What to Wear Under See Through Maxi Dress

What to Wear Under See Through Maxi Dress

Thinking of what to wear under see through maxi dress? Sheer clothing can add dimension to anyone’s wardrobe. Layering has always been touted as a must for a put-together outfit, and sheer fabrics do not disappoint, with an ability to show the detail and construction of the piece underneath.

Plus, sheer pieces provide the extra interest of the look without feeling restricting or overly heavy, leaving you free to be the most comfortable version of yourself. So, what about styling a sheer maxi dress? Since a sheer piece can be as much of a blank canvas as it can be a centerpiece, a see-through maxi dress presents one of the biggest opportunities for fashion experimentation.

So the question that obviously also comes into consideration is what do you wear under the dress itself? Today, we’ll find out and also include some top styling options.

What Can You Wear Under a See-through Maxi Dress?

There are a number of things that you can wear under a see-through maxi dress. Some of these include:

1. Slip

Zylioo Women's Mulberry Silk V-Neck Full Slips Dresses with Split Hem Slim Fit Tank Top Under Dress Nightwear Nude S
Source: Amazon

Let’s start with perhaps the most mainstream and classic option for what to wear under your sheer maxi and that is a slip. A slip has roots in the seventeenth century when it would be applied to any thin garment worn under dresses.

Later on, the slip developed its more modern-day purpose in the mid to late nineteenth century when silk slips were worn under just about any knee to shin length suit, dress, or sheer shirt/dress, and then finally evolved to being worn only under sheer dresses.

A slip can add a solid base to your dress, without detracting from the sheer dress itself. In this case, you can let the sheer maxi dress shine, while the slip serves as an accent.

Additionally, slips under sheer dresses are a classic look that makes the outfit versatile throughout the day and able to adapt with further layering on top. Just make sure when you’re picking a slip that it meets relatively the same length as the maxi dress.

Having too much of a difference in length will make the outfit look disjointed and clunky. Furthermore, make sure the lengths of the backs line up since a higher-backed slip with a low-cut dress might look sloppy.

2. Lingerie

Avidlove Women Lace Lingerie Set 3 Pieces Halter Bra and Mini Skirt with G-String Floral Sheer Lingerie Mesh Babydoll Black S
Source: Amazon

Secondly is some classic lingerie…just make sure the lingerie isn’t sheer as well. There’s nothing like a matching set to spice up an outfit and add some detail to a blank canvas.

Here’s the thing, we recommend that when wearing the lingerie out in the open, you may want to make sure you switch the bikini-cut bottoms out for some cute boy briefs or a nice mini to midi length lingerie skirt (yes, it’s a thing).

For sure, this option is a dressier look, but it’s sure to stop the show wherever you go. If you want a more traditional option, try a bralette with lace detailing.

3. Shirts and Shorts

DEEP TOUCH Women's Seamless Boyshort Panties Nylon Underwear Stretch Boxer Briefs
Source: Amazon

Next up is a short and shirt combination. For a shirt, you can choose anything that won’t get in the way of the overlaying fabric of the sheer dress, since it would look bulky otherwise.

A short or long sleeve, plain white shirt over a sleeveless sheer maxi can bring the outfit more down to earth and even evoke some 90’s nostalgia. A tank top with a sleeveless maxi gives a cleaner line and a long sleeve maxi dress with a tank top creates structure and shows off the shape of the dress.

Try a spaghetti strap for something more dainty. You can even try a button-up if you’re feeling a bit more experimental, but it looks much better with a sheer maxi dress made from a stiffer material such as taffeta.

The sheerness of the taffeta sets off the structure and gives it a softness, while the long sleeve button-up gives the overall outfit a crispness. For shorts, it’s best to go with something a bit more structured, like tailored dress shorts.

However, if looking casual is the goal, a soft chambray short works well under the flowiness of the dress. You should avoid shorts that need belts or worse, have fabric ties.

These types of shorts usually add excess bulk, but can’t be worn properly without the belts. You could even wear a culotte that is a capri length. Culottes give the look of a skirt, while still having the mobility of pants.

3. Skirts

Ekouaer Women's Gym Stretchy Skorts with Underwear Active Skirts Plus Size Wine Red L
Source: Amazon

Speaking of skirts, a flowy midi or maxi skirt underneath can drastically alter the appearance of the dress depending on the cut and fullness of the skirt itself. Detailed slip and bias-cut skirts are statement pieces that add detail to the dress.

