Women over 50 with colorful style

Colorful Style: 5 Ways How to Wear a Sheer Top

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I’ve come up with 5 ways of how to wear a sheer top that may not be on your radar. I always love the idea of sheer pieces to add a bit of drama to an outfit. Yet I found myself always wearing them the same way, over another top.
Once I started playing around in my closet and using the idea that layering can be done over AND under other clothing items, I found many more options.

Ideas of How to Wear a Sheer Top
1-Wear the sheer over another top
2-Layer the sheer over a dress
3-Have the sheer top under a blazer
4-Wear the sheer under a vest
5-Layer two tops

Quote of the day: “Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliche about ‘teaching you how to think’ is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.” David Foster Wallace

Teaching you to think is the basis for so many of my posts. Sure, you can buy the same items and copy a look from anyone. But wouldn’t it be more beneficial to learn the ways to make your wardrobe work harder for you?

That was the idea when I posted 3 different blog posts about learning to shop your closet:
Shop Your Closet Series: Practical Ideas for Mixing Colors
Shop Your Closet Secrets: Mix Up Your Wardrobe
Unconventional Ways to Shop Your Closet

I’ve incorporated not only different ways to layer with this theme, but I also worked in various color combinations. Hopefully, it will give you ideas of how to wear a sheer top in more ways than one which is not only good for the wallet but also sustainable.

I divided the ideas into how to wear a sheer top over and then under other items to make it easier to digest.

How to Wear a Sheer Top OVER Other Items

Layering over a non-sheer item is how I always think to style my sheer pieces. I’ll give 2 examples of this method.

For these examples, I wore a black sheer top with embroidery and an ivory sheer top. Even though I rarely wear black, I just loved the flower embroidery on this sheer top. BTW, this top did not come with a camisole.

Insider tip: If you don’t love adding accessories to an outfit, choose tops that are already decorated like this one to give the look personality.

The details about the ivory, polka dot sheer blouse are that there are attached ties in the front of the neck (you can see how I tied them when I first bought it). After playing around with the top, I ended up cutting out the label at the neck so I could wear it backward too. That’s why you don’t see the ties in many of the photos.

Insider tip: If you do cut out a label yet want to have it for reference later, you can try to sew it on a different seam. For a sheer top, that is difficult, but you could hide it at the bottom seam if you would always be covering the hem by tucking it in or layering over it.

1-Wear the Sheer Over Another Top

Black sheer top over a black tee
Joggers: Naomi & Ruth Online Boutique ~~ Sheer Top: From Nordstroms~~ Top Underneath: LOFT ~~ Shoes: Naot c/o

Wearing your sheer top over another non-sheer piece is the most conventional way to wear it. In fact, many sheer items are sold with a camisole or shirt to wear in this way.

Insider tip: If your sheer top comes with a camisole or top, DON’T hang or store them together. You can wear them separately and you will remember they were purchased together if you want to pair them. This helps your brain find more variety in your closet.

The joggers are a silky material that seems more unique to me. And the day was spent walking around a home and garden show, so I needed very comfortable shoes. This pair of sneakers is from the company Naot which includes arch support in their shoes.

Other times I’ve worn this black sheer top:
Wearing Leopard Coats for Dress Up This time it was layered over an eggplant-colored dress.
Styling Your White Button-Down Shirt as a Jacket I wore it over a light-colored top this time.

2-Layer the Sheer Over a Dress

How to wear a sheer top over a dress
Dress: Banana Republic-thrifted~~ Sheer Top: Banana Republic Factory~~ Shoes: thrifted~~ Scarf: ~~ Brooch:

Wearing a sheer top over a dress is the same concept as wearing it over a top. This time your “top” is connected to a skirt.

The advantage of this is your sheer top acts as a jacket or cardigan to give the dress another layer.

