What To Wear Under A Sheer Dress

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Sheer is here! The ‘naked’ dress is a big trend these days. But it’s a hard bandwagon to jump on if you don’t know what to wear under it. 

Though a sheer dress showing private bits may be seen as ‘avant-garde’ on the runway, (or for a photo shoot, like in the picture below) it doesn’t really work in the real world.

How are you supposed to wear a sheer dress without showing more than you wanted, or showing more than everyone else wants to see, and then subsequently being arrested for indecent exposure?

Sheer dresses can create very stylish outfits, but there’s nothing stylish about public nudity. So in this article, we’re going to guide you through what to wear under a sheer dress so that you can wear one and have everyone looking at you for all the right reasons!


What To Consider When Wearing A Sheer Dress

When styling a sheer dress, it’s easy to get it wrong. Even Kendall Jenner had a sheer miss-step. She wore a crystal-studded totally sheer gown to the 2021 Met Gala and it looked stunning… and then she turns around.

A thong? Really? But hey, it’s Kendall Jenner.

She could wear a garbage bag and everyone would say it’s fantastic (and it probably would look fantastic on her, too.)

Except we’re not all Kendall Jenner and the ‘adoring public’ isn’t usually so kind to those of us who are not billionaires or Victoria’s Secret supermodels.

So this is for the rest of us looking to wear a sheer dress the right way – here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • You don’t necessarily have to match the undergarments to your dress. But if you are going for just the ‘bra and underwear look’, it will help to make them look less like bra and underwear and more a part of a cohesive ensemble.
  • Of course not all sheer dresses are alike. And for some, looking like you are wearing nothing, but at the same time also exposing nothing, can be just as chic and stylish if you do it right. In this case, nude undergarments are perfect. 
  • Choose opaque undergarments. Sheer under sheer completely defeats the purpose and you may as well not wear any if you’re going to do that.
  • Go for coverage. Thong underwear or super cleavage with a sheer dress is just too much. You want to look sexy, but tasteful and elegant, not like you have a record for solicitation. When you wear a sheer dress, it’s already sassy, daring, and sexy. Keep the rest of the outfit a little more modest to maintain a balance.
  • If your sheer dress is plain sheer fabric, you can go for some texture with the undergarments, like (opaque) lace or embroidery. Likewise, if your sheer dress has a lot of embellishments or texture, stick with smooth, plain undergarments.
  • Go for seamless undergarments if you are wearing a very fitted dress. Underwear lines are not okay, regardless of how sheer or opaque your dress is.

Don’t worry, we’ll show you some examples of sheer dresses worn right and how to put these looks together, so keep reading!


What Color To Wear Under A Sheer Dress

There are no hard and fast rules about what color undergarments to wear under a sheer dress, but we have a few styling tips:

If you are going for a very casual look, it doesn’t really matter what color you wear under your sheer dress. Feel free to experiment with different colors and have some fun.

For a dressier look, with a totally sheer dress, that’s to say one that has very little pattern or embellishments, it’s best to stick with undergarments that are the same color as the dress.

This goes back to the first point of making your outfit look cohesive. The exception is if you are wearing a slip or a mini dress underneath, in which case don’t be afraid to add a pop of color!

If you have a sheer dress that’s not totally sheer, has sheer sections, or has a lot of texture, then try nude-colored undergarments. They won’t compete with the dress.

Just remember, ‘nude’ undergarments should be as close to your skin color as possible.


What To Wear Under A Sheer Dress

You have LOTS of options of things to wear under a sheer dress, but wearing nothing is not one of them.

We are going to show you how to create some different looks with sheer dresses as well as some mix-and-match undergarments that will have you rocking your sheer dress, looking stylish and fashion-forward.

1. Regular Clothes

Credit: Instagram / shoptobi

First of all, no one said you have to wear underwear, or that you need to be risqué, or that you need to look like you’re naked under the dress.

If you are going for a casual look, a pair of shorts and a bandeau top or a sporty, cropped tank can work! If you are going casual then you can really wear anything under a sheer dress. 

Here’s how you can put this look together:

Sheer Dress Look 1-1 Sheer Dress Look 1-2 Sheer Dress Look 1-3 Sheer Dress Look 1-4
MakeMeChic Women's Swimsuit Cover Ups Beach Swimwear See Through Sheer Mesh Dress Star Black L
MakeMeChic Women's Swimsuit Cover Ups Beach Swimwear See Through Sheer Mesh Dress Star Black L
See through, short sleeve, sheer mesh, round neck, t-shirt style short dress.; Fabric has some stretch
$22.99
SheIn Women's Basic Plain Spaghetti Strap Tube Crop Cami Top Rose Red Large
SheIn Women's Basic Plain Spaghetti Strap Tube Crop Cami Top Rose Red Large
Material: 92% Cotton, 8% Spandex; Cotton fabric is very stretchy, soft and comfory; Casual, basic and sexy style, looks cute with shorts, skirts jeans

2. A Full Slip

Credit: Instagram / suityourself_fashions

This is a perfect undergarment for a looser, more flowing style of sheer dress. If you are not comfortable with the idea of showing too much skin but love the breezy, look and feel of a sheer dress, then a full slip is the perfect option for you.

