Bare it with sheer abandon

Jun 15, 2014, 10:34 IST | Nikshubha Garg

It’s flirty, sexy and makes a bold statement. Nikshubha Garg talks to designers about what makes the sheer trend so popular and the factors to keep in mind while wearing the fabric

Rihanna created quite a stir when she stepped out in a sheer dress at CFDA Fashion awards on June 2. Her translucent gown embellished with Swarovski crystals left very little to imagination. Whether a style statement or not, sheer dressing which started with Jane Birkin’s bare-black dress in 1969, has slowly but steadily evolved from a seasonal accent to a trend that’s here to stay. With runways all over the world presenting the trend aesthetically, sheer dressing has not only dominated Hollywood for quite some time but has also found loyalists in India.

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Pair it well
Who doesn’t want to highlight those toned legs and arms? Whether it is a sheer top, skirt or a dress, the fabric never fails to make heads turn “Sheer is not only comfortable but also gives a sexy yet sophisticated look. One can highlight the body part they think is their strong point,” says designer Rocky S.

Sophie Choudry made heads turn when she sported sheer, which revealed quite a bit but we aren’t complaining.
Pic/ Yogen Shah

In a country like India, baring it all isn’t preferred. Celebrities often invest in some sort of translucent or delicately embellished fabrics instead. “If you are experimenting with sheer dresses, you can go in for opaque dresses with sheer edges for a flirty feel. Sheer dresses over sheaths also look very sensual,” says designer Neeta Lulla.

Another interesting way of wearing sheer is layering. You can team up a bright coloured dress with a transparent contrast jacket. The best part about sheer is that you can wear something under and over it.

Kareena Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor makes a mark in this sheer blouse with delicate embroidery on the side. Pic/Yogen Shah

Sheer tops are best worn loose. The more fitted your garment, the more risqué your look becomes. “Try going with prints or textures to add more coverage,” says Rocky S. Since they add volume to the outfit, it is advisable that the bottom half of the outfit is given a structure by investing in stiffer fabrics such as suede, leather or velvet. Also, sheer tops reveal what is underneath; therefore, special attention needs to be given to what you wear inside. Instead of routine slips, make the outfit more interesting by using tank and crop tops.

Zarine Khan chose to wear a sheer blouse for an event recently and the right choice of lingerie did the trick for her. Pic/ Yogen Shah

Sheer fabrics complement ethnic attires very well. Whether draped as a saree or used on blouses or lehengas, this fabric will never disappoint. “If you intend to use sheer on the blouse, pick an embroidered blouse with details on the panel or sides,” explains Rocky. The draping on the saree is very important. Take into account your body type and your problem areas. Drape the saree accordingly. That will give the outfit a more sensual look.

Make or break with accessories
Since the fabric is transparent or is made with threads like lace, mesh, chiffon or georgette, minimal accessories are recommended. “You can accessorise sheer fabrics with trendy back pieces and cuffs. With that you have accentuated your look, yet not let those accessories shift the focus from the fabric,” says designer Shruti Sancheti.

Deepika Padukone highlights her well-toned legs and midriff in this sheer dress

“While wearing a saree, you could accessorise with a choker so that there is enough gap between the piece and your drape, to make it look striking,” says Rocky.

Trust Gwyneth Paltrow to look good in what she wears. The sheer panels on the side of her gown look elegant

It is important to remember that sheer is a very delicate fabric and though you need accessories to complete your look, take note of sharp accessories that could possibly catch and pull on your sheer top. Keep your hairdo elegant and make-up subtle. Tie your hair in a neat bun or chignon, but nothing complicated or fierce. Similarly, use basic or nude make-up and slip in a pair of chic heels to elevate your look. So the next time the little fashion rebel in you takes you the sheer way, you know what to do.

Sheer etiquette
1. Be careful about the lingerie you wear because it decides if your look is a hit or not
2. If you don’t want to go sheer all the way, experiment with prints and textures
3. Avoid using sharp accessories as they could tear the fabric
4. Don’t go to heavy with make-up. Just like the fabric, keep it light

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