So far in 2023, red carpets have seen their fair share of almost entirely transparent dresses—think Florence Pugh’s most memorable Valentino moments. You may be wondering, why are ‘naked’ dresses having a moment? Imagine if the no pants trend had a sophisticated older cousin, that would be this. Equal parts sheer, playful and eye-catching, almost-see-through dresses have been making a serious impression as of late, and let’s just say, we’re here for it.
Everyone from Doja Cat and Emily Ratajkowski to Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner has been seen in the style, but these see-through outfits aren’t just for celebrities. While it might not look like it on the surface, these dresses are actually quite accessible. Here are our favourite looks à la naked dress trend to sport as the weather gets warmer.
Though this classic Kylie photoshoot looks as though it was casually taken on a couch, the outfit is giving anything but loungewear. Jenner shared her take on the naked look trend with a sheer, long-sleeve dress and a beige bra underneath. While we weren’t able to source the exact dress, you can follow in the beauty billionaire’s fashionable footsteps by pairing an almost-see-through top with a micro-mesh skirt. Complete the ensemble with your favourite bralette, of course.
Emily Ratajkowski has also naturally put her own spin on the naked dress trend. Take this look, for instance. She pairs a sheer corset with an asymmetrical, patterned skirt and white strappy sandals. Even if you aren’t vacationing in Miami like the High Low podcast host, you’re bound to emulate Y2K chic in this summer fit.
Back to Miss Jenner. I love this look, but if you’re searching for something a little bit more casual, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. All you’re going to need is a sheer dress, a timeless corset and your favourite pair of heels. Oh, and don’t forget the floral hair clip, of course. You’ll look just like one of the iconic Jean Paul Gaultier girlies.
Okay, so this look might not be from 2023, but it easily could be—and I think including Kate Moss means I’m not cheating. I’m all for bringing back Moss’ barely-there style with this look-a-like slip dress (and standout panties, of course!). Can’t imagine yourself wearing this to a party or the pub? Try it out as a chic beach cover-up instead, or opt for a more opaque design, such as the one we’ve listed below.
Last, but certainly not least, is a standout fit from none other than Kim Kardashian herself. The SKIMS CEO recently wore this sheer suit to the TIME100 Gala and it couldn’t help but remind us of the naked dress trend. The menswear set has been given a feminine update, thanks to the delicate see-through fabric, minimalist bandeau worn as a top and glitzy (but simple) accessories. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the trend without fully committing to a transparent ensemble, you could even wear the trousers with an opaque tee, or vice versa. The choices are endless.
Actress and national treasure Florence Pugh has been making waves in the acting industry and is now considered one of Hollywood’s most hotly-anticipated red carpet attendees. With the help of stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray, the 27-year-old went from being a relatively niche Brit actress to a high-flying risk taker. Even when it comes to her clothes, Pugh is certainly not afraid to make strong statements. And tackling the pressures of Hollywood and its ideals of beauty has become that bit more transparent—pun intended.
At the start of her career, Pugh played it somewhat safe with her style. It wasn’t until 2020 that the Oscar-nominated actress began to truly develop her red carpet confidence.
In a moment of what can only be described as teenage angst, Pugh showed up to a film premiere in 2021 with hot pink dip-dyed locks. Only shortly later, the actress went as far as to chop it all off.
Fast-forward a few short months and Pugh had hard-launched her septum piercing on Instagram, recalling the moment and admitting: “When you wanna be a cool grown up and get a new piercing and you instantly fail, go green and then faint.” Give or take a medical emergency, Pugh was officially in her glam-rock era.
As the lead in Don’t Worry Darling (DWD), Pugh chose not to be swept up in the media circus and countless conspiracies that came with the film and its chaos of a press tour. This mature approach was also reflected in her style.
Skipping the DWD press conference at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival, Pugh nonchalantly arrived in the floating city, Aperol Spritz in hand, in a violet Valentino loungewear-esque co-ord. By then, her creative relationship with Pierpaolo Piccioli, Creative Director at Valentino, was in full swing.
At the premiere itself, Pugh undoubtedly stole the show and avoided any mention of conflict with her co-stars—always an unproblematic queen. Wearing a voluminous sheer black and sequined playsuit with a matching train, the actress took to the red carpet with her grandmother, more affectionately known as “Granzo Pat.”
Having already dabbled in all-things sheer, Pugh continued the year in full transparent mode.. During the Valentino Paris FW23 show, she dressed down a bedazzled sheer Valentino skirt with a grey cropped crew-neck sweater.
Fans’ most favourite daring look however has to be from Pugh’s appearance on the iconic Spanish Steps in Rome during Valentino’s couture show in July 2022. The actress donned a stunning sheer gown in the fashion house’s signature Pink PP shade and completely blew netizens away.
Unfortunately for the Little Women actress, she was subjected to an influx of criticism from online body shamers for exposing her nipples in the gown. Pugh confronted the often-anonymous trolls and stated, “So many of you let me know how disappointed you were by my ‘tiny tits,’ or how I should be embarrassed by being so ‘flat chested.’ I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and am not scared of it.” Pugh concluded by including the hashtag #fuckingfreethefuckingnipple.
Receiving support from her peers, including the likes of Kate Hudson and Nicola Coughlan, Pugh proudly took her body out of her haters’ hands and back into her own. And it certainly paid off.
Bridgerton actor, Regé-Jean Page, shared Pugh’s post to his own Instagram Story to call out men’s oppressive and backwards-thinking response to her iconic look. “Take a look at your mates and step up when it’s time to step up. When the boys are out of line, have a word.” He went on to add, “The weird thing about misogyny is men actually listen to other men.”
Even in attempts to reclaim our bodies, it is still beyond women’s control. So, can sheer fashion stop the unsolicited sexualisation of women’s bodies?
The sheer aesthetic has been bubbling below the surface for a while but during the most recent fashion month, it dominated the runways. Emily Ratajkowski and Janelle Monáe jumped on the trend at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party. Meanwhile, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar balanced her America’s Sweetheart title reputation with a hint of sexy in a sheer lace mini dress worn over black lingerie.
Trend forecaster, Jessica Richards, puts the rise of sheer down to a political response to Roe v Wade. In January 2022, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade, and with it, women in the US were stripped of their right to safe abortion. In displaying their bodies so overtly, women are reclaiming their right to bodily autonomy.
On 17 January, Meta’s Oversight Board—which consists of a team of expert journalists, academics and politicians—recommended that the media platform reconsider its restrictions on female nipple censorship.
The board raised the case that such double standards could be damaging for women, trans individuals and non-binary people, and pose a threat to their freedom of expression. Nipples have always been taboo despite the fact that we all have them.
Pugh remains close with the Valentino team, while also collaborating with the fashion designers Harris Reed and Nina Ricci. One thing is for sure, Pugh won’t rest until the policing of women’s bodies is back in our control. How could we not stan?