What do warm, brewed espresso, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, and sheer chiffon fabric all have in common? Other than the letter C, all three items also have Parisian influence. When you think of Paris what comes to mind? Parisian Cafes where locals go to people watching while enjoying a cup of coffee and a croissant. Looking out over the cobblestones streets, scattered with fallen leaves. The sun is just starting to rise on a crisp Autumn day with the glow from the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the early dawn. A young woman in a chiffon dress paired with tights, over-the-knee boots, a cozy, plaid, woolen caplet, and a knit beret orders “un express’, s’il vous plait!”
Paris is one of the major fashion capitols of the world with high end fashion, fabric and apparel stores, and designer ateliers. As I mentioned in my previous post, chiffon fabric originated in France. Chiffon can be an expensive and luxurious fabric when woven from pure silk. In the early 1900’s, cheaper versions were made using nylon and polyester. Overall, chiffon exudes a higher, elite status as it is known for being a popular choice for evening wear. In recent years, it is used in everything from blouses to scarves to lingerie. Other sheer fabrics include; tulle, lace, and organza.
Sheer, see-through, and illusion fabrics have become a popular style for ready-to-wear. The trend began as a seasonal trend in the spring/summer season of 2012. Since it’s debut, it has only gained in popularity, making it a year round look that is here to stay. Year after year, it is seen worldwide from the runway to the streets. Sheer fabrics are the ultimate gray area between sexuality and feminism. The sheer trend has pushed the boundaries of conservatism and how far see-through clothing can go, ever since its’ debut on the runway.
How to Style Chiffon for Every Day
The key to wearing sheer fabrics, like chiffon, for everyday is to tone down how much skin is showing. It is all about how you wear it and can be a tool to flatter specific features. The wrong styling will leave little to the imagination and be inappropriate for most occasions. Below are some ways to incorporate sheerness for everyday wear.
1. Create layers
Strategically pair sheer clothing with other garments to create a more covered-up look. For example, pair a a see through top with statement lingerie and a jacket or blazer on top. Another way to use it would be to pair see-through skirts and dresses with pretty little slips and tights.
2. Choose one area of the body to highlight
Small bits of transparency can be practical for both the office and a night out. To achieve this, only show a little bit of skin at a time. Pick between exposing your shoulders, arms, midriff, seams, etc. and only show off one area of the body.
3. Minimal accessories
When wearing garments made of sheer fabrics, steer clear from pairing it with too many accessories. The sheer details are supposed to be the focal point of the look.
Pair bold colors with sheer fabrics. The vibrancy will attract attention away from the sheer fabric. This is a great way to balance sheerness. For example, if you are wearing a sheer top, wear it with a bright red skirt.
Do not go for a head to toe sheer look. That is too much sheerness and will easily take your look from classy to trashy. Instead, if you wear something sheer on the top, balance it with something not sheer on the bottom. And vice versa.
How to Style Chiffon for Fall
Temperatures are in the low 30’s at night and highs only warming up to the 50’s, if you’re lucky. You put on layer after layer of clothing and your main priority is staying warm as your body adjusts. Blasting the heat in your car during your morning commute. Running (or at least speed walking) from place to place to avoid staying outside any longer than necessary. Snuggling up by the warm fireplace in the evenings, knowing that winter is coming and it is only going to get colder from here on out. I’m sure the absolute LAST thing you’re thinking about wearing are sheer fabrics. However, with the right accessories and staple pieces, you can easily bring chiffon into the fall and winter seasons.
- Layer jackets, blazers, vests, cardigans, sweaters, capes, and sweatshirts on top of sheer blouses and dresses.
- Layer tank tops, short sleeve or long sleeve shirts beneath chiffon blouses and dresses.
- Layer sheer skirts and dresses with slips, tights, or over-the-knee socks.
- Use cozy accessories, like scarves and gloves, to pair with chiffon garments.
- Wear tall boots that will add warmth to the legs.
- If you are wearing something sheer on top, make sure to wear something heavy and extra cozy on the bottom. And vice versa.
- Take advantage of hats and headbands to add extra warmth on the head to keep the body warmer.
- Try wearing fur, leather, and other warm and cozy fabrics to pair with chiffon.
- Keep in mind the 5 ways listed above for keeping chiffon a daytime look and incorporate them into the season.
In this look, I took a sheer, lightweight, chiffon dress and paired it with a cozy sweater that still shows off the interesting back details. They are not really pictured, but I am also wearing black equestrian style boots with the look. These pieces all add warmth and a fall vibe to the outfit, that could be a common outfit in any Paris cafe.
For more inspiration on styling chiffon shirts for fall, check out a few of my previous blog posts, “Maxi Madness- Part 3” and “Fashionably Show Up to the Relationship”. In both posts, I styled two different long sleeved chiffon shirts; one with a fur vest and jeans and the other with a leather vest, scarf, and maxi skirt.
If you missed the other posts from this series, check them out! Coffee, Croissants, & Chiffon- Part 1 is a sketch along tutorial that includes in depth techniques for sketching with chiffon fabric. Coffee, Croissants, & Chiffon- Part 2 is a sew along tutorial with tips and tricks for sewing chiffon fabric and how to make an easy knit & chiffon top. Thanks for tuning in to my series on chiffon!
Until next time.