How To Wear Sheer Maxi Dress

A woman in a white sheer maxi dresses
Sheer maxi dresses are bold and sexy but can be styled to accommodate more conservative women. That is what makes them versatile and necessary for each woman.

Sheer clothing is always on trend and looks fantastic on red carpets and at celebrity events. But it takes a certain level of confidence to walk around in real life with your underwear showing. To wear see-through clothes like sheer maxi dresses, you need to find a way to look chic and fashionable without being overtly (and probably inappropriately) sensual.

So if you want to wear that sheer maxi dress that’s been hanging in your closet since last year’s Golden Globes, you’re in the right place. We will show you how to style it and where to wear it so you can feel as fabulous as you will look.

When Is It Fit To Wear A Sheer Maxi Dress?

You can wear a sheer maxi dress virtually anywhere, from the club to a formal event, provided you have styled it accordingly. To determine if your styling is appropriate, you will consider the venue and event and any indicated dress code. These will help you decide how risqué or modest you can look to adhere to the etiquette of the event. Of course, how you look in a sheer maxi is determined by what you are wearing underneath (if anything), so that is what we will look at next.

What Do You Wear Under A Sheer Maxi Dress?

What you wear under a sheer maxi dress depends on where you want to wear it. For instance, if you are attending an intimate indoor dinner with your partner, lace underwear beneath your sheer dress would be perfect for adding to the romance. Alternatively, wear shorts and a tank top underneath your sheer maxi for a fun day out with your friends.

Context is critical to deciding what to wear underneath your see-through maxi. So let’s look at a few options.

Underwear Only

Many celebrities and A-list stars have led the way in wearing only underwear underneath their sheer dresses. The right underwear in the right context can create an unforgettable look, so there are a few extra things to consider in choosing your underwear.


Ensure that your underwear complements the colors of your sheer maxi. For instance, if you wear a sheer white maxi, nude-colored underwear like sticky bras and seamless underwear are great for creating that ‘naked’ look. However, your underwear can be different from your dress color. For example, you could wear a complementary color that draws attention to the dress and the underwear.


Pay attention to the cut of your dress, then decide the kind of underwear that would work, especially if you plan to have the underwear visible. For instance, a backless dress with a plunging neckline may require a bodysuit with a similar cut or a ‘barely there’ bra.


How much do you want your underwear to cover? You can wear anything from a thong and panties to a mini dress slip underneath your sheer maxi. But, again, the venue and event will help decide that. 

What Do You Wear Under A Sheer White Maxi Dress?

Sheer white maxis can be more than just dresses. There are several fun ways to style them so they are stylish, comfortable, and functional for any context. While you can wear only underwear underneath your dress, as explained above, there are many more looks you can create with your sheer white maxi dress, such as:

The Dress-Over-Pants Look

Dress-over-pants is a trendy way to add more wear to your sheer white maxi. For example, you could wear jeans or leather pants underneath your maxi, with a nude-colored bra on top. The idea is to make the dress look like a top. It’s a fun look for spending time out with your friends. 

You could also wear a bra or top that matches the color of your pants, so your sheer maxi dress acts like a cute cover-up. Another option is to wear a t-shirt or long-sleeved top over your pants, then add the sheer maxi over that outfit. It will add some character to your look while giving you a little extra coverage for colder days.

Double Dress Look

Wearing another dress underneath the sheer white maxi creates an entirely different vibe. It can tone down the maxi to make it a casual everyday look or dress it up for an important event. The dress underneath will certainly offer more coverage and comfort while wearing the sheer maxi and can be a good way to ease into wearing sheer maxis in general.

Beach Coverup

Sheer maxis, especially white ones, make fantastic beach cover-ups. You can wear shorts and your bikini top or bralette underneath the dress and enjoy your time at the beach. The advantage here is that the sheer maxi is a full dress, so you can wear it on and off the beach on those warm summer days.

How To Line A Sheer Dress

If you prefer to wear your sheer dress as a proper dress, then it is a good idea to line it. However, adding a lining to a sheer dress requires some skills with cutting patterns and using the sewing machine, so if you don’t have either of these skills, you should find someone to help you add that lining.

The first step to lining a sheer dress is finding the right fabric. Avoid heavy fabrics that will make the dress bulky and alter how it looks and moves. Instead, get lightweight fabrics that feel smooth against your skin and are lightweight. Since the dress is sheer, you could match the lining color to your skin or the dominant color of the dress. 

The amount of lining you buy should be the same as the fabric used to make the dress. For example, for a sheer maxi, you could keep the lining shorter than the dress to keep the sheer effect on your legs. If your dress has sleeves, you may also want to keep those sheer. But it is important to match the amounts of fabric to have proper coverage.

Next, trace out the original pattern used to construct the dress onto the lining. If you don’t have the pattern, use the sheer maxi to trace out the pattern, especially around the bodice and skirt. Remember to adjust the edges by 1/8th inch to keep the lining from hanging. Cut the pattern, stitch the pieces together to make a duplicate dress, and press the edges with an iron, remembering to leave that allowance.

Turn the sheer maxi inside out but keep the lining right side up as you slip it over the dress. Match the edges carefully and pin the lining to the dress all around. Stitch the lining to the dress, not directly over existing seams but 1/8th inch inside the seams. Turn the sheer dress right side out, and the lining should be straight and secure.

Wearing sheer maxi dresses requires a kind of boldness and confidence that many women may not have. Body image issues as well as modesty considerations may have some women feeling like they can never wear a sheer dress. But with these styling options, you can see that there are many ways to wear a sheer maxi, from the sultry to the conservative, without compromising on style. As such, any woman should consider having a few sheer maxi dresses in her collection.

Are sheer maxi dresses in style for 2023?

Yes, they are, based on the recent Spring 2023 fashion displays on runways. Many designers created gorgeous looks with sheer dresses, including sheer maxi dresses, which means they will be on trend for the coming Spring season.

Are maxi dresses classic?

While they have had increasing popularity in certain decades, maxi dresses have always remained popular since the 1970s. As such, they are now rated as a classic, timeless piece of women’s fashion.

Lior Shapiro

I love clothes with pockets and dresses, and I think any woman can pull off a good maxi dress.
I believe women's clothes with pockets make the world a better place.