Runway to Realway. Summer 2012 Trend: Sheer and Sheer Alike.

Temperatures are climbing as we edge closer and closer to summer. And suddenly, the wintry wools, tweeds and cashmeres that we’ve been bogged down with are obsolete. Enter the breathy fresh air of lightweight fabrics, and for 2012, the chance to get a little sheer. Sheer pieces are a common trend to show up on the spring runways, billowing by in weightless cloud. But this year saw a surge of sheer-ranging from neutrals to a rainbow of colors, and from minimal to highly embellished- and we can’t wait to give the trend a try!
The key in wearing the sheer trend is to “skirt” the way it can come off as too revealing. Many runways featured sheer pieces with nothing underneath, which is not quite appropriate for everyday wear! Luckily, there are plenty of options to give a little peek without getting too peek-a-boo. The sheer maxi skirt, for one, is an instant must-have for summer – voluminous, yet lightweight and providing the right amount of modesty. Emilio Pucci, ever the king of patterns, trotted out a black beaded version with swirls of paisleys, perfect for “dressy” beachwear. Obey’s “Sheer Madness” skirt is a simple but elegant alternative that inspires visions of street fests and outdoor concerts.
If you choose to shy away from black for the summer (and many of us do), pluck out a sheer piece in a fresh, summery white. The only thing to remember when perusing your option of white sheer is that the color can be naturally see through. Sheer panels or pieces with a built-in undergarment will always be your best bets to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. Philip Lim, the master of modern and architectural fashion, showed off strategically placed stripes on a sheer white blouse. Simple, but incredibly innovative. And using that same idea, led us to Diane von Furstenberg’s sheer overlay blouse which, with a perfectly placed tank underneath, can double as a weekend staple and be dressed up for work!
Color, as we mentioned, is a key component in the latest crop of sheer. An artfully cut piece in a colored sheer fabric can be the epitome of chic. But finding an option that’s ill-fitting or sloppy will end up looking cheap. We were inspired by this cotton candy-colored jacket created by Jason Wu. It’s the essence of spring with it’s girly color and sense of movement. As an alternate option, we turned to minimalism guru, Jil Sander, who understands the delicacy of cut in sheer outerwear. Her pink cover-up provides a little more coverage, but can simply make a memorable outfit when thrown over a LBD.
Finally, we come to the power of pants. Sheer pants are mostly for the fashion risk-takers, though that are willing to take a chance. Because some sheer pants can come off as pajamas, we say find ones that fit well when choosing your sheer pants. But also,  go big or go home. Finding a fun little pattern in your sheers provide a little more dimension to the wispy fabrics. Tess Giberson’s immaculately styled spring runway brimmed with sheer tops and bottoms, but a standout was her patterned pants. With a pattern that looked almost as an allusion, they provided subtlety but also a sense of depth. As a more reasonable option, we fell for these sassy snake-printed palazzo pants, courtesy of GUESS. Pairing them with a simple neutral on top and a bile of bangles make an insta-outfit for a fun and unexpected night out. With pants like these, you don’t know where the night will take you.
Summer is a time to shake off the weight from the cold weather season. So as the heat rolls in, treat yourself to some sheer pieces – one of the only summer trends that makes you look hot while staying cool!
1. Sheer Maxi Skirt
Runway: Emilio Pucci Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Obey Sheer Madness Skirt, now $59
2. Sheer Blouse
Runway: Philip Lim Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Diane Von Furstenberg Karin Shirt, $312
3. Sheer Jacket
Runway: Jason Wu Spring Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Jil Sander Violet Long Sheer Silk Coat, now $660
4. Sheer Printed Pants
Runway: Tess Giberson Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: GUESS? Pants Serpentine Snakeskin-Print Sheer Palazzo, $98
– Alia Rajput
Runway Photos: NY Mag
Image Layout: Second City Style

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