Style Style Talk

Monday 14 October 2019

How to wear... the sheer reveal

Make the most of the dying days of summer and get a head start on autumn’s translucent trend by flashing a little skin, writes Meadhbh McGrath

Meghan Markle. Photo: Dave Benett/WireImage
Meghan Markle. Photo: Dave Benett/WireImage
Anne Hathaway. Photo: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros
Dress, €399 (sale price) from Goat at
Camisole, €36 from Hanro at Arnotts
Ruffle hem skirt, €49 from M&S
Shirt dress, €163 (sale price) from
Shirt, €25.99 from Mango
Jeans, €55 from River Island
Polo-shirt, €26 from Topshop
Lilac blouse, €29.95 from Zara
Blue shirt, €39.95 from Zara
Bralette, €25 from COS
Boots, €102 from Office
Jumper, €59 from & Other Stories
Lemon dress, €955 from Molly Goddard at

Meadhbh McGrath

Once the temperatures start to drop, it can be tempting to embrace the urge to wrap up. But that would be premature - you'll have the rest of the year, and more besides, to wear your winter clothes, so slow down and enjoy the last days of summer before you bid farewell to bare arms and legs until party season.

Luckily, fashion offers a compromise: sheer clothing. We're not talking naked dresses, but tasteful panels and details. Consider the mesh sleeves on the Jason Wu gown Meghan Markle (left) wore to the London premiere of The Lion King this summer: modest enough for a member of the Royal Family, but still baring a little skin.

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The sheer-panelled dress is a style that she's turned to a couple of times since becoming the Duchess of Sussex, and strikes a balance between covering up and uncovering.

It's also set to be a popular one for autumn-winter. At Fendi, the final collection by late creative director Karl Lagerfeld championed translucent layers. There were polka-dot blouses, shirt dresses and nipped-waist gowns in shades of aqua, buttercup yellow and tan, worn over sheer hosiery and bodysuits.

Rodarte presented vibrant puff-sleeve blouses in sheer pink, tucked into wide-leg trousers, and playful party dresses with sheer panels.

Valentino also offered diaphanous dresses in bright red, yellow, pink and lime, already spotted on the likes of Keira Knightley and Emilia Clarke, but it was the sheer pussy-bow blouses that have filtered down to the high street. They came in black, white and lilac, tied high on the neck underneath trench coats, blazers and hooded sweatshirts and worn with flared mini and midi skirts.

Victoria Beckham is a fan of the sheer blouse, and favours unexpected colour combinations, such as dusty pink with lemon trousers (right), or sky blue with bold red trousers. Beckham's high-collar blouses reveal a white soft bra underneath, although some will prefer more coverage from their lingerie.

It's important when shopping to bear in mind what underwear you'll need, and how much you're willing to bare: if you're going for a fully sheer blouse, you'll need a bra worth showing off.

A bralette will work best, or a crop-top style to give a feminine blouse a bit of an edge. Flesh-coloured bras won't do anything to make the top less see-through, but a camisole can provide more modesty, although make sure it's a very thin one so it doesn't ruin the line.

On a recent press tour, Anne Hathaway (right) opted for a camisole underneath a sheer white shirt, tucked into high-waisted, wide-leg trousers. The refined tailoring helps to elevate the look, while the shirt gives a glimpse of skin.

London designer Molly Goddard's sheer tulle dresses have been a street-style hit, but they require a full outfit underneath, although it can be as simple as a T-shirt and jeans. Whatever you wear, you're not going to look the same as anyone else wearing that dress, so it offers greater versatility and individuality than you might assume.

If that all seems too much, play it safe with a sheer knit jumper, such as & Other Stories' crew neck, which can be layered over a crisp white shirt or a fine polo-neck later in the season - or a skirt with a sheer hem. Steer clear of the Dior-inspired transparent skirts-over-boxer briefs look that even Jennifer Lawrence and Sienna Miller can't pull off, and try Marks & Spencer's ruffle hem mini. It allows a whisper of thigh, without completely exposing your lower half, and nicely straddles the line between revealing and concealing.

Irish Independent

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