Here’s How To Wear The Sheer Top Trend In The Real World

Without feeling totally exposed.

Imani Randolph outfit
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At its most basic level, see-through clothing is about aesthetics and not so much about functionality. After all, an item that is translucent by nature doesn’t exactly provide coverage or warmth — but there’s nothing wrong with that. Think of it as an opportunity to engage your styling skills with layering combinations that nod to recent designer collections. “The [barely-there look] reigned supreme on the Spring/Summer 2023 runways with Prada, Miu Miu, and Tory Burch leading the charge,” Rachel Glicksberg, The RealReal’s women’s fashion & new initiatives manager, tells TZR. The easiest entry point to the trend? The sheer top.

“It doesn’t have to be intimidating or risqué,” Glicksberg explains of the seemingly daunting look. She suggests reaching for layers if you’re not up for a free-the-nipple moment. “For more coverage, try wearing a silk cami underneath.” And if you still feel nervous about overexposure, you can ease into the style with a semi-sheer piece.

But if you’re feeling bold, by all means embrace wearing almost nothing. “As someone who is more sartorially adventurous, I’d wear a sheer top during the day with a triangle bra, and up the ante at night via a dress [of the same nature] with said triangle bra and mini shorts,” Glicksberg says, noting that she recently put together this exact outfit using items from The RealReal’s archives. “I’m wearing a vintage Helmut Lang dress paired with a Prada set underneath, Margiela Tabi shoes, and a Jil Sander bamboo handle bag.”

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For another smart styling trick, stylist Cassandra Sethi recommends wearing a lively color palette. “People are craving color right now and it’s a fun pop for the warmer months,” she says, pointing out it is also helpful to balance your statement purchase with a few neutral options. “Start with black or navy as it’s the most intuitive shade to coordinate with.”

Ahead, a few IRL outfit ideas to kickstart your quest for the perfect sheer top look.

Something Sweet

While gossamer-thin clothing feels innately sultry, there are plenty of ways to pivot toward a sweeter vibe. Begin with a semi-sheer top in pastel pink paired with a beige bra and pleated miniskirt. Accessorize with scrunched socks and flats (so collegiate chic!) and complete the outfit with a bag in a creamy hue.

New Noir

If you’re new to styling the tricky design, kick things off with basic black. A long-sleeve top worn with a spaghetti strap tank top underneath is simple enough in concept, but instantly comes across as something a downtown It-girl would wear. Complete the look with a black skirt and minimalist accessories.


An ultra-fine pale knit worn with a monochrome tank underneath feels particularly of-the-moment thanks to layered sheer pieces in Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Team your top with versatile slacks and accessories for an outfit that feels like something Gwyneth Paltrow would wear circa 1995.

Festive Night Out

While see-through styles can easily be translated to daylight hours, they’re a supremely cool choice for after-hours events. Opt for a textured top layer (it will blur the outline of whatever you choose to put underneath) and wear it with a miniskirt and sultry accessories — transparent Mary Jane flats should do the trick!

Fine Print

When in doubt, try a sheer printed shirt, as the pattern provides a certain level of camouflage. Then layer it with a bra or camisole and add in tried-and-true staples like a black skirt and strappy sandals — the ultimate out-to-dinner look.

Bold & Playful

If you’re feeling especially fearless, slip into a tie-front top for an adventurous take on the trend. Then balance your bare midriff with a longer skirt and toss in a few seasonal accessories like a woven bag and flat sandals.