On The Runway

How To Wear It: Sheer

Sheer 101 (left to right): Yves Saint Laurent, Proenza Schouler, Christian Dior and Rue du Mail. Images courtesy of style.com

One of the casualties of being a fashion editor is constantly being asked how to wear trends without looking a) fat b) like a fashion victim or c) trashy. So to help guide you through the murky waters of modern dressing, I have launched this new series in hopes of snagging you a spot on The Sartorialist.

First up, sheer fashion.This season designers went crazy with sheer fabrics, layering different textures and prints for a look that is light and airy. Since the look also borders on sexy, its imperative that you strike the right balance.

Try and experiment with…

Peekaboo inserts: On the catwalks, sheer panels were inserted onto dresses, while tops had sheer backs – it’s a cool and modern way to rock this look.

Layers: Layer several pieces in complementary colours for a cool new take on colour blocking. Rue du Mail covered their dresses with brightly coloured tulle for a visual treat. This will also work with…

Textured fabrics: Who says that you have to stick to boring chiffon? Fabrics such as lace and mesh look more contemporary and still have that see-through effect.

Prints: There is something sexy about a sheer printed dress, whether it’s florals or stripes. The trick here is to go for a silhouette that is more conservative such as a halter maxi dress or knee-length fitted dress as spotted at Yves Saint Laurent. It leaves something to the imagination.

Details: A few seasons ago Valentino did these amazing nude sheer tops with antique beading that were so chic. Look for sheer tops and dresses with draping, embellishments and other crafty details.

Sheer with solid: Mix it up. Wear a sheer top with a modest pencil skirt or bellbottom jeans in keeping with this season’s 1970s trend. In fact stock up sheer blouses – you can wear them with anything! 

Left to right: Peekaboo inserts on a Rag & Bone dress, sheer panels on Improvd’s Wilder top and a printed sheer Halston dress.

And what to avoid…

Sheer fabrics are tricky because you can end up looking like a working girl (and I don’t mean the Melanie Griffith type). On top of my offense list – visible bra and knickers, especially lacy styles. The whole idea of wearing something sheer is show just the right amount of skin. Your knickers on view will have the opposite effect and looks tacky. Choose undergarments that provide more coverage, such as a tank top, bandeau or sexy slip trimmed with lace. I am also not a fan of sheer maxi skirts – try a maxi dress as you can wear a long slip underneath. Similarly, no mini dresses or skirts. Bare midriffs are out too. You’re just asking for trouble!

One Response to How To Wear It: Sheer

  1. al says:

    Let’s hope that Fashion Victims – like critics and merchandisers- can tell the difference between Runway & Reality.

    No 2 looks like a chambermaid’s uniform for a Tokyo love hotel.
    Maybe for places that have a DOM clientele, but Sofitel NYC shouldn’t dress their staff like this anytime soon.

    No 3: did she drop in on a blue silk parachute to bail John Galliano out of trouble? All that fabric.
    No 1 looks like it has a ruffled door mat to wipe her soles. No 4 just gets a pass, like a football yellow card.
    There’s plenty risk in risque sheer, lol!

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