Sexual politics in the 90s: What's sexy in 1997?

George Clooney's come-to-bed eyes and Sophie Dahl's Amazonian curves are in. Brad Pitt's adolescent charms and Pammy Anderson's silicone assets are out. Emma Cook collects the data
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Indy Lifestyle Online
GIRLS

ICON

IN

Toni Rogers, editor of Minx, rates This Life as "rather sexy en masse". Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, Beck and Swampy.

Elle's top sex icon: Ewan McGregor for attitude.

"George Clooney. He seems like someone who's a great shag and kind to children." Helen, 38, computer analyst.

"Bobby Gillespie, lead singer of Primal Scream. Scottish men don't come sexier than this." Charlotte, 31, translator.

OUT

"Brad Pitt. He's unevolved - a hamster-faced monkey boy.' Karen, 31, teacher.

Michael Hutchence - anyone in black leather trousers.

BODY PART

IN

"Long skinny legs like a greyhound. Long thin hands." Karen, 32, civil servant.

OUT

"Men who are too orange looking." Minx

Over-developed muscles, small shoulders. Stubby fingers.

PERSONAL GROOMING

IN

"A man who smells clean, who has a steaming hot shower after work. I hate that trendy scruffy look." Michelle, 27, publishing assistant.

"Rakish pop stars who survive demanding drug habits." Sara, 35, music teacher.

OUT

Fashion labels, says Donna Spriggs, MD of youth marketing and research firm Reaction, says, "It's about individuality. Designers like Calvin Klein are seen as too commercial. Same with Versace, Ralph Lauren and Dolce e Gabbana to an extent."

ATTITUDE

IN

"I'm turned on by a man who can cook." Emily, 34, dentist.

"Men who compliment me. Complete deference is sexy, too," Gina, 24, physiotherapist.

OUT

"Mr `I'm-So-Right-On'. The sanctimonious vegetarian type who lectures women about the importance of feminism." Julie, 35, publishing director.

"Any man who uses the word sexy for inanimate objects." Katy, 34, TV researcher.

MUSIC

IN

"Aural sex is Prince, Sly and the Family Stone and Marvin Gaye." Tina, 32, music journalist.

OUT

"Cheesy pop - if any man put Euro-beats on his stereo I'd die." Lizzie, 24, PR manager.

ACCESSORIES

IN

The Mercedes A-Class. "It's a 21st-century version of an Austin Mini. Sexy in a modern way," says Tyler Brule, editor of Wallpaper magazine.

OUT

"Football season tickets. Ponytails. Goatee beards. Back hair. Hippy jewellery. Penis enlarger pumps (!?)"

BOYS

ICON

IN

Men aren't interested in conventional sex bombs, says FHM unconvincingly. It's the girl-next-door types who get real "blokes" going. FHM features editor Anthony Noguera says, "Men want real women not plastic Barbie dolls." Top contenders for the current 100 sexiest women: Cameron Diaz, Louise Nurding, Zoe Ball, Gillian Anderson, Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox.

OUT

FHM says demand for blonde sex goddesses is on the wane - Pammy and Claudia are sex no-nos. As are the Spice Girls. "People find them raunchy but not classic sex symbols," says Anthony Noguera.

BODY PART

IN

Breasts - surprise surprise - are sexy. "I'm a bosom man," says fashion designer Ben de Lisi. "Sexy clothes are slashed-to-the-hip killer frocks, asymmetric necklines that focus the eye on the bosom but not in a vulgar way."

OUT

Flat chests.

ATTITUDE

IN

Ben de Lisi appreciates a bit of mystery. "What's very sexy is leaving them guessing. Nonchalance is very alluring. And so is 4am hair and last night's make-up."

Joseph Corre (Vivienne Westwood's son), owner of lingerie shop Agent Provocateur. "The Eighties was about tough women trying to be like men. The Nineties is about rediscovering women's sexuality. The more voluptuous size is also very sexy and powerful, Amazons like Sophie Dahl."

OUT

"Grrrl Power because it's so fake and the Spice Girls because they've only got two tunes." Andy, 28, researcher.

"Women who run their fingers through their hair all the time. It's very affected and not sexy.' Will, 32, musician.

MUSIC

IN

"A woman who really listens to The Fall, Captain Beefheart or Lee Scratch Perry - I've yet to meet one." Bob, 32, retail manager.

OUT

Women who are really into "female artistes", such as Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos.

ACCESSORIES

IN

"Women who carry handbags with lots of shiny accoutrements in them, especially powder compacts." Steve, 30, marketing director.

OUT

Self-help guides by the bed. An exercise bike. Framed photographs of the two of you or, worse, a handsome ex-boyfriend. Fluffy toys on a shelf or in the bed. Dried flower arrangements and pot pourri.

PERSONAL GROOMING

IN

"Funky shoes - you can judge a woman's sexuality by her shoes. Never date a woman in clogs." Paul, 33, designer.

OUT

Tights with ladders in them; squeaky voices; and too much make-up.

"Lycra - it's too in your face." Ben de Lisi.

"Bimbo's," says Joseph Corre. "I'd be bored and turned off after two seconds."

"Fluffy dance-wear tops and silver bikinis that make girls look like Barbie dolls," Ben, 25, clubber and student.

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