The disadvantage is you may feel that the look is unfinished with the hem of the sheer top just hanging over the dress. I wore it this way on our Caribbean cruise for one of my dinner outfits and didn’t mind the shirt hanging out this way.
However, it is all dependent on what the hem of the top looks like and how long it is.

There are ways you can cover the hem of the top. This works with any top you want to layer over a dress.
1-Add a scarf as a belt as I did in the above photo.
2-A thick belt will do the same trick.
3-If you only have a thinner belt, you can position it up higher on your body and blossom the top over it.
4-Use a hand-dandy, clear elastic to pull the hem together in a knot.

I took the ties of the sheer blouse and created a “scarf” around my neck that I secured with a brooch.

How to Wear a Sheer Top OVER Other Items

If you are anything like me, using the sheer top as the underneath layer was something I had never thought of when I first put together looks. I’m sure part of it is because I lean toward a more modest type of dressing, but I found that the right layers over the sheer item make it perfectly discreet.

3-How to Wear a Sheer Top Under a Blazer

Sheer top under a jacket
Jeans: Kancan ~~ Jacket: from Uncommon Closet-an online consignment shop ~~ Sheer top: Banana Republic Factory~~ Boots: Cecelia New York- won in a giveaway~~ Purse: From the Las Vegas airport

There are blazers that barely need a top under them in order for you to feel covered. This is a perfect time to add your sheer top if it can just peek out a little to be admired but still create a modest look.

I wore my turtleneck sheer blouse under a print blazer with black jeans and metallic ankle boots.

Insider tip: I routinely wear a machine-washable t-shirt under any of my blazers even if they don’t peek out. This works great under any dry clean pieces to save money and wear and tear on those items. The less you wash or dry clean your blazers, the longer they last.

4-Wear the Sheer Top Under a Vest

How to wear a sheer top under a vest
Jeans: Dear John ~~ Vest: I knitted it~~ Sheer top: Banana Republic Factory~~ Earrings: Mariposa Skies~~ Hat: thrifted

You saw this outfit in our sweater vest post recently. The advantage of wearing it under a vest instead of a blazer is you can see the beautiful sleeves.

For this example, as you can see in the sweater vest post, I tucked the ties under my vest so they were hidden.

The sweater vest is one that I hand-knit many years ago. Even though it’s a pastel colorway, I tried to give it a fall vibe by adding in brown corduroy jeans and a dark hat.

5-How to Wear a Sheer Top Modestly-Layer Two Tops

Any top could be a layer you put over your sheer one. Just think of all of the sleeveless and short-sleeved tops in your closet that could act as a “vest.”

This idea isn’t much different than when the original trio showed ideas of wearing a turtleneck under another top. For that idea, I showcased the turtleneck under a sleeveless top and mom wore her turtleneck under a short sleeve top.
It’s a great reminder that layering can work in all different kinds of ways.

Insider tip: This is why it’s good to stop “categorizing” our clothing. Too many times when we call an item a certain word, then we have trouble thinking of it in other ways.
This is also a great way to get more wear from your “summer” tops

For this outfit, I layered the sheer blouse under a lime green, lace top. I wore black jeans to make it seem less summery and matched my footwear to my top.
This example is incorporating a lot of texture with the lace top and sheer top together. I also showed the side view so you can see how I let the ties of the blouse hang down my back.

How to Wear a Sheer Top Your Way

I hope this post about how to wear a sheer top both OVER and UNDER other pieces from your closet gives you ideas of how to make this work for you.
My goal is always to inspire you to have fun with what you already have in your closet. Sure it’s fun to purchase a new thing here or there, but I bet you already have items in your wardrobe to make many of these concepts useful.

I always love to hear your thoughts and even your favorite looks. Remember just because I used a certain color or extra accessories to make the overall look tailored for my maximal approach, doesn’t mean yours will look the same.

The best part about our personal style is how it is “Personal” meaning it fits you and your personality, and nobody else’s style!!

5 ways how to wear a sheer top

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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