How to Actually Wear a Sheer Dress: A Shopping Guide

If you weren’t already aware, we’re very much here for the transparent trend. Whether cut from organza, tulle, or lace, the “naked” dress is a solidified celebrity favorite, with everyone from Ashley Graham to the Bella Hadid repping the see-through style with killer confidence. But we won’t lie, the sheer trend is a tough one to nail down, in part because the idea of wearing something completely see-through is pretty daunting. Which is why we’re building out our ultimate guide so you’ll know exactly how to wear a sheer dress IRL.

They’re not all made equally, though, and shopping for the right style all depends on what you plan to wear under your sheer dress. So let us break it down for you—from the casual duster dresses you’ll throw on over jeans and a tee to the bold gowns worthy of a formal occasion. There are four levels we’ve defined on our “naked” dress barometer, and if you’re armed with the following options, you too can go forth fearlessly and nail the sheer trend.

This is your entry point into the “naked” dress trend. It’s casual and easy to throw on with ankle boots or sneakers but looks anything but boring. The key is to look for mesh dresses with a built-in solid inner lining that makes them ultra wearable.

The next level on the sheer dress thermometer is the dress with cutouts. These styles feature a few choice see-through panels so you can partake in the sheer trend without needing to overthink your layering strategy.

Here’s where things really start to warm up. These styles feature a pattern like lace (or in the case of this Insta-famous Realisation Par number, zebra-printed burnout velvet) so while they’re not 100% see-through they definitely lean more risqué. Wear one of these sheer lace options with strappy heels for a night out.

And now for what we like to call the “level 10 naked dress”, the fully transparent styles that leave it up to you as to what you’ll wear underneath. We’re fans of wearing plain undergarments like high-waisted briefs and a matching bra top underneath these fully sheer dresses for more formal occasions or even as a swimsuit coverup.

Up next, see the best summer dress brands, according to our senior market editor.

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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