When it comes to the mention of sheer items of clothing, many of us want to run for the hills.
Of course, the severity of sheerness plays a part, and the practicality.
It’s about dressing down without losing a touch of sexiness. It’s about a touch of elegance and femininity.
In the past few years, designers have been subverting the norms. The runway shows became bigger, more theatrical, with a focus on challenging the intellectual appeal of clothing. Or not so intellectual. Namely, Coperni’s display of female empowerment by, what? Having Bella Hadid stand naked until two men sprayed her with moldable fabric until she could walk, clothed, in a dress. It doesn’t get more naked, or sheer, than that.
But the sheer trend isn’t just for those who are comfortable to be semi-nude for the day. From what we’ve seen on the catwalks and on the red carpet, the sheer trend is versatile and romantic. It doesn’t need to be for the fainthearted, though there is a scale of sheerness to best judge your confidence levels.
Going bold has never been so translucent. Let’s get into the sheerness of it all.
What Do We Mean by Sheer?
A sheer item of clothing or a sheer look brings forth images of delicate fabric, a vision of a body underneath it all. Though this is factual, the sheer trend which we’re seeing more of, and a hot trend to keep up with for 2023, is all about pairing different colors which would usually be quite strong with the simplicity and elegance of a see through gauze.
Rick Owens spring/summer '23 taken from GoRunway
Though the base of the sheer trend does require either exposing your body underneath, there are options to allow for a more versatile, everyday - but not pedestrian - look. Finding a sheer look that you can pair with a bralette and underwear, or a simple slip, allows us to include this new muted color collection and delicate fabrics without feeling, if not underdressed, then undressed.
Rick Owens has championed this sheer trend, pairing the fine fabric with accessories that feel strong. The sexy and draped combined with the strong and almost mechanical.
It’s about redefining the typically risqué trend of sheer fabric yet maintaining the sweetness, the sensuality of thin fabric that merely floats, and cascades, over the body.
The ear of fans of Sex and the City will prick up with the term naked dress. It left little to the imagination and this emblem of fashion didn’t remain solely on a date with Mr Big.
Bob Mackie designed the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe and then Kim Kardashian to the 2022 Met Gala, which caused a viral stir for the wrong reasons. He also created many of Cher’s more performative, and perhaps provocative, outfits.
So the sheer look has been around for a while - heavily established in the 90s with Kate Moss’ sheer, long dress in 1993.
Taken from Getty Images
Naked dressing, or ‘sexy’ dressing, isn’t anything new, but what the sheer trend is currently doing is transgressing the lines between sexy and playful with wearable and casual.
Everyone from Hailey Bieber and Kylie Jenner has been seen bringing back this trend in new ways - some more provocative than others.
Whether you want to leave what lies beneath to the imagination or to be totally upfront with your body, you can have a play with this trend. As with many trends, they’re not for everyone, but there are ways to make the sheer trend work for you.
The Layered Approach
Of course, including a sheer item such as a dress, a top or trousers requires - if you’d like - some undergarments and outer garments.
And though the sheer trend does play into the idea of laying bare, it doesn’t need to be limited for the strong-hearted. High-waisted briefs, or a simple slip can highlight the transparent fabric just as much as a bare body beneath can, and thus extends its reach in your closet.
Beautiful, delicate fabric deserves a trip out on the town more than once, and with undergarments, you can reduce its limitations.
We’ve seen celebrities such as Olivia Wilde and Bridgerton’s Simone Ashley rock the look. Wilde paired a Saint Laurent blazer with a sheer black skirt, proving that a touch of sheer across just the legs powered with some structured tailoring is a style for many, even those who don’t feel they’re daring enough for the trend.
Babylon film premiere | Getty Images
The Final Say with HushHush
When we think of the sheer trend, we do tend to think of the romantic, but as with everything: the style is meant to be played with.
Brands like Rick Owens want to create the duality between typically feminine fabrics with strong accessories and with structured tailoring to suit your needs. A touch of sheer can add that certain something.
While the sheer elements bring that romantic flair, it’s a way to bring movement with a mix of sweetness and spice to an ensemble.
Embrace the trend and find slip dresses, sheer skirts, blouses and dresses in HushHush’s collection.