Now when we say “full slip”, that’s just as opposed to a half slip, which is the bottom part only.

A full slip should always be shorter than the hem of even the shortest dress. A short full slip will look great with midi dress and long sheer dresses, too!

A full slip should always be shorter than the hem of even the shortest dress.

Here’s how you can put this look together:

Sheer Dress Look 2-1 Sheer Dress Look 2-2
EaseWay Women's Basic Adjustable Spaghetti Strap Cami Under Mini Dress White
EaseWay Women's Basic Adjustable Spaghetti Strap Cami Under Mini Dress White
Fabric: 95% Rayon / 5% Spandex; Features: Spaghetti strap, pull on closure, soft, lightweight and stretchy material
$15.99

3. Half Slip and Cami

Credit: Instagram / modadetaylar

A camisole paired with a short half slip is a great option for a sheer dress.  For all of you ladies who are larger than an A-cup, do yourselves a favor and go for a cami with at least a shelf bra.

It will save you from either bouncing around or having to wear an additional bra underneath.

Because you are essentially wearing your undergarments as ‘outerwear’ (because everyone can see them), you don’t have any clothes to hide behind.

This is why shapewear is awesome, especially for a sheer dress. It’ll have everything tucked neatly away and have you feeling confident to strut your stuff.

Here’s how you can put this look together:

Sheer Dress Look 3-1 Sheer Dress Look 3-2 Sheer Dress Look 3-3
Sale
Floerns Women's Sheer Mesh Dress Beach Swimwear See Through Cover Ups A Black L
Floerns Women's Sheer Mesh Dress Beach Swimwear See Through Cover Ups A Black L
Fabric has no stretchy,soft and breathable fabric; Garment Care:Machine or hand wash, do not bleach
$23.99
Sale
Maidenform Women’s Half Slip Fajas Shapewear DM0702
Maidenform Women’s Half Slip Fajas Shapewear DM0702
SMARTCOMFORT NO-PINCH BAND – Stays put and helps prevent rolling and digging.
$12.87

4. Bustier and Shapewear Briefs

Credit: Instagram / sistermidnightvtg

Before the Kardashians, Madonna was the style icon that everyone looked to for fashion. She made the bustier famous and acceptable as outerwear. It’s a great item to pair with a sheer dress. Lace edged shapewear briefs and a matching belt complete the look.

Here’s how you can put this look together:

Sheer Dress Look 4-1 Sheer Dress Look 4-2 Sheer Dress Look 4-3 Sheer Dress Look 4-4
Sale
Flexees Women's Floral Lace Strapless Push-Up Bustier, Black, 34DD
Flexees Women's Floral Lace Strapless Push-Up Bustier, Black, 34DD
Beautiful floral lace bottom cups and center panel; Boning for support; Built-in strapless push-up underwire bra (no straps included)
$39.44
Sale
Bali womens Firm Control With Lace Dfx054 2-pack shapewear briefs, Black/Black, Large US
Bali womens Firm Control With Lace Dfx054 2-pack shapewear briefs, Black/Black, Large US
CONVENIENT 2-PACK – Includes a set of two shaping lace-trim briefs for added value.
$16.99
Ophestin Womens Sexy Sheer Mesh Ruched Solid Short Sleeve Maxi Dress Cover Up Black Size XXXL
Ophestin Womens Sexy Sheer Mesh Ruched Solid Short Sleeve Maxi Dress Cover Up Black Size XXXL
Women's Sexy See Through Mesh Maxi Party Dress Beach Coverups Clubwear for Summer
$29.99
Lady's Vintage Wide Stretch Waist Belt Waistband, Black (Cl0413-1), Medium
Lady's Vintage Wide Stretch Waist Belt Waistband, Black (Cl0413-1), Medium
High stretchy; Metal buckle fastening, easy to wear and remove; Shapes your waist well, Suitable for your formal or casual wear in any season
$13.99

5. Bra and Panties

So naturally, you’d think a bra and panties would be probably the most obvious choice. Fair enough. However, if you are just wearing your regular underwear and bra, it’s not as bad as going out with nothing on underneath, but it’s almost just as bad. Not just from a modesty standpoint, but also a fashion perspective.

