferre; bracelet, Kimberly McDonald; shoes, Diego Dolcini