The Thought Process of Wearing A See-Through Dress

Leandra investigates


This story first ran last summer, but given that August 2017 is SO WHAT month, what better time than the present to walk around in a see-through dress (this weekend in particular) as one big sartorial SO WHAT?! 


Good on him for defying the odds and recommending that I wear clothes instead of take them off. Is that even considered a cat call?

At this point, I actually would have assumed that all four women who passed me on my walk to Dean and Deluca this morning felt sorry for me and wondered how many times I’d been verbally assaulted. To their chagrin — or maybe delight! — I can veritably say none. There’s only been one comment as a matter of fact, and he requested that I cover up. Unless, that is, you want take into consideration some garbage an unassuming acquaintance (fine, it was Amelia) unloaded in my dumpster about Friday Night Lights. Sure, they could have been more polite, but I appreciate the sentiment. Not enough to reconsider what I’m wearing — a veritable style choice as far as I am concerned, which is about 108 miles east of New York City, which, by the way, is where I am right now, and it is hot-as-fuq. The Real Feel is like 102 degrees but guess what? It real-feels more like 85 because I have ventilation holes or the Artist Formerly Known as Lace Work on my side.

“I’ll have an iced coffee with almond milk and a pump of almond flavor.”

What? It’s been two weeks since I last added syrup to my coffee. Give the sweet tooth what it wants. Hey, I don’t know if the woman behind me knows that I can hear her but I really ought to turn around and let her know I know she can see my underwear through the dress. That’s kind of the point. I mean, the point is staying cool, but the other point is my high-ass underwear. Kind of amusing if you think about the fact that at least people who come across me today are probably thinking, “Does she know I can see everything through there?” Like they could sincerely believe that when I got dressed this morning, I put on this sheer-ass-like-naked-sheer dress, looked in the mirror and thought, huh! Full coverage!

I can’t believe I still come back here: almond milk as a substitute for cow’s milk should not cost an additional 75 cents. That is sidewalk robbery but I’m the only fool in this equation because I knew they were going to do that, and I still went ahead and ordered the damn thing. I’m pretty sure the two women who just caught sight of me from 15 steps ahead are slowing down so that they can get behind me to either ridicule or celebrate my second-degree nudity.

Second-degree nudity! Is that a thing? A story? The name of this story? Nah, no one will get what it means.

Let me just run ahead of them so we can play this game together.

There they go. I think I just heard one say, “What was she thinking?” This seems like my cue to turn around and say, “I’m out of paper fans.”

Hey! Firemen.

Did those guys just turn around to look at–

Yup. They sure did. Okay, this will be great.

Tap, tap, tap — I know this sounds unrealistic, but this is really the sound my mind makes when I’m walking down a flight of stairs. It’s weird to follow my thought process as I think it knowing that I’m going to publish the outcome in a story. Fuck. $2.30 left on Metrocard. The City of New York should make having odd numbers on this damn card illegal. What’s the thinking behind leftover change tied up in this thing?

“Great summer look,”

Victory! Someone appreciates my–

Oh wait, that’s my friend Lauren. Hi Lauren.

Shit, shit, shit, train’s here.

That was close. Hey, there’s a seat. I’ll take that one please and thanks.

If I saw myself, what would I think? Knowing what I know, probably that she looks cool. Maybe that it was a cry for attention. I’d hope she didn’t run into her husband’s grandparents, but that would be me projecting. Mostly, though, I think I’d be jealous, because there I’d be, presumably covered in clothes and shvitzing while she effortlessly read the newspaper with her dumb-ass basket by her side in the middle of the bench on an uptown-bound 6-train with the air conditioner broken, so taken by her magazine that she was not even aware an overheating pregnant woman was standing just above–oh fuck!

“Miss, would you like my seat?”

“Ah, thank you. Thank you!”

“My pleasure.”

Is doing nice shit selfish? I feel better about doing that than about anything else I’ve done to–

“Excuse me, miss,”

Hey, it’s my new pregnant friend! Maybe her ovaries can rub off on mine.

“… see …. dress.”

I can’t quite make out what she’s whispering?

Come again?

“I can see your underwear through your dress.”


