If you haven't checked out the recent Burberry show at London Fashion Week, let me sum it up in a simple equation: sheer lace skirts + high-waisted pastel underwear. Looks like transparency is happening for spring in a major way. While this might not be one of those trends you can easily adapt for fall, at least that means we have a good, oh, six or seven months to learn how best to embrace the see-through.
1. First things first: You have to get yourself a good set of undergarments. I once tried to wear a sheer white blouse with a nude tank top, but the tank's lace appliqués showed through the blouse and made the outfit look bumpy and weird, instead of ethereal and barely-there, as I had intended. A totally seamless skin-colored tank top will let you wear any sheers you want without showing what you don't want to show. Spanx is still the queen here, offering everything from tanks to slips to full-body coverage. The brand Shimera has lovely seamless tanks, camisoles, and underwear that also come in plus sizes. And both True Intimates and MySkins sell bras and underwear to match a wide range of skin tones.
2. Go for strategic transparency. Pockets, stripes, and appliqués can cover up what you don't want seen, leaving everything else gauzily visible. One of Erdem's opening looks (above) was a voluminous black dress that was all sheer on top — except for a heart-shaped, opaque bodice that strategically covered the breasts and stomach.
3. Match your underwear to your clothing, à la Burberry. Sea-foam green lace skirt and sea-foam green underwear? Looks like the Little Mermaid finally got her legs.
4. Choose busy fabrics. Christopher Kane sent a number of sheer dresses down the runway, but the patterns and cuts were so colorful and wild that the transparency was sort of an afterthought.
5. Layer sheer on sheer on sheer. Flashback to NYFW: Both Nicholas K and Jason Wu sent models floating down the runway in dreamily sheer layers of white. When you layer sheer fabrics, you're creating all that lovely weightless illusion that we love about transparency — but still hiding what's beneath.