The likelihood of you wearing the kind of gown actresses attending Sunday night's Academy Awards will is, well, pretty slim. But that doesn't mean your closet shouldn't have a touch of Hollywood glamour.
Blouses, pencil skirts, and day-to-evening sheaths fashioned from laces affixed over nude-hued linings are giving everyday basics a modern and sultry twist.
Women's clothing fashioned from filmy lace, tulle, mesh, or chain-mail fabrics to create the illusion of exposed flesh has its roots in saris. Starting as early as 3,000 B.C., women wrapped saris - yards of often transparent silk and embroidered fabrics - over frocks to preserve modesty. Some of the dresses were in contrasting hues. Others were flesh-toned.
In subsequent centuries, sheer looks, including 16th-century see-through chemise dresses and 18th-century muslins - a favorite of French aristocrats like Marie Antoinette - had a scandalous impact on fashion.
But it wasn't until the 1930s when designer Madeleine Vionnet routinely paired black and navy or pink and coral laces over fitted nude sheaths, that the term illusion became a part of the fashion vocabulary.
The bodices of ball gowns featured transparent silks and tulles during the 1950s and '60s. During the 1980s, illusion lace reappeared. It was mostly in black and it was more lingerie-meets-sporty (think Madonna) than edgy and sophisticated.
Around 2008, illusion-lace looks reemerged in quieter nude and pastel tones. It was a slow comeback fueled by layering. But by 2013, illusion lace sheaths were a staple in bridal gowns, thanks in large part to Israeli designers who reveled in body-skimming gowns.
Performers like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga performed at concerts (and went viral) in lacy unitards. And on the 2016 Academy Awards red carpet, a myriad of celebrities, including Priyanka Chopra and Chrissy Teigen, opted for peek-a-boo lacy confections.
Lily Collins chose an unforgettable pink Zuhair Murad with an illusion bodice for this year's Golden Globes. Kristen Wiig opted for a white Reem Acra gown. Ivanka Trump wore Carolina Herrera at the Inaugural Ball. Selena Gomez, Stacy Keibler, and Paula Patton all recently wowed in gauzy chic cocktail dresses.
While I admire a woman who can pull off an illusion-lace look with grace and style, I just feel too exposed.
This kind of see-through requires an almost flawless body and a healthy dose of chutzpah. Don't attempt without both.
Model: Meghan Espalin
All dresses available at Shop Sixty Five, 128 S. 17th St., 267-239-5488, www.shopsixtyfive.com. Illusion floral sheath, Nicole Miller, $595; black lace over cream mini, Nicole Miller, $398; black mini, Nicole Miller, $485.