Here’s my stop.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • Max xx

    I love it

  • Gwyn

    fantastic. i want to wear this dress everywhere

  • Luxe Lis

    IMO looks a little too Daron Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. Perhaps it might work better on the beach. But… Kudos for effort! 😉 xo

  • Gwyn

    leandra can i borrow this dress to wear to my cousin’s wedding? let me know thanks

  • Stephanie
  • Nikki Pursley

    I love this look! Those undies are adorbs – might as well show them off!

  • Brb buying this outfit for my first day of school

  • ella

    I’m SO into this look. Less is more, right? 😉

  • Emma

    my thought process is similar when wearing a short, short skirt! which i love to wear. but furthermore, you look SO COOL in that dress, and I in my *insert voice from random family member: (too short)* skirts. Fashion and amazing garments is too much joy for me to be let held back by others ancient opinions on how much or little skin people should show. And when my inner voice sometimes starts, “this is too inappropriate to wear, although i love this outfit:(“, i try to think blah blah blah give me that amazing garment!!! having fun is more fun than being held back haha:)

  • Tiffany Rey

    Isn’t it amazing you can be in your bra and panties on a beach but when worn anywhere else publicly it’s deemed inappropriate. We are really an advanced civilization.

  • okay gosh, i’ve started this comment about 400 times now, that whole writing out every thought is catching on! i couldn’t help but have that nagging feeling left behind as i read the last sentence of your post of i hope you told the pregnant woman that you were very aware that your underwear could be seen and a little loud too so everyone else could hear because they’re all annoying me! but then that sort of just defies the whole point as wearing a dress like that requires a certain level of confidence which means being fine with being hyper visible and being fine with the thoughts that are sifting through everybody’s minds. what’s funny is that i live in this tiny town in england and i always just assume that big places like NY you can just literally do whatever you like and nothing shocks anyone. probs a little naive of me!

    • Senka

      Same. I’d expect it to be a bit less shocking in NY City of all the places.


    She’s lucky she didn’t get manhandled during the expedition though.
    You get far worse experiences when you are totally covered.
    Once I was lazy to dress up and had bleary eyes and wild hair and….well..the inevitable happened…. and I remember thinking,…”men aren’t all picky about grooming and stuff, are they? Its enough if it has ‘female’ written all over it. Pure hormonal reactions, nothing else. Eye of the beholder, my foot.”
    The cosmetic industry could be done away with and we wouldn’t miss it at all.

    • Right?? I feel like I get harassed more when I’m wearing a ratty tshirt and just going for a walk. What do men like, anyway? Who are we dressing for?


        I am not surprised at all about the ‘ratty tshirt’.
        They like WOMEN.
        The rest is just accessorising! 😀
        (Not that I am actually complaining).:).

        • FTB9000

          A woman who has not properly enhanced and adorned herself to their standards is probably more offensive to them, thus inciting a need to more aggressively assert their male power. Just a thought.


            Mmm. It’s a different angle. But could you elaborate some more. I’m not sure if I totally get this.

          • FTB9000

            Catcalls can be interpreted as exertions of male entitlement to women. The idea being that men see women as an object existing for their pleasure. If a woman doesn’t conform to their standard pre-conceived notion or fantasy of femininity they may act out more aggressively to exert their dominance over a non-conforming female. That is what is so great about Manrepeller – it celebrates non-conforming women!


            You know this actually makes sense in certain cases and relating to some men-and also women, who prefer men to be CERTAIN WAY. Like the ones who want perfectly good looking woman to still put more botox in their butts and b…s. Hmmm.
            On one hand I don’t see any problem in grooming, when you have good self esteem, but some groom over the top because they DON’T HAVE good self esteem.
            I mean sometimes partners can beat each other over their looks and keep saying, “you’re ugly, you’re ugly,” even if they’re gorgeous.
            And I suppose sometimes this works to enforce control over them, even if they are very good looking, but still lack healthy self image due to whatever childhood negative reinforcement or something like that.

  • Julie Meowmeows

    I think it’s gorgeous! I get a French Bohemian vibe from the look.

