Really? You can totally compliment a women just not on the physical until attraction has happened. Wow guys that's some bad advie.
I have had great success complimenting a woman on her looks as part of opening her during a completely cold approach. It happens in this sort of context: It is day time, on the way to work or during lunch, she is dressed great and really well put together--so it's in context. My comment has been something like: "I appreciate what you got going on there...You must have had something on your mind when you got ready this morning..."
I leave it hanging like that and wait for her to fill in the blanks. If she replies that she's not sure what I mean, I answer by saying that most people don't put that much thought into their appearance and that I appreciate her efforts. I then close by saying I hope she doesn't let it go to waste, and suggest we catch a happy hour drink that evening.
If delivered with confidence, it works really well. Even if she can't make it that evening, you can give her your number and tell her to drop you a line the next time she's dressed great and ready to go.
I say: yes, they like compliments but NO! Giving them won't help you! That's the trouble. Women are contradictory sometimes. Compliments will seem like flattery all too often and she won't enjoy the compliment if she thinks you're giving it to get something and they make you seem needy. Oh, they almost always like to HEAR the compliment it just won't HELP you with her. I think I've figured it out:the only time I want to give a compliment to a woman is when I really don't care whether she'll like me better if I give it to her.