I’m Obsessed With Wearing Sheer Dresses — Here’s Why You Should Be, Too
They’re so versatile.
Whether you want to dress like Hailey Bieber, Gabrielle Union, or Rihanna (or, you know, a combination of the three), there is one look all these celebs converge on: the sheer dress trend. Rihanna was the first star to declare that the look was having another moment (it was also quite buzzy in the ‘90s — see Kate Moss wearing a completely see-through slip with barely anything underneath) by showing off her pregnant belly in a transparent gown from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2022 collection while attending the brand’s Fall 2020 show. The singer’s PFW moment made waves (seriously, it broke the internet), and since, stars have followed suit by incorporating sultry, barely-there numbers into their wardrobes.
Luxury fashion houses have taken a liking to see-through numbers as well. Just take a gander at the latest runway show from the fashion house of your choosing — maybe it’s Rodarte or Sacai — it’s likely you’ll spot a see-through piece, no matter the season. “What started as a seasonal trend in the Spring/Summer has cemented itself as a permanent wardrobe staple,” Colin Welch, Senior Styling Manager at Moda Operandi, tells TZR. “Seeing how brands like Magda Butrym & Diotima took crochet for Fall/Winter ‘22 and really transformed it for the evening space was something I was immensely inspired and impressed by,” he shares.
The year-round love for see-through pieces has translated into what shoppers are purchasing as well. According to Klarna, a global shopping service, there has been a 103% increase in purchase for sheer dresses over the past year, which confirms that the trend has made its way off of the runway and into our day-to-day wardrobes — and it doesn’t seem like it’ll phase out any time soon.
While personally, I can’t get enough of the NYC women and Instagram influencers sporting the trend, I can say from experience that it isn’t as easy as it looks to wear see-through pieces. It’s intimidating to bare it all when you’re walking around town — for me, it took a lot of courage (including, at times, liquid courage). But, to my surprise, once I walked out in my sheer skirt and tank top combo, I felt really confident and was eager to wear the look over and over again.
But as the weather has cooled down bit, I quickly realized I couldn’t wear my new favorite outfit on its own. That’s when I began to experiment on how to make sheer pieces fall-appropriate. After some mixing and matching (you’ll see the final results below) I realized two things: one, sheer garments are super lightweight which makes them great for layering. Second, by adding a jacket or a cardigan over a sheer number, you’re less naked and therefore, it may feel less scary to try the trend.
Keep scrolling for my styling tips to help you integrate see-through garments to your fall wardrobe. Plus, you’ll be able to shop the exact pieces I’m wearing.
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The Sultry Mesh Dress
This House of Aama dress has gone completely viral on TikTok, with influencers loving the sultry and powerful feel of the garment. It’s made with a transparent mesh material that hugs that body in all the right places, giving you ample opportunity to show off your figure and make an entrance. I envision this look would be a go-to for a Saturday night event, your birthday celebration, or an impromptu photoshoot (hey, no shame in documenting a great look). Plus, the long sleeves will keep you cozy in case of a breezy evening.
My take: This dress is a major moment so it only felt right to keep accessories minimal. I shimmied into the silhouette (it has a stunning open back detail, by the way) with a pair of bikini-style underwear from CUUP that matched my skin tone. I went braless for the look (gasp!), but really that was the best option: because the design is made with such a light, mesh material, anything underneath felt distracting. I tried nipple covers, a tan bandeau, and even a tan tank top, but nothing looked to my personal satisfaction; thus, I went braless. Luckily, the goddess print across the dress added some extra coverage, so it didn’t feel too revealing. For a polished finishing touch, pulled my hair back into a slicked-back ponytail, slipped into simple tan mules from Porte & Paire, and grabbed my Cult Gaia shoulder bag.
The pieces I used:
Pro tip: If you’re a must-have-a-bra type of girl, don’t sweat it. I’d recommend grabbing a seamless bandeau that matches with your skin tone.
The Dainty Overlay Dress
In an effort to make the sheer less intimidating, brands have designed semi-see-though options with overlays that add extra coverage so you’re not baring it all. The dress I chose for this challenge has eyelet cutouts, but lace or patterned options would be a great way to go as well. I’ve been obsessing over this Dôen style since it arrived in the mail and decided the best way to transition it to fall was by giving it a western-inspired twist.
My take: This design is really dainty and feminine, so I wanted to showcase those features. So I opted for a simple CUUP high-waisted thong that essentially blended in with my skin tone and nipple covers from Bristols 6 underneath. For the country twist, I slipped into the beige cowboy boots I’ve had since I was 13 years old (I’m from Texas so they’ve been a wardrobe staple of mine for years). Then, for extra warmth and an option that makes the look more office-appropriate, I grabbed my white ribbed cardigan from Alo Yoga and wore it off the shoulders. The result? Nicholas Sparks heroine, but make it fashion.
The pieces I used:
Pro-tip: If you’re not into the western style, I envision this dress would feel so free-spirited with chunky clogs and a cropped jean jacket.
The Bold Crochet Dress
Summer isn’t over just yet, so I couldn’t resist creating one look that would be perfect for a beach club or Labor Day celebration with this over-the-top (in the best way possible) dress from éliou. It’s bright, bold, and whimsical — which typically doesn’t fit in with my minimalistic style, but it felt perfect for my upcoming beach vacation to Portugal.
My take: This dress truly makes a statement, so I kept the rest of my garments pretty simple. All I really needed was my Monday Swimwear bandeau bikini top and bottoms in a bright orange hue (the color is called Burnt Orange) that complemented the colors in the crochet gown. My accessories were relatively effortless, too: raffia platform sandals from Dolce Vita and a bean baguette from Georgia Jay. To finish things off, I pulled my hair up in my favorite Emi Jay clip (it changes colors in the sun!) and put on my vintage Gucci sunglasses, a find from The RealReal.
The pieces I used:
Pro-tip: If you want to wear this dress to a non-pool function, try layering a strapless white tube dress underneath.
The Simple Slip Dress
Hear me out: goth-inspired dressing is back and will be everywhere this fall. Thus, I thought that an all-black look would be the most effective way to create an emo-esque feel with my Good American slip dress (which was more likely designed as a swimsuit coverup.)
My take: To make the outfit transitional-weather appropriate, I slipped into my tube top and bolero sleeve combo from Find Me Now and tucked the top into a mini pencil skirt from Susana Monaco. Then I layered my slip on top, stepped into my chunky combat boots from STAUD, and filled my vintage Fendi baguette with everything I needed to tackle the day.
The pieces I used:
Pro-tip: If you don’t have a tube top and pencil skirt, look for a mini bodycon dress instead to achieve a similar vibe. Next throw on a chunky leather jacket to add depth to the finished product.