  • Senka

    It has a very sophisti-goth vibe to it, and needless to say, with a body like yours, limbs as long, you look amazing in it.
    I kind of wonder what would the reactions be was the dress white or a pastel colored. Would it be more day appropriate or give off a runaway bride vibe?

  • omg Leandra, I love you. This article gave me so much joy. I laughed, I cried, I may have even peed a little. Sooooo good. And now i’m ready to conquer wearing a see through dress. Bring it on, Bozos.

  • I love this! I’m not quite so daring, so a lacy tank underneath to hide the tummy would be my go-to. Because who cares if they can still see my undies, right?

  • Michelle Li

    This is my favorite thought process ever!!! Also have been eyeing that D&G dress and putting it under my “Things to buy and wear out only one time but it’s worth it” list. I wish I had thought processed my bday dinner a few weeks ago at a restaurant in super conservative Indiana with my Asian parents while wearing my fav light pink ballet beautiful bodysuit and shorts. The whole time my parents bothered me about how it was inappropriate I wanted to yell what is so revealing about showing my back? Like ugh guys it’s my bday come on.

  • Olivia Adamczyk

    “I’m out of paper fans.” YES hahaha, that would have been the best response

  • Lucy Korn

    A male friend once said to me, when talking about a girl in one of his collage classes ‘she wears a lot of see-through dresses, do you think she knows she her dresses are see-through?’ to which I replied, ‘a girl always knows when she’s wearing a see-through dress.’ He couldn’t understand it at all.

    It’s an exchange I always go back to when I think of the difference between men and women.


      That’s hiliarious!
      ‘Do you think she knows….’ !!!!!!

    • moon arabesque

      What about girls who don’t know what “slips” are and think they’re outerwear dresses?

  • seriously ??? I can’t believe the pregnant girl actually said that !
    Kuddos for the look, I love it.
    Funily enough, it is the kind of look you see on the sartorialist for example and think to yourslef “Is this something real people actually wear on say, the metro?!” and there you have a perfect demonstration by Leandra/
    Love it bis !!

  • claire

    we need a rear pic! your booty probably looks SLAMMIN’ in that dress!

  • Angie


  • FTB9000

    This is my favorite article and look of the summer. Leandra ????

  • Veronique Villarroel

    OMG! Amazing outfit!



  • Rebecca

    I fucking love this outfit.

  • Caitlin Crow

    Thought 1: The way I see it, you received blatant harassment from both men *and* women while wearing this–stunning, temperature-appropriate, and frankly-nobody’s-business-how-it-appears-because-it’s-your-damn-body-and-you-can-adorn-how-you-see-fit)–lewk. I’m a bit surprised the comment reactions are relatively mild, because I was taking serious umbrage every time I read about another person having the nerve to pipe up in your general direction. There are heaps more things to say on the proprietary nature of a woman’s body/rape culture/etc., but I’ll just simplify it into this: Not ok, people. Not ok.

    Thought 2: I love your stream-of-consciousness, thought by thought writing. Please do more. <3

  • Halle Elizabeth

    Love how the shoes almost make you look barefoot. This gives me so much happiness. I started saying YOLO SWAG ironically, but now I’m also saying it double-ironically (or does it just cancel out?) to make me more empowered to wear and do whatever I want and that dress is the definition of swag and I don’t really know where else I’m going with this but moral of the story – I love this. Thank you.

  • Anna Diane

    hahaha that was great!

  • tulip salinger

    you’re very amusing! also, as it happens I am wearing a sheer black lace dress right now, I was more conventional, I put a black slip on under, it’s the same length as the dress so it looks okay and I am still very cool!

  • M. Pz

    But you are so petite, that it doesn´t look tacky, imagine a Kardashian wearing that outfit (and i don’t mean Kendall or the other one, the older sister)…yeah…not the same.

  • Greer Clarke

    Dress, basket, underwear… everything here is so GOOD. I really do think I’ll need to wear this to uni, even if not quite lab appropriate (I wonder who steel-caps will look with it…)

  • Paula Jones

    Great outfit, you look gorgeous and totally pull it off……….but is that see through underwear under the see through dress?

    • Halle Elizabeth

      that would make it even better!

