Wedding dress trends often start out small and grow more dramatic. For example, illusion necklines morphed into cut outs which then turned into sheer paneling. Sheer paneling on wedding dresses is for a bold bride that wants to be a little bit daring on her wedding day. From subtle lace highlights that elongate the frame to thigh-high slits, these sheer details are definitely not for the demure bride!
Out of all of the silhouettes used in this popular style, sheer paneling in the bodice layered with a denser fabric in the center (above and below) is all the rage. This design allows for a sheer back and sides, while not being too revealing.
A more practical version of this trend is sheer paneling down the length of the bodice on each side (below). It still gives you the peekaboo nature of the style, but you might not be quite as worried about wardrobe malfunctions.
Personally, we love sheer paneling in the skirt of the dress. This way you won't have to worry about undergarments showing (or accidental slippage), but your dress will still pack a punch with a panel that shows off your stunning gams (below).
Sheer paneling isn't just about skin-baring cutouts. The dress designer can also use the transparent fabric to create magnificent beaded and embroidery patterns that pop against your skin, such as with this sheer back below.
Sheer paneling can also be in more than one place on your dress. With crop top dresses, it's all about being va-va voom in some areas, while balancing it with plenty of coverage in others. This nude bodice features a layer of sheer paneling around the neckline, and the skirt is covered in swathes of sheer fabric to allow the merest hint of the mini skirt to peek through.
White on white can often make an even starker sheer statement. This bustier crop top and super short mini skirt (below) are on full display under a wispy sheer overlay with cap sleeves and floral embroidery.
Even though the dress below isn't a crop top dress, the same technique is used. The embroidery pattern weaves around the bodice leaving pockets of sheer fabric, and then reappears under the lace paneled skirt.
Some couture designers like Monique Lhuillier go even further with sheer panels that run from the neck to the lower hip, covering the fabric with a beaded design.
This lace gown has sheer panels that run down the length of the skirt, emphasizing the mermaid silhouette and heavy embroidery at the hemline.
We can imagine no dress quite so perfect for an Art Deco wedding with a bride that wants to be a sultry showstopper! The silver feather-inspired mini-dress with transparent center flows into a sheer skirt dusted faintly with crystals.
For a 1930s-gone-modern interpretation of this trend, Vera Wang uses a classic halter dress (below), adding deep cutouts and high slits and then fills in the gaps with voluminous, sheer tulle.
Chances are that if you are unconventional enough to sport a sheer dress during your ceremony, you might also be willing to look at less traditional colors. Claire Pettibone, queen of all things boho, has designed this gorgeous greige mini dress with an intricate, sheer black overlay that is simply spectacular.
Okay, so you might love this trend, but are thinking, "C'mon, do you really expect me to believe that brides walk down the aisle with this much skin showing?" Well, some do. But more often, those who adore this trend find ways to incorporate it into their wedding day look without scandalizing the grandparents.
The most obvious thing you can do is add a nude lining. It gives all of the pop with none of the PG-13 rating. You can still see the fine beadwork (above), but everything remains covered up.
You can also choose a dress that uses this trend in a more modest way, such as with sheer paneling running the length of the sleeves to create a modern, sleek design (above). Or you can find a dress with an extensive illusion neckline, using sheer fabric along a traditional neckline and for the sleeves (below).
Credits: BHLDN | Tadashi Shoji | Inbal Dror | Pronovias | Rosa Clara | Terani | Rivini | Alyne | Monique Lhuillier | Zuhair Murad | Paolo Sebastian | Vera Wang | Claire Pettibone | Berta | Karen Willis Holmes | Elie Saab