How To Wear Sheer

Or, how not to look naked in a see-through top.

Remember that Friends scene when Monica sings perfectly mediocre karaoke and the entire bar erupts in cheers, only because (gasp) the spotlight has made her shirt see-through? The stuff of ’90s nightmares, right?

Fast-forward to 2014 and three-quarters of the outfits in that bar are bra-baring on purpose—insert Chandler freak-out GIF here—and no one blinks an eye.

Sheer is here. Renew that Body By Simone membership, ‘cause it ain’t going away anytime soon. But unlike some of the more foolproof trends in our arsenal (see denim, ankle boots and our groundbreaking current uniform, The Sweater), anything transparent can be a little tricky to pull off.

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Like that skirt you could have sworn was opaque until lingering stranger-stares told you otherwise. Or that mesh panel that seems to have rode up to somewhere the sun don’t (and should never) shine. Or that “tastefully sheer” work blouse your friends okayed after a few glasses of Pinot Noir, but your boss’ raised brow tells you it looks like you wore RiRi’s bedazzled Naked Dress to your 9:30 AM.

We tapped Micaela Erlanger (she does Lupita Nyong'o, Olivia Munn and Michelle Dockery) and Kemal Harris and Karla Welch (Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler and Olivia Wilde) for their advice on what to wear underneath, over top, and in between our gauziest garments.

Now let’s take that NSFW LBD and make it PG, okay?

—Chelsey Burnside

Micaela Erlanger

Stylist

 

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1.

What style of lingerie is ideal if you're going to sport a blouse?

If you want your look to be intentional I think it's better to have something pretty peeking out. I recommend a color or if you’re feeling sultry then black is always a way go to. Maidenform makes really great bras—I love the embellished scallop neckline demi bras.

 

 

2.

If you styled a sheer piece into a look, what would it be?

For me it's about a sheer detail, like a sleeve or a panel of a dress. It's subtle and sultry.

 

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3.

What other clothing items would you style with a sheer dress or shirt?

It's about balance so make sure to pair your sheer elements with opaque pieces, like a blazer or jacket.

 

4.

What are your favorite designers for sheer?

Balenciaga and Altuzarra had amazing sheer paneling; McQueen had really beautiful sheer arms on their dresses; and Rochas and Aquilano.Rimondi had beautiful sheer skirts.

 

Kemal Harris & Karla Welch

Stylists

 

1.

What style of lingerie is ideal if you're going to sport a sheer dress or blouse?

For a sheer dress, we love the idea of a vintage Dolce & Gabbana style opaque bra and high-waisted tap short-style bottom.
For a sheer blouse, we love a lace bra or a modern triangle bra like Fleur du Mal's leather triangle bra. Or something patterned like Stella McCartney's leopard print bra.

 

2.

What are your favorite brands or shops to buy lingerie that works well with lace and sheer?

Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Kiki de Montaparnasse and Fleur du Mal.

 

3.

If you styled a sheer piece into a look, what would it be?

Nina Ricci white lace tee [and a] Valentino leather skirt [with a] Kiki de Montparnasse "Voyeur" Bralette.

 

4.

What are your favorite designers doing sheer pieces right now?

Absolutely love the idea of red sheer that Acne did for Spring 2015 in a super modern way!

 

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