Although related to English brave, the German word brav doesn't mean being courageous (any more). It rather has the sense of decency. "Sei brav", for instance, would be translated as "Be a good boy/girl".
I often struggle with a translation for this word. Now I'm trying to find a good translation for "brav aussehen". There's possibly not a single word as it depends on context what brav really conveys, but I'm wondering if there is a word, though.
Im Schlaf sieht er/sie so brav aus.
While asleep he/she looks so __.
This could be said about a child. It kinda implies that it's a naughty child, but while sleeping he/she appears like being a good boy/girl.
Sie mag nicht mehr so brav aussehen.
She doesn't want to look so __ any more.
This could be said about a woman that usually wears plain clothes and doesn't attract men, and who likes to change that.
The opposite, I guess, is in both cases naughty. But is there a word that would fit in both sentences above?
I tried finding German synonyms (lieb, anständig) and translating those. The results are "good", "nice", "sweet", "well-behaved", "decent", "proper". It seems to me that none of these words is a good translation.
For instance, while "good", generally speaking, is a good translation for brav (cf. good boy/girl), I guess it would differently be understood in both sentences above — good-looking or cute, that is.
Other words, like "well-behaved", do only fit in one context. Dictionaries (Oxford, M-W) define that as "behaving in a polite and correct way" and to my mind dressing in plain clothes is neither polite nor correct. And the Urban dictionary doesn't have a definition for well-behaved, so I don't think that any slang definition would apply here.
For the same reasons I dismiss the other words, too.
So, is there a word that would match both contexts? As a matter of course, the sentences do not need to be a verbatim translation; it's fine to rephrase them.
Addendum: In German it's possible to say "brav wirken" in both sentences. Wirken means to appear, to seem. I tried to get to a solution by thinking about this alternative.
The translations then would be
While asleep she appears to be __.
She doesn't want to give the impression of being __ any more.
I feel like the only way to finish the first sentence is "to be a good boy/girl" and I tend to believe that the version with "to look" also requires that and, hence, I'm coming to the conclusion that there's no adjective that would fit the role.