Since the dawn of Britney Spears, I've been intrigued by the question of whether a sheer dress can ever be considered chic, or even just publicly decent. Having initially come up with a straight "no" on both counts, a slow but persistent trickle of street style posts pointing towards the affirmative in recent times caused my convictions to waver - further investigation was required. The results? I'll let you judge for yourself, but I've been astounded by the versatility I've managed to tease out of this piece - its subtle shade and ladylike length and fabric seem to pull together to steer it away from missguided-red-carpet-starlet territory, however much you choose to conceal or reveal (within reason - and it turns out there's really no need to bare all, at all). Here's how I've been wearing it...
Dress, Slip, Belt (Sold As Set) and Boots: All Primark, Gilet: New Look (Past Season)
With the original cami-slip thoughtfully provided, styled up for slightly cooler weather! I decided to play on the sheer/opaque blocking effect of the staggered hemlines by tucking a pair of over-the-knee boots just under the lower hem.
The Bodycon Midi
Cream Lace Dress, Grey Midi Dress (Worn Underneath), Belt, Shoes, Jacket and Clutch: All Primark, Hair Band: New Look, Sunglasses: Accessorize + DIY (See This Post)
A natural contrarian, I had to attempt to create what I'd previously imagined impossible - a sheer look that neither Grace nor Audrey would have balked at. In actual fact, the elegant below-knee cut made this pretty easy - I simply slipped my trusty grey bodycon dress of the same length (first seen here) underneath et voila - hire me, Mr Hitchcock!
The Neon Skater
Cream Lace Dress and Belt: Both Primark, Pink Dress (Worn Underneath): Tammy, Shoes c/o F&F, Earrings: New Look
Turns out layering sheer over bright = a whole new lease of life for two pieces! I love the playful, girly feel lent to the look by the cut and colour of my neon skater dress (first seen here). Gold accessories tie the ladylike and frivolous elements of the ensemble together (and look great with a tan) - it feels like the very essence of summer has been distilled from my wardrobe into this combo!
The Bralet and Hotpants
Dress and Bralet: Both Primark, Hotpants: Topshop, Belt: New Look (Past Season), Boots: Boohoo
And so to the "barely there" look - well, it had to be done, didn't it? I've gone for a bandeau bralet and high-waisted hotpants intended as outerwear, rather than Ann Summers' finest (you can see them in all their glory here), for the daring feel of lingerie, minus (hopefully) the "en route to the pole" element. Mine are sequinned for a little extra sparkle, but disco shorts would work well too. I decided on contrasting black to make a statement and give a rocky vibe, assisted by my accessories, but cream or nude could also work for a deconstructed-vintage feel (stay away from the Spanx though!). A body/leotard would work equally well for the ab-shy, and you could easily throw a sweater over any of these looks for a more casual feel.
How bare do you dare?