Peek-A-Boo: The Power Of Sheer Clothing

By: Ina Joseph

When it comes to clothing, the idea of baring it all used to terrify me. I wasn’t necessarily ashamed of my body. However, I believed putting it out there for the world to see would somehow make me ashamed of it. In a society full of unrealistic and narrow beauty standards, I assumed every other girl felt the same way. But by the end of freshman year, that idea had been bulldozed.

I noticed the resurgence of a trend only last spring when Urban Outfitters came out with a their colorful new line: Mesh Shimmer Tees. Almost every girl on the BU campus started sporting the sheer top with cute bralettes or cropped camis. I’ve never had the best relationship with my body or my self image, so the thought of barely-there clothing gaining prominence made me nervous. But one day, I realized the need to expand my “going-out” wardrobe, so I figured why not dive into this risqué undertaking. I purchased my sheer, black bodysuit from Forever21 for $15, and I immediately felt its magic.

Something about having my body simultaneously clothed and exposed was liberating. I felt unstoppable. Then, I began to wonder if this is how sheer clothing makes everyone feel. Is this outfit-empowerment a feeling unique to me or is the sentiment universal? What is it about sheer clothing that makes me feel like I can take over the world? I did not have all the answers, so I asked a few people about how they felt in their sheer ensembles and what it means to them to bare it all...almost.

“I feel more transparent, like I don’t have to hide anything. I feel empowered to not have to conform to society’s view of women’s fashion…[you can] be comfortable in your own body and be okay with it being seen even if society tells you that’s not okay. A body is a body. Nipples are nipples.”- Tatiana

“My first sheer purchase made me feel powerful and glittery.”

When asked why it makes her feel powerful: “Because it’s tasteful-sexy. Like Rihanna. It’s empowering.” - Nina

“It makes me feel like I don’t have to be naked to be sexy.” -Bianca

“Wearing something that dares whoever you meet a little bit to say something is a fun confidence exercise. You get to remind yourself to not panic just cause your titty is out because your titty is also sparkling. [Also], I feel like Kate Moss.” -Mustafa

“I absolutely love sheer clothing. Actually, a friend was talking to me about this recently and she was like ‘I love the way my boobs look in them, I feel so empowered.’ It’s true.” -Sarah

“[Sheer clothing] makes me feel sexual and confident and body positive, like I can F*CKING CONQUER THE WORLD” -Bridget

"I've had a hard time feeling comfortable in my own skin. Finding my style through specific clothing pieces was really detrimental to obtaining a higher self esteem. Sheer clothing specifically really empowered me and made me feel confident by adding a balanced touch of sexiness and edginess to my look." - Bruna (the first queen I saw rockin a Mesh Shimmer Tee in Allston one night, thus changing my world).

Warped concepts of beauty and self image often prevent us from loving our bodies. The translucent trend in fashion boldly defies this norm; who knew that showing a bit of skin could transform the way we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world? Shimmer tees and sheer body suits have a little to do with looks, but a lot to do with liberation.

Off The Cuff Magazine