On the other hand, a circle skirt or one with a petticoat underneath adds body to the dress and creates a different kind of silhouette.

4. Bodysuits and Leotards

MAKEMECHIC Women's Short Sleeve Tops Basic V-Neck Leotard Bodysuit Jumpsuit Black XL

A bodysuit or leotard can add a bit of whimsical touch to a sheer maxi. The bolder option is to wear it underneath without additional under-layers, but we understand how this styling may be a bit uncomfortable for some, so try combining it with a skirt or a small petticoat.

With silhouette altering options such as these, though, be sure to cinch the waist if possible over the actual maxi.

Can a Maxi Dress Be Formal?

So now that we’ve gone over some of the clothing options to wear under your sheer maxi dress, can maxi dresses, in general, be formal? Yes, of course! We may often perceive a maxi dress to be your traditional jersey knit and meant for tropical vacation go-to, but in fact, most traditional evening gowns are in fact maxi length.

Sure, there are some fabrics you’d want to avoid for formal occasions, like jersey knit or wool, but a see-through maxi can come in really handy for this occasion. The important thing to remember is that making something formal all comes down to styling.

Focus on the cut of the dress as well; a lower neckline or back, with some tulip skirt detailing on the bottom, always adds some formal flair.

Can Maxi Dresses Be Business Casual?

Milumia Women Button Up Floral Print Party Split Flowy Maxi Dress Light Green Large
Source: Amazon

So what about business casual? Granted, styling maxi dresses for the workplace can be a bit more challenging, but it’s still possible.

Before you stroll into the office though, check your workplace’s dress code policy. Be prepared to pick out a maxi dress that’s solid in color, specifically one that doesn’t have a bright to neon hue. Furthermore, considering that you’ll probably be wearing a more muted maxi dress, it may feel a little one note.

A great addition can be a brighter color top with more structure or an oversized blazer. Both additions would have to follow the dress code, as well, but it’s a great way to brighten your look.

For a shirt, try a neutral tone or pastel sweater, or button-up shirt. To get a finished look, simply tuck under the ends and connect the shirt or sweater to the dress with a safety pin, giving the top a bubbled appearance without rough edges.

Can a Maxi Dress Be Cocktail Attire?

Cocktail attire is similar to formal but allows for a bit more whimsy in your look and certainly for as long as cocktail parties have been in fashion, so has the maxi dress. From puffed sleeves, and bias-cut skirts, to low necklines, and strappy backs, the world is your oyster when it comes to picking out a maxi dress for a chick cocktail soiree.

You can also pair it with velvet or patent leather stilettos and some dangly earrings to play into the long silhouette.

For inspiration, you can use various examples of maxi-length party dresses from the 1930’s onward as well as styles from vintage designers such as Halston. Try seeking out a maxi dress with fabric that has a body and/or structure, like silk or satin.

Whether it’s black or hot pink, a statement color is always best for parties. Even a bit of beading and draping can add so much depth to the outfit.

Can You Wear Maxi Dresses in the Fall?

Ever-Pretty Womens V Neck Floral Print Chiffon Maxi Formal Dress 4 US Floral Printed
Source: Amazon

As soon as that chilly weather starts rolling in, you know it’s time for some long hem lengths. Depending on the fabric, maxi dresses can work in any season.

If you’re entering fall, you can easily reuse your summer maxi dresses. Pair your maxi dress, which for seasonal purposes, you may want to use one in a neutral or jewel tone, with a nice cardigan, thick sweater, and heeled boots or mules.

Accessorize with some statement earrings or go for full dainty jewelry set to bring in the harvest.

Can You Wear a Maxi Dress in the Winter?

Just like maxi dresses in fall, the same goes for winter. Perhaps the only thing that’s different is that you can’t use your spring and summer maxi dress cuts like you would for fall.

If you’re somewhere that’s very cold, try a wool knit maxi instead. A sweater dress with a turtleneck provides warmth and a sleek silhouette, especially when paired with a belt to define the waist and some knee-length suede boots. Really, styling maxi dresses for winter is all about layering pieces.


As we’ve covered, a maxi dress is incredibly versatile and when it comes to something see-through, the options for styling are even more expansive. Your options for wearing a maxi dress are practically unlimited, but at the end of the day, what matters when actually creating the outfit is how you style it.

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