I really enjoy wearing a layered look made of one or more transparent fabrics. And a post by Annieloveslinen made me realise that I wanted to do something on this theme.
What does Transparent mean?
It could mean this, from Yves St Laurent.
1.(of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.“transparent blue water”
synonyms: see-through, clear, translucent, pellucid, crystal clear, crystalline, limpid, glassy, glass-like, liquid;unclouded, uncloudy;“a transparent plastic film”filmy, gauzy, fine, sheer, light, lightweight, thin, flimsy, see-through,diaphanous, chiffony, gossamer, delicate“a transparent dress”
It is interesting how many of these terms borrow from fabric.
Now you maybe wondering what the difference is between transparent fabrics and translucent ones. Transparent fabrics might include glass or cellophane, or PVCs that are so clear you can see through them as if there’s almost nothing there. Things that are translucent allow light through but with significant diffusion or distortion. Most clothes would therefore better be described as translucent.
Here is a great version, from the Financial Times, Styling and photography by the ever talented Damian Foxe.
The silk organza blouse and the silk-mix fragile underskirt are worn with a full denim dress. I love the way we have so many layers – the sleeves showing skin, the cuffs with their evident seams, the button stand and little white buttons, the pleats in the skirts and the narrow hem. And then the dark navy which adds depth and interest. Aren’t the Churches sandals nice too?
Sheer fabric is made using thin thread and/or a low density of knit and which results in a semi-transparent or translucent, flimsy cloth. The sheerness of a fabric is expressed as a denier – from 3 (very thin, barely visible) to 15 (standard sheer for stockings) up to 30 (semi opaque) until 100 (opaque). The materials which can be made translucent include gossamer, silk, rayon or nylon.
I was a student I considered using translucent fabrics as my difficult fabric (mainly in terms of construction techniques as everything shows). In the end I didn’t, but I have been fascinated by fabric on fabric, and translucent fabric on skin for a very long time.
Fabrics which can be translucent:
- silk (or polyester) organza
- fine cotton lawn and voiles
- sheers – nylon, silk and polyester
- tulle and nets
- perforated leather and other fabrics
I am keen to experiment with these fabrics as I like the way that colours soften when worn under a translucent layer, and the impact of building up density gradually. As a group I find them dreamy, luxurious, tender, delicate and difficult to manage.
So before I start I may need to learn some new (or refreshed) techniques.