Sheer clothes are always tricky to wear, but I think dresses top the poll when it comes to the trickiest sheer item out there. Some dresses are sold with a slip that offers a little coverage, but many aren't and that leaves you with numerous questions such as what to wear with them, what to wear under them, when to wear them...the list goes on!
If you’ve asked yourself any of those questions then you’re in the right place! This post is filled with with tips, advice and outfits ideas to help you wear that sheer dress you’ve been thinking about, confident that it looks good!
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FOUR REASONS TO HAVE SHEER CLOTHES IN YOUR CLOSET
1/ They are fantastic for layering as they don’t add much bulk
2/ They are a great way to add texture and interest to a monochromatic ensemble
3/ They enable you to play around with proportions without creating a lot of imbalance
4/ And they make a great choice for evening wear if you want to show a little leg, but aren’t comfortable wearing a short dress
FOUR TIPS FOR WEARING A SHEER DRESS:
1/ CHOOSE THE CORRECT UNDERWEAR
First, you need to think about the underwear, as many of sheer dresses don't come with a slip. If you’re planning on wearing it as a standalone piece then think about what undergarments you’re going to need in order to do so, comfortably. I would suggest purchasing a pretty slip like this so you're covered no matter how you want to wear it. If you like to wear something with a little support then something like this makes a great option
2/ YOU DON'T' HAVE TO OPT FOR A COMPLETELY SHEER DRESS
If you’re nervous about going for a completely sheer dress, there are plenty of other options. Some have solid panels like this one, and there are pretty print and embroidery options that will also give you a little more coverage.
3/ CHOOSE THE CORRECT LENGTH OF SLIP
For the most flattering look, you’ll want it to end at a narrower point on your legs. This is generally just below the knee but everyone is different so choose a length that works best for you. You'll also want to consider the length of the slip in relation to the length of the dress. A short slip under a long dress can look great, it's a little grungy. But if you want a slightly more chic look, opt for length that's only a few inches shorter than the dress. Or...don't wear a slip and layer the dress over jeans!
4/ TRY THE DRESS ON BEFORE YOU BUY!
So you can see exactly what will be on show. And don’t be tempted to quickly throw it over your jeans and tee in the fitting room (we’ve all done it, it’s the quickest way to try dresses on), especially if the dress has solid panels - as you’ll want to check that they are sitting in the right place and it will be pretty difficult to determine this if you've got clothes on underneath.
THREE WAYS TO WEAR A SHEER DRESS
1/ HOW TO WEAR A SHEER DRESS CASUALLY
I’ve become rather a fan of layering dresses over jeans for no other reason than I like how it looks, there's something about combining a dressy piece with a casual item that makes me happy. I've pulled together similar looks here but never before with a sheer dress. A sheer dress adds another dimension to the look that's fun and quirky, but it also helps prevent the outfit from looking bulky. I chose to wear Vans with this outfit (a combination that I'm pretty sure my teenage self would have been a pretty big fan of 20 years ago) but I’ve also worn it with ankle boots and over knee boots, too. One point to note with a look like this is to make sure that the jeans you’re wearing underneath are longer than the dress, or can be seen, as if they can’t it can sometimes look like you’re only wearing tights and forgot to add the slip. I'm currently layering a light sweater underneath the dress, but in the summer I'll swap this for a cami or cropped tee.
2/ HOW TO WEAR A SHEER DRESS FOR SMART CASUAL
A great way to maximize the wear of dresses is to layer knitwear over them. I prefer to wear cropped sweaters over my dresses as it’s the most flattering option for me but you might look great with a longer style, so adapt it to suit your shape. I think the key to the success of this outfit is the necktie on the dress which I decided to make a feature of rather than hide it under the sweater. In doing so I really feel it ties the whole outfit together. The belt serves two purposes, the first is that it highlights my waist and the second is it gives me something to tuck the sweater in so it's sitting at the correct length. I decided to go bare legged as I wanted to really highlight the sheerness of the fabric, but black tights would have worked, too.
3/ HOW TO WEAR A SHEER DRESS FOR EVENING
There are a number of ways to wear sheer dresses in the evening and they range from the bold and brave - wearing only your undergarments (and when I say undergarments, I don’t mean skimpy underwear, I’m talking high waist briefs and a good bandeau bra, to create a look that resembles something like this), to the more demure - layering a slip underneath, or a camisole and leggings. I chose the more demure option and layered a short slip under mine. There were a few things I needed to take into consideration with this look; the first was how much flesh was I comfortable showing (obviously), and the second was how long to wear the slip underneath as if the length ended inline with a wider part of my legs, i.e right across my thighs, then it would be less flattering than if it ended at a narrower point, just below my thighs. I love to play around with different textures in my outfits so I chose to layer a short faux fur jacket over the top, but a leather jacket would look great, as would a more tailored style coat.
MY FAVORITE SHEER DRESSES FOR THE SEASON
(Updated Nov 2019)