There are some trends that I genuinely believe are for Instagram's eyes only—there's no way you'd find certain looks down at your Tesco Express. But over time something funny can happen where we can become desensitised to some of fashion's more radical ideas and no more so than when they crop up time and again on your feed looking totally and utterly doable IRL. One such trend for spring 2021? See-through clothes. Once the garms of celebrities looking to drop jaws on the red carpet now we're seeing sheer mesh tops take off like crazy, big frou-frou tulle dresses filtering into high street stores and even peekaboo chainmail have a moment in the spotlight.
The trend, although popular on social media, does have its roots in the runway: For spring/summer 2021 many designers felt the need to shed layers and modesty for the warmer (perhaps more liberated?) months ahead. As Emma Spedding reports in her catwalk roundup, there was a lightness of touch when it came to brands such as Jil Sander, Dior and ACNE Studios employing soft, see-through chiffons, tulles and organzas in their new-season collections. This is less all-out sass and more whimsical and playful, but any given trend is up for interpretation so you may well find you want to take the concept to the maximum.
For inspiration on how you can dip a toe in, I've compiled five examples of how this peekaboo detail is starting to shape up for the year. From the easy option (a big, semi-sheer blouse) to something more radical (full mesh head-to-toe look, anyone?) there are degrees of exposure you can choose from. Now go forth and be confident!
1. THE BIG SEE-THROUGH BLOUSE
When something is see-through but oversized it totally becomes more "fashion" and that little bit cooler.
See what I mean? The dramatic sleeves of Lisa's blouse combined with her sharp tailoring and great accessories make a potentially daunting trend look very chic indeed.
Organza blouses with puffed-out sleeves and pussy-bow necklines started to trend a couple of years ago but they still look just as fresh today.
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2. THE FLOUNCY DRESS
If it's like wearing a chiffon cloud then it's most likely on-trend for 2021.
This tulle H&M dress is now sold out after taking the internet by storm a few weeks back as part of the brand's latest Conscious collection, but it marks an overall shift to tulle frocks.
This vibe certainly lends itself to extra ruffles, bell sleeves and tiered hemlines—the more frou-frou, the better.
3. MESH EVERYTHING
Mesh tops have been selling like hotcakes over at stores like COS and Weekday, but there are some stylish people ready to take on mesh leggings and trousers as well, and why not?
With mesh tops we're finding that the best ones are printed or have surface detailing to make them feel extra special.
The perfect partner to jeans but also just as fun with something jazzy, your mesh top is more versatile than you might think…
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4. SHEER TIGHTS
Sheer polka dot tights are a great way to segue into spring looks while still feeling all warm and toasty.
Chanel's monogrammed hosiery has been a big hit among the influencer set.
All kinds of statement tights are go on IG right now but I always think black pattered hosiery is the most versatile option.
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The resurgence of French brand Paco Rabanne has caused chainmail and its many iterations to be taken up by It girls once more—the miniskirts are particularly popular.
You can wear a peekaboo trend with a big coat and suddenly it seems like out-there.
On the other hand you could do full '60s go-go girl and wear chainmail and only chainmail!
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Next up, our favourite affordable jewellery brands.
Hannah Almassi is the editor in chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was hired to launch a UK sister site and social channels, localise content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 15 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times and MatchesFashion.com, among many others.
Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy toddler and highly Instagrammable cat.