Sheer BY CLAUDIA W. ESBENSHADE, Staff Writer
From top to bottom, one spring trend is clear -- sheer is in.
Whether it is on the runway during Fashion Week or at a local nightclub, showing a little skin is popular.
A peek behind the curtains at the recent Golden Globe Awards reveals actresses Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Juliana Margulies and Kerry Washington wearing partially transparent pieces on the red carpet. The racks of spring items at clothing stores reflect these styles, along with the other hot trends of sorbet-influenced colors, fun patterns and high-low hemlines (high in the front, low in the back).
But before you go wearing that sheer blouse to your next company meeting, there is a way to do sheer right -- or very wrong.
Showing a little skin is acceptable when done in a tasteful way, according to That Shuu Girl Boutique, 147 E. King St., owner Nicole Vasquez. (The name of her store is pronounced "shoo," which means a girl who looks put together and stylish, according to Vasquez.)
"You can downplay the sheer for a daytime look, or dress it up for a night out," Vasquez says. "It's a way to be sexy without showing off too much."
Designers are incorporating strategically placed solid fabric panels or see-through lace in their pieces to allow a subtle hint of skin to show through ordinary clothes. These sheer panels are found in solid and printed fabrics.
"Sheer fabrications are a feminine and flirty trend this spring," says Sofia Wacksman, vice president of Trend for Kohl's Department Stores.
The rules for the sheer look are as varied as the designs, but a top rule that should be followed is not to allow any undergarments to be seen, Vasquez says.
The days of the "exposed bra strap look" are over and women who choose to wear sheer need to invest in the proper undergarments, Vasquez says.
"You definitely don't want to see any lines or bra straps when wearing sheer," Vasquez says. "Buy a bra with clear straps or wear an adhesive bra if wearing a blouse with sheer areas."
Under a sheer blouse, bandeaus can also do the trick, offering coverage.
Another option is to wear a nude color underneath to give an illusion of skin showing through the piece. "Pair a solid sheer top with a like-colored cami to intensify the color, or try a nude-colored tank under a sheer print top for coverage that won't distract from the pattern," Wacksman says. "You can also try the reverse -- a printed or contrast-colored cami under a solid top for a fresh take on the trend."
Under that sheer skirt, don a solid miniskirt or slip on a solid slip-like dress to allow a little modesty.
Another rule to follow, according to Vasquez, is to limit the amount of sheer in the workplace.
"It can give off the wrong impression," Vasquez says. "But done tastefully, it can be pulled off in the work environment, depending on your job."
In the workplace, Vasquez suggests women wear the same color cami underneath a blouse with sheer elements or layer with a blazer to hide the sheer.
While this trend may seem geared toward the under-30 woman, older women can pull it off by wearing pieces with sheer panels that are placed in flattering areas or by disguising the sheer areas by wearing a solid piece underneath.
"If the sheer is too revealing at the neckline, wear a top underneath it that will camouflage that deep V and make the neckline appear higher," Vasquez says.
A dress with sheer fabric that overlays a proper-length hemline or showcases an older woman's d'colletage can be a proper way to wear this trend.
Be cautious not to overdo it by wearing too many sheer pieces at once, warns Glamour magazine's website, glamour.com.
One piece of sheer in an ensemble is enough, according to the site.
For plus-size women, the same rules apply. Vasquez says women with curves should think about what they want to show off and what they want to hide.
"It's all about showing your best features and being just a little flirty," Vasquez says.