If Instagram feeds, international runways and red carpets are anything to go by, it’s a known fact that sheer clothing is very ‘in’ right now.
With the celeb-approved Mugler catsuit becoming mainstream and the rise of post-pandemic era sensual dressing, we’ve been seeing the style set dip their toe into the nearly-nude aesthetic. But now, with the rise of transparent fabrics like mesh, chiffon, tulle and more, we’re diving in headfirst.
Queue major issue for styling—what on earth do you wear under it?
While Florence Pugh’s red-carpet efforts and the Autumn/Winter runways in Milan suggest a free-the-nipple approach (hello, Gucci, Diesel), we don’t always feel comfortable with the girls out (especially as the weather cools down).
So – we have consulted with the leading experts in the field of lingerie and under-dressing in how to nail this dynamic look. Here, you’ll find your definitive style guide on what to wear under sheer clothing.
Try to match your skin tone with intentional lingerie pieces
According to lingerie brand Forever And A Day’s Apryl Yii, the easiest tactic with sheer clothing is to choose an undergarment that matches your skin tone.
We all have that uncomfortable, low-key bulky strapless bra lurking in the back of the underwear drawer, and that is certainly not what to reach for. Picking these pieces has to be intentional.
“Opt for lingerie made of lightweight and thin fabrics to avoid any visible lines – this can help prevent them from showing through the sheer fabric,” Yii suggests. “You can also try layering with seamless camisoles or bodysuits to provide additional coverage.”
If you’re willing to push the boundaries a little bit more but aren’t willing to go full-nip, Yii suggests opting for silicone nipple covers. “They tend to be more matte than the thin satin ones to avoid any flashback with harsh lights! Stick on G-strings are also an option for a super nude look under clothing.”
The best way to disguise these pieces is to choose undergarments with a simple cut. “My advice would be to avoid anything too frilly or with too much ‘lingerie’ detailing,” Yii says.
Go for a sportier look
Having lingerie on show isn’t for everyone, so THE OUTNET’s style director, Sinead Cutts, suggests opting for a sportier vibe to feel more comfortable.
“Pair sheer or netted pieces with cycling shorts, body suits, or mini-skirts and style with a sleek bralette to add a sporty luxe feel, without being too exposed,” she says.
“Look to Dion Lee for this style – simple, well-designed, and alluring in a subtle way. The overall aesthetic gives a nod to the 90s ‘barely there’ trend when kept simple.”
Instead of matching the skin, match the garment
It’s not always easy to find lingerie that exactly matches your skin, so another chic route is to instead match it to your ‘fit.
This is something Swedish influencer Matilda Djerf is well-known for, pairing a set of black undies and bra (you can choose high-waisted or low at your preference) with a black netted dress.
It’s something Yii really supports: “Choosing undergarments in a similar shade as the sheer clothing is always a super chic way of showing off your lingerie.”
Don’t just follow the status quo
Often sheer outfits will come with slips that aren’t always of the best quality. Instead, Cutts believes it’s an opportunity to mix it up.
“Level up your look by adding an extra layer of interest to your outfit and don’t be afraid to steer away from the designated slip your outfit comes with. Experiment with adding silk underneath to add hidden intrigue to the look,” she suggests.
Another idea is to add a cut-out mini dress under a sheer maxi, which she says will “add interest with strap detailing”.
Distract, Distract, Distract
If you’re getting used to ‘risking it for the biscuit’ with sheer looks, Yii suggests trying to draw attention elsewhere.
It’s the classic ‘bait-and-switch’ technique.
“Consider wearing a waist belt or statement jewellery to draw attention away from your undergarments and towards your overall outfit,” she suggests.
Make it a statement
And finally, the most fun way to style your sheer outfits is to be loud and proud about your undergarments. If you have cute ones that you’ve spent a pretty penny on, why not show them off, right?
“Consider the colour of your sheer clothing and choose a lingerie piece that creates a strong contrast, such as black lingerie under a white sheer top,” suggests Yii.
Cutts adds, “To add a daring edge to your classic black lace, evening blouse why not try a pop of neon in your bralette. Or experiment with layering, for example a bralette is the perfect partner for V-neck cardigans or off shoulder knits adding a little coverage.”
You may also want to consider a lacy balconette bra with a plunging neckline, Yii adds.
“Statement lingerie is having such a moment so have fun with it!”
The best lingerie to try for this trend
Vince. Bead embellished satin midi slip dress, $1058, The Outnet
Forever And A Day Aubrey Bra in Blue, $60, Forever And A Day
Triumph Beautiful Silhouette Strapless Bra, $69.95, MYER
Comete Bodysuit in Black, $179.95, Simone Pérèle
The Upside Tempo Poppy Bra, $99.99, Stylerunner