When you style any outfit, it needs to look like it was intentional – that everything you see is a part of the cohesive outfit. Otherwise, you’ll just look like you were in a rush to leave the house and forgot to put clothes on underneath. Or maybe you had no idea what to wear with your sheer dress so you opted for nothing.

Your standard bra and panties are not supposed to be outerwear. They are intimate apparel that the general public should not be privy to.

A sheer dress is not supposed to make other people feel like they’ve suddenly developed X-Ray vision and can now see your underwear through your clothes.

The undergarments should look like part of the outfit – like they are meant to be seen… because they are meant to be seen.

So when opting for the bra-underwear look under a sheer dress, you can’t just go for any old bra and panties you wear every day under your regular clothes.

There are bras and underwear that will work with a sheer dress!

Credit: Instagram / kweenlovemarie

Stick with high-waisted, butt cheek covering underwear. For the bra, opt for a plain bandeau bra or any bra that offers some coverage. You don’t want to be heavy on the cleavage if you are already wearing a sheer dress.

Any of the following bra styles will work well with a sheer dress.

Sheer Dress Look 5-1 Sheer Dress Look 5-2 Sheer Dress Look 5-3 Sheer Dress Look 5-4 Sheer Dress Look 5-5 Sheer Dress Look 5-6 Sheer Dress Look 5-7

Here is an example of a bra and underwear look with bikini briefs working with a sheer dress.

Credit: Instagram / tashhill70

The reason that this works is because of her dress. The ruffles that go from around her waist and all the way down break up the sheerness of the dress. If this dress didn’t have those ruffles, it would just look like she forgot to put a slip on.


All Sheer Is Not Your Only Option

If having to get special undergarments just so you can wear a sheer dress in public seems like a bit too much trouble, not to worry. You can always save yourself the hassle and get a sheer dress that already has the undergarments either sewn right in or come as separate pieces with the dress!

Here are just a few that don’t require any special, separate undergarments.

Sheer Dress Combo 1 Sheer Dress Combo 2 Sheer Dress Combo 3 Sheer Dress Combo 4 Sheer Dress Combo 5 Sheer Dress Combo 6 Sheer Dress Combo 7
Sale
ECHOINE Women's Sexy Off Shoulder Bodysuit Mesh See Through Long Sleeve Sheer Overlay Club Midi Dress Black M
ECHOINE Women's Sexy Off Shoulder Bodysuit Mesh See Through Long Sleeve Sheer Overlay Club Midi Dress Black M
Style:Sexy Bodysuit and Club Midi Dress; Occasion:club,night out, party,cocktail,outdoor,vacation, holidays
$19.88
Sexy Sheer Mesh Ruched Midi Bodycon Party Thumb Hole Dress Set for Women Clubwear S Wine Red
Sexy Sheer Mesh Ruched Midi Bodycon Party Thumb Hole Dress Set for Women Clubwear S Wine Red
Material: Polyester and Spandex. Lightweight and stretchy fabric, comfortable to wear.
$22.99
Women's Elegant Embroidered Sheer Mesh Flounce Short Sleeve Overlay Lace Midi Dress
Women's Elegant Embroidered Sheer Mesh Flounce Short Sleeve Overlay Lace Midi Dress
Button closure,3/4 puff sleeves / long sleeves; Midi/Maxi length,A-line,Fit and flare design
$59.98
SheIn Women's Sleeveless Mesh Sheer Bodycon Overlay Club Party Ruched Tank Dress Dark Green X-Small
SheIn Women's Sleeveless Mesh Sheer Bodycon Overlay Club Party Ruched Tank Dress Dark Green X-Small
92% polyester + 8% spandex, fabric touches comfortable, pls noted without underwear; Mesh sheer see through, sleeveless, short dress, tank, ruched dresses for cocktail
$39.99
ZAFUL Women's Sleeveless Spaghetti Strap Mesh Panel Slinky Asymmetrical Corset Bustier Dress(CC-Black, S)
ZAFUL Women's Sleeveless Spaghetti Strap Mesh Panel Slinky Asymmetrical Corset Bustier Dress(CC-Black, S)
Material: 100%Polyester; soft and comfortable; fabric stretch: High stretch.
$15.99

Conclusion

You don’t have to shy away from sheer dresses, but be sure to pair them with the right undergarments to make sure you are covered in all the right places.

The trick with a sheer dress is to stay tactically covered, even when your dress is revealing. That way, you can relax because you feel secure and confident that you look great, showing enough, without showing too much.

Written by Kayla Young

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