From Runway to Closet

How to Wear Sheer Clothing: A Guide to Mastering the Trend

by Rebecca Casamayor

Chiffon, organza, and lace are the cornerstones of a fashion trend that people can’t seem to get enough of—sheer garments. And no matter the season, see-through looks have been extremely popular for decades, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

So if you’ve been admiring this trend from afar, you’re probably wondering how to wear sheer clothing in a way that, well, works. The truth is that sheer garments can make for an elegant, attention-grabbing look, or they can leave you feeling self-conscious all day. And the difference is all in the styling.

So if you’re looking to dip a toe into the sheer world of fashion, here are a few suggestions that will take you from just curious to confident enough to strut in a see-through ensemble.

Choose the Right Piece

When shopping for sheer clothing, it’s often helpful to ease yourself into the style—you don’t need to jump right in with a totally see-through shirt. Instead, choose styles that will let you test out what the world of transparent clothing is all about.

For instance, sheer tops with bold or busy patterns are good options for beginners, as they are generally a bit more opaque. Similarly, thicker fabric is harder to see through, so it will give a glimpse of what’s underneath, without revealing too much. Details like bows or ruffles can also help offset the sheerness of a top by distracting the eye.

If that feels too outside your comfort zone, try a garment with sheer panels on your shoulders or arms. This type of style can often look quite classy, and will mitigate any worries about your undergarments showing. Bonus: Only one part of your body is revealed, so you’ll feel more comfortable, too.

You can also experiment with sheer outerwear, such as a cardigan or jacket, and wear a solid garment underneath.

White House Black Market Mesh Tunic

Know What to Wear Under Sheer Clothes

While your initial instinct may be to wear a nude camisole under a see-through top, there are other options to consider in order to elevate the sophistication of your look.

Try matching your bottom layer to the sheer fabric—so pair a navy camisole under a navy mesh shirt, or a black bodysuit under a transparent black top. This ensures that your look gives off chic and elegant vibes without being too revealing.

If you want to make a bold statement, try wearing a patterned tank top or bodysuit under a sheer top. This trick can bring a fresh look to clothes you might be tired of wearing.

Play with Layers

Once you’ve become more comfortable with your sheer pieces, try layering them in unexpected ways for a fashion-forward twist.

For instance, try layering a sheer blouse over a form-fitting dress. Separately, these pieces aren’t necessarily appropriate for everyday wear, but together, they create a fresh, fun outfit that can go anywhere. Similarly, you could layer a loose, see-through top over a button-down shirt, or a sheer jacket over a pretty sundress.

White House Black Market Printed Bloused

Be Cautious About Sheer Clothes at Work

Still wondering if it’s appropriate to wear sheer clothing to work? You’re not alone. The answer: It really depends on your office environment. For some bosses, sheer clothing is a big no-no, especially in buttoned-up workplaces.

“My office attire pet peeve is sheer clothing,” said Hillary Kerr, co-founder of Who What Wear. “Whether it’s a thin T-shirt, a diaphanous blouse, or a slightly transparent dress or skirt, it’s just not right for a professional setting.”

However, in more casual offices, you might be able to get away with pairing a thick sheer top over a matching undershirt. When in doubt about how to wear sheer clothing at work, opt for a piece that has sheer panels, which will keep your look modest and professional while also feeling fashion-forward.

If you’re unsure about sheer clothing, you’re certainly not alone. This fashion trend can feel risky, but if you embrace it and only show off the right amount of skin, you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.

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