Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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Sheer clothing can be disastrous if done wrong. Use it as in layering, says stylist Mary Alice Stephenson.



This fall and next spring, going sheer doesn't mean dressing like a 1980s video vixen (Madonna).



Forget raunchy and think romantic - ethereal chiffon floral dresses at Roberto Cavalli, sheer organza color-blocking at Jil Sander and Venetian brocades encased in sheer netting, as if in soft focus, at Dolce & Gabbana.



Yves Saint Laurent put sheer on the style map in 1968, when his collection of barely there chiffon blouses hit the runways at the height of the sexual revolution...



Liquidy, light, feminine -- sheer is an important look in the stylist's spring repertoire. But sheer, Stephenson says, can be disastrous if done wrong: "It's about looking like a lady and not a slut."



But, if you are not Kate Moss, please - be careful!







Is it really possible to look sophisticated in a see-through outfit?
Absolutely! But the truthful answer is that most women in America don't do it well. You can't wear sheer like you're on the cover of FHM. You have to pair the look with ladylike pieces that you already have in your wardrobe. Put a sheer top under a tuxedo jacket or a big, lightweight sweater. Belt a sheer little dress over a camisole and boy shorts. And you can double layer too. It's about wearing sheer pieces like you'd wear a piece of normal clothing, only more elegantly.



How can I make sheer work with your curves, if you do not have a body of Kate Moss?

Don't think there are rules for weight. No matter what, if you're going to wear sheer, you'd better wear it with confidence. It takes guts and a sense of personal style. Curvier women like support so I suggest wearing a corset, bra or fitted T-shirt underneath. Do it a la Dolce & Gabbana with a pencil skirt and sheer blouse over a bustier. The reality is it's very difficult to get away with sheer. It's easier if you incorporate it as a layering piece within an outfit.



Won't I look cheap if bra is showing?


It depends on what bra you're wearing. The key is to not wear sheer in a vulgar way. Instead of a demi-cup, wear something that's a little more substantial. Victoria's Secret has great bras that are colorful and aren't so over the top. There are also lots of bodysuits, bustiers and camisoles with bras built in -- but take time to try them on to make sure that they don't bunch or add unwanted bulk. And incorporate what you already have in your wardrobe with your sheer pieces. You'll be surprised how polished your old jean jacket looks over a wispy chiffon blouse, even if your favorite lace bra is showing underneath.



How can you incorporate color?
Black sheer over a black bra is the stereotypical way that people wear sheer in America. Stay away from that. Play with pieces that are colorful. The important colors for spring are purple, fuchsia and blue. I think that's super feminine and sexy, less of a hard, black dominatrix look. I tend to like patterns on a piece that's a little sheer and not completely see-through. The look is a little bit easier to take in a semi-sheer, floral pattern.



Where you can find your sheer inspiration?


Let's see...



BLACK SHEER (all via nymag.com)



Christian Dior, Betty Jackson, Armand Basi





Agn├Ęs B., Chloe, Givenchy


John Richmond



Jasper Conran, Fendi and Sari Gueron





John Rocha, Toni Maticevski, Jean-Paul Gaultier





For this look to last through 2008, stick to quality fabrics and classic colours. Pieces should have enough room to fit layers underneath if you want to take them from Spring to Autumn.



Excelent dresses by Oscar de la Renta and Ann-Sofie Back



Look at the pretty aqua flowers on this Aquascutum tunic! Not quite enough to distract from the total sheer element... Basso & Brooke's cap-sleeved dress may have been full of embellishments, but the sheer fabric of this black party dress still shines through.





Diane von Furstenberg Resort, John Galliano, Byblos





Celine top leaves little to the imagination, Armand Basi, Chris Benz





The colorful jewel elements on this party dress at Jenny Packham cover a transparent, nude fabric, and next two - Haider Ackermann and Giorgio Armani





Jasper Conran





Jil Sander, John Galliano, and so sweet dress by John Rocha





Just Cavalli, Preen, Louise Goldin





Richard Nicoll (love this dress!), Sophia Kokosalaki, Rosa Cha





Stephen Burrows, Stella McCartney, Trovata





Jill Stuart and Kate Moss wears 2008's trends in Vogue Nippon





Vivienne Westwood lets it all hang out!

As you can see, almost every designer sent out see-through looks that made us blush, from the transparent tops at Celine, to the near-naked dress at Louise Goldin



And let's not forget the entirely topless look at Vivienne Westwood!



Would you wear any of these looks?


Or would you rather haul ass to Camisole Country? Either way, here are few super-sheer looks from runways in order of least nipply to fully exposed.



Of course, don't forget some large statement necklace!





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