See-through shirts are all over the place right now, with brands such as Eckhaus Latta, CMMN SWDN, and Our Legacy all turning to translucent materials in their latest collections.
Whereas most trends can be traced back to another point in time (tie-dye in the ’60s, for example), the sudden abundance of sheer fabrics feels like new ground for menswear. Along with the rise and acceptance of men’s heels and men’s purses, see-through shirts sit neatly with the new wave of androgynous fashion. And the best part is their summer practicality.
So what is the best way to wear a sheer shirt? You have options, depending on how comfortable you feel baring your arms and torso. Many would argue that the point of clothing is to cover up, so being presented with a see-through shirt can be intimidating, but the key is balancing the new levels of exposure with the rest of your outfit.
Brands such as New York City’s BODE have worked with a delicate sheer fabric inspired by Indian textiles to create a yellow daisy shirt with embroidered flowers arranged over the front and back — think Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy era, but make it see-through. The boxy fit could be styled with simple black straight-leg pants and sandals such as Birkenstocks or Prada nylon straps.
The more transparent your shirt becomes, the more thought you need to put into the rest of the outfit to keep things neutral. The semi-see-through Luka shirt by GmbH in turquoise nylon could be matched tonally with a pair of greenwash cargo pants, light blue denim jeans, or even a pair of the label’s vinyl trousers from its SS19 collection. Note the longer fit at the waist, which would need to be balanced out with a slightly higher-waisted pant.
Other options let you be a little more dramatic, a la Harry Styles at the Met Gala, who wore a black sheer shirt by Gucci with lace sleeves and a pussycat bow at the front. This look could be easily recreated (and toned down accordingly — after all, not every occasion calls for a Met Gala ’fit) using something like the Totokaelo Morgan shirt, which is made using black voile, with a straight yoke and pointed collar. Pair this with a smart pair of black pants and shiny black patent Dr. Martens, such as those from the English brand’s recent collaboration with fragment design.
If you want to get in on transparent style without showing skin, Our Legacy’s Pre-Spring 2020 lookbook highlighted ways to style sheer fabrics as a layering piece, letting you show off a pop of color or a graphic T-shirt underneath. The new collection includes a gray organza bomber and even a transparent organza piece to layer over your pants, too.