Here’s something you don’t know about me. I have had a love of sheer black tops forever. When Yves Saint Laurent sent braless models down the runway decades ago in black sheer blouses, I thought it was incredible.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to be one of those women. I wanted to wear a black sheer blouse with no bra on underneath. I don’t know where I thought I’d wear it. Maybe alone in my house with the doors locked. Maybe with my boyfriend in my house with the doors locked. I knew for sure that I wasn’t going to do that out in public unless I had a buttoned up cardigan over the sheer fabric.
The desire was strong, but I never did it. After I had a mastectomy in 2004, the thought came to me, “Well, no sheer black blouse for me! That dream is dead.” There were many, many thoughts but that one was there in the mix.
Flashforward to last week: I actualized my dream in an outfit I wore in public! Okay, it wasn’t the exact dream but I wore something that was black and sheer. The combination felt 45% daring, bold, sexy, and French. That percentage was good enough for me.
Anatomy of an Outfit
Here’s what I wore:
*A printed long-sleeved stretchy top by Petit Pois. It’s an abstract cityscape print on the torso and back. The sleeves are sheer black with an animal print pattern screened in. I purchased it at Specialtees Boutique, a great shop in Lafayette, CA.
*I wore my sheer long black sleeveless tunic with buttons, opened to the waist by Vince.
*I wore my Paige flared jeans and my most comfortable boot ever by BED|STU purchased at Robindra Unsworth in Petaluma.
*I built a Beauty Bundle for the outfit by dipping into gunmetal/black jewels. I wanted to create a mood that was urban, like the urban cityscape stretchy top. The pieces blended so well together and made me feel a bit daring and edgy (in a sweet way).
- The earrings were purchased at Studio Collections Jewelry in Sonoma. They are by Yed Omi.
- The top necklace in my necklace stack, the one with the diamond in it, is by Branch. I purchased it at Studio Collections Jewelry in Sonoma.
- The bigger necklace on the bottom was purchased at Gallery of Jewels.
- The gunmetal bangles came from Nordstrom.
- The shiny black leather studded cuff is by Calleen Cordero and was purchased at Robindra Unsworth in Petalmua.
- The rings are both gifts.
It felt so great to implement something sheer and black into an outfit. Some dreams take a long time to come true! Do you have fashion ideas you have yet to realize? Please share!
Lisa WhiteMay 24, 2016 at 5:34 am
WOW! Love these sheer layers on you…beautifully styled. I am also admiring your Beauty Bundle…the black studded wrist band (sigh)…bangles, rings, pendant, and earrings…incredible. You look gorgeous!
BrendaMay 24, 2016 at 8:43 am
Thanks, Lisa! That particular Beauty Bundle is probably my favorite right now. It hangs together so well with the colors and mood. It has an energy to it that I like to summon on some days. Maybe it’s strength, courage, that sort of thing? Everyone needs those things once in a while!
JeanetteMay 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm
That is so beautiful. The blue and black glasses frames really add to the urban chic look! And the subtle pattern on the sleeves really adds interest. Thanks Brenda!
BrendaMay 24, 2016 at 8:08 pm
Thanks, Jeanette! Here’s another true confession. I don’t think I’d worn that stretchy tee more than once. Now that I figured out how to wear it with this tunic, I’ll wear it a lot!
Erica PachMay 25, 2016 at 12:28 am
I love sheer materials. However, they are hard to find and then often synthetic material which is no fun in summer. And often just black. Any suggestions? I have this gorgeous purple dress f.i. I don’t wear anymore because of my bare arms.
BrendaMay 25, 2016 at 8:27 am
You’re right, Erica. They can be hot in the summer. But I do have something for you to try with your purple dress. It’s called Sleevey Wonder. Their website is under the same name. (Last time I looked the examples on the site look kind of cheesy but don’t let that stop you.) A Sleevey Wonder is something you wear over your bra. It fastens right under your bra and it’s got sleeves. Long sleeves or elbow length sleeves are available, maybe more now. I have two of them and I wear them under dresses that are sleeveless but I want some coverage. What’s great about them is they aren’t a complete layer so you’re not getting that extra bulk or heat that you’d get from an actual t-shirt underneath. See what you think! http://www.sleeveywonder.com
PatMay 25, 2016 at 6:59 am
You look fabulous! I love the edgy gunmetal, distressed boots, blue specs to balance out your jeans. You’ve inspired me to kick it up a notch and stop being so classic..your the greatest!
A faithful fan,
BrendaMay 25, 2016 at 8:29 am
Hello faithful fan! It’s always fun to hear from you. Yes, I think adding all those layers of interest definitely moves one away from classic and more into modern, interesting, and maybe even sophisticated on a level that’s very friendly. Good luck kicking it up a notch! I know you can do it! Faithfully yours, Brenda
LindaMay 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm
Brenda, you look so chic and cool. The tunic really brings it home.
BrendaMay 25, 2016 at 7:59 pm
Thanks so much, Linda!
Mary AnnMay 25, 2016 at 10:04 pm
I love it!
BrendaMay 27, 2016 at 7:24 am
Nancy MadlinMay 27, 2016 at 9:23 am
OMG I remember those YSL blouses!!! That was four decades ago, and when you said it, it popped into my mind like a photograph… Amazing… My mom says that happens more with time passing… Theory is those are things popping up in our consciousness as unfinished business to inspire us on our further journey…
So, what is calling to me?… In past decades I have felt called to be more free – my family tended towards inhibition, and it took me a long time to get to the point that I could show even a modest amount of cleavage – I guess that was part of the YSL dream. My mother still gets alarmed at times when I do that!
So what dreams are left? Brenda, I really LOVE your look here. Partly because I love the conflicting themes it encompasses- sexy and tailored, casual and dressy, chic and then that tough bundle! (Fashion goosebumps here.) And also because it seems to so express you, your skill at dressing and your skill at revealing personal essence…. And that’s my fashion dream – a wardrobe that expresses more of me, and evolves with me. To a small but significant degree, I feel I have that, from following the exercises in your books for so many years. And, really, it is SO satisfying- my dream is to keep going with enjoyment and pleasure. (And maybe, Higher Power willing, to be able to shop again somewhere else besides my closet and the Salvation Army! More options are just really nice to have… despite my physical constraints, I want to live more fully, and better.) Thanks for letting me share!
1010ParkPlaceMay 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm
I’ve also loved sheer black tops forever… and had the first of two mastectomies in 2004. At the moment, I only have one sheer, black top, Catherine Malandrino. Love it. Brenda
BrendaJune 1, 2016 at 7:56 am
Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it amazing how that love for sheer black tops stir us? I hope you’re enjoying your Catherine Malandrino sheer top. I bet it’s beautiful on you!
AngieApril 5, 2020 at 6:35 pm
Hi, Brenda – That outfit looks gorgeous on you; I love it; it’s so cool! Wish I could find a tunic like that. Navy or charcoal would look better on my blonde self than black though. I haven’t found a top with sheer sleeves or sheer body in navy or charcoal yet…Someday. Hugs, Angie – http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com