The Best Sheer Dresses and How to Style Them In Real Life

What? Like it's hard?

Sheer dresses
(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

If the thought of wearing something sheer has you intrigued but scared and, ultimately, confused, you've come to the right place. You see, it's really not that difficult to wear this won't-I-feel-totally-naked look. If there's anything we've learned from the street style crowd and celebrities on the red carpet, it's that the see-through ensemble is doable—and chic. You just need to be smart about the undergarments and clothing items you select to wear underneath. Not surprisingly, finding those layering pieces requires some internet sleuthing. (Don't ask me how long it took to find the below beige bodysuit with plunging neckline. You're welcome.)

Since we could all probably use a little help determining how to wear transparent dresses in real life, I've gone ahead and dreamt up five sheer yet totally wearable outfits. They range from a work-appropriate ensemble (sheer to the office, daring!) to a definitely NSFW party look. Hopefully, this convinces you to buy that sheer dress you've been eyeing because, yes, you can 100-percent pull it off.

1. Vacation Ready

Vacation Ready

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

Baby steps: Try the see-through dress/tunic look at the beach first, if you're not ready for the streets. No one will be staring as everyone's already striped down to their skivvies. This lightweight embroidered dress from Zara goes on easily over a bikini or one-piece swimsuit. You won't have to worry about steaming this piece while on vacay either, as it has natural worn-in wrinkles. Pair with a woven beach bag and your comfiest sandals and you're ready to head straight to souvenir shopping.

Shop the pieces: 1. Zara tunic, $902. Marysia scallop bikini top, $1653. Marsia scallop bikini bottom, $1504. Jadetribe basket tote, $1985. Alias Mae sandals, $170

2. Party Time

Party Time

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

The inspiration for this outfit comes from models like Kendall Jenner and Elsa Hosk, who love to wear sheer gowns to glamorous parties. This dress stands out thanks to all the sequins and embellishments (hold the disco ball, please). All you need is a beige bodysuit underneath—with a plunging neckline to match the dress—and a pair of heels made for dancing. Go bold or go home, right?

Shop the pieces: 1. LoveShackFancy sequin tulle dress, $8252. Free People bodysuit, $303. Gorjana stud earrings, $324. Sondra Roberts clutch, $1605. Schutz heel, $180

3. Office Approved

Office Approved

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

This eyelet dress comes with a detachable slip, which means you can turn that modest charm on or off depending on your mood. For the office, you probably want to wear this dress with the lining, but on the weekends, let your favorite undergarments peek through the design. (It won't be as noticeable as you think if you wear white.) Let this be your go-to little white dress for summer.

Shop the pieces: 1. Aritzia dress, $178; 2. True & Co. bralette, $323. True & Co. underwear, $16; 4. Serpui Marie fish clutch, $2995. BaubleBar resin hoops, $36; 6. Steven Greece slides, $79

4. Made for Street-Style Photos

Made for Street-Style Photos

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

Don't forget: You can absolutely wear regular clothes underneath a sheer number. If a bodysuit and denim jeans is your favorite type of outfit, all you have to do is layer this silk organza dress on top. It'll add dimension and intrigue to your everyday outfit. Plus, the all-black is perfect if that's your color palette year-round.

Shop the pieces: 1. Rodebjer floral print dress, $6452. Wolford bodysuit, $1953. DSTLD skinny jeans, $854. Mango bucket bag, $805. Botkier mules, $138

5. Weekend Vibes

Weekend Vibes

(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

This minidress looks great over a bikini, and can be re-worked for day-to-day activities with a bandeau bralette and denim shorts. Think of it as an extra layer on top of your summer outfit. Complete your look with tangy orange accessories like a pair of slides and beaded bag to show off your good mood. This ensemble deserves an Instagram #OOTD.

Shop the pieces: 1. Onia minidress, $245; 2. Commando bandeau bra, $58; 3. Rag & Bone shorts, $1954. Loeffler Randall beaded bag, $2955. Maryam Nassir Zadeh slides, $410


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Marina Liao
Fashion Editor

Marina Liao is the former fashion news editor at, where she covered celebrity style (from Meghan Markle to Katie Holmes), fashion trends, and shopping advice, plus conducted original interviews with industry insiders. She's also had many opportunities to write content in other areas such as beauty, food, tech, and even home. Her previous fashion stints include POPSUGAR and Cosmopolitan.