From left to right: Looks from the runways at Aigner, Alberta Ferretti and Versace Spring Summer 2015. Images: Showbit, Topshop, Ted Baker, Zalora, New Look, Modajar, ASOS

The sheer trend is a bit challenging, as it usually suits the younger, rather than older crowd. That being said, there are ways for us non-teenagers to tackle the trend in a sophisticated manner.


The key is to think of the sheer panels not as material but lack of material.

Just ask yourself: Would I be comfortable exposing this area completely? If the answer is “yes”, the sheer panel passes the “classy” test.

This usually means that sheer panels on your arms, shoulders, or at the bottom of your skirt hem are fine.

The sheer panels work like an accent that enhances and gives the outfit more visual interest.

This dress has definitely got party-dress potential. $409.05 from ASOS. 


In general, avoid going sheer around your stomach and on the sides of your torso. That starts to enter over-exposure territory, especially after a certain age.

When it comes to tops, shoulders can easily go sheer.

Sheer sleeves can also sometimes be really flattering, especially for those who are not as confident going sleeveless.

This red shirt top from Topshop (photo 1, $76, from B2-01 Ion Orchard) and black blouse from New Look (photo 2, $59.90, from B2-34 313@somerset) both fit the bill nicely with sheer sleeves.

Skirt-wise, a sheer panel can be a fun addition. Just stick to a midi length like this white one from MDSCollections (photo 3, $42.90, from, so that you do not expose too much skin.

When it comes to dresses, sheer shoulder panels help provide a bit of additional coverage for what would otherwise be a strapless dress, like with this blue floral number from Ted Baker (photo 4, $590, from 01-132 VivoCity).

If you are feeling more daring, go for sheer panels on the torso. This can sometimes work despite what I said earlier.


Just stick to small areas (slivers of sheer, rather than big patches) and make sure it is semi-sheer rather than completely transparent, like with this pink and white Lie by Lie Sang Bong dress (photo 5, $449, from

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on November 7, 2014. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.