  • My goal in life is to write shit like “wear see through dress for story today” on my agenda. Thanks for the giggles as always, girls.

  • Samantha McKay

    I have outfit envy! You go girl

  • Amelia Diamond


    • isn’t that gossip girl? when jenny makes vanessa a see through dress to get back at her for kissing nate…

      • Halle Elizabeth

        but when I saw that episode I was like she looks hot af why is everyone laughing

  • Lovey Fleming

    This made my night! I’m so shocked at people’s reactions– you look so beautiful and it definitely looks like something right off the runway. Much more elegant than booty shorts and camis in my opinion. Long live lace!

  • Alexia

    If I could get away wearing this to school without getting dress coded for “distracting the boys” I would. Although, to be fair, I could argue I got my inspiration from Man Repeller, thus, I wore said outfit with an entirely purist mind intent on repelling those testerone driven brains . No?

  • Kelly

    Love this! I love the sheer dress, high waisted undies look. I don’t think it’s for me, but I totally applaud the women that pull it off!

  • Lilly

    i might’ve missed it, but where’s the info on the underwear?! it’s so cute 🙂

  • Leslie Hitchcock

    So good.

  • BiggieShakur

    I got the most amazing see through Simone Rocha dress on Skyler: The fashion weather app. And I must admit i was weary at first if I would be able to pull it off, and believe me it didn’t matter because boy did I feel good in 90F NYC weather.

  • xtyb

    I am going to create a snap-out paper fan for you that says
    I’ll send it out as soon as my MR hat finally arrives, ahem.

  • Aiyisha Williams

    I fully embrace see through dresses I have a collection of vintage Manchester hacienda club dresses from my godmother and wouldn’t get to wear them unless I embraced them! So Sunday roasts and evening drinks are the perfect occasions!! Manchester seems not to be bothered, so I’m surprised they notice in NYC.

  • Laura

    Well, Bill Cunningham – may he rest in peace – would have loved to take your photo wearing this. So, was this just an experiment, or will you be taking that dress out for a spin on hot days on a regular basis? If I looked like you, I sure would 🙂

  • This reminds me of a time when I wore a coat-dress (coatdress? Whatever the correct term is). I even wore it with tights for extra coverage, also because it was October and it was cold. I heard these mean old ladies say, “does she know she forgot her pants?” and basically say I look like a slut.
    Personally I think you look amazing, it’s not like you were wearing a g-string under the dress.

  • Ellie

    This was hilarious and you look incredible

  • 4631

  • Tara

    I will never understand dressing provocatively and then being upset because people are provoked. Immature at best.

    • C.Lebowski

      Dear Tara. Just because you find something provocative, does not give you the right to point it out (or anyone else). I think this is a core problem with how americans see freedom of speech. Yes, you are legally allowed to say what you want, thank god, but everyone else is not obliged to listen to your comments, reply to your comments, or even respect your comments. Speaking your mind is not something that automatically gives you authority or respect, especially if what you are saying has the same value as a single shoe with no heel on sale. I myself find mom hair and blue eyeshadow incredibly offensive, but I would never point it out to complete strangers because they choose to look like that – and it’s rude AF.

    • Caro

      I tend to agree with Tara. This is clearly meant to provoke. This sexy black (expensive call girl) dress is clearly not a ‘lets walk the dog and buy some groceries’- day look but suitable as a provocative nightclub style or a wear-at-home ‘I want to spice up my sex life’-style.

  • Marlee Burke

    Love this!

  • Susie C

    This speaks to me on the highest level. I have yet to wear something full-sheer, but wearing colored bras under white tshirts still garners whispered “did you know you can see your bra” comments and it’s like “yes I was awake when dressing and this is a choice I have made back off girl”

  • Elizabeth

    Okay you look super amazing in this sheer dress! You are inspiring me to get one! lots of love


  • ULKU

    I dont understand why people think that it is appropriate to wear pareo and bikini on a beach but when you wear a similar thing in city center it is suddenly inappropriate or incongruous. it is the same thing. there is no difference between a mayo or bikini and lingerie products except that the fabrics used to produce lingerie are healthier and not hydrophilic. it is see through, so what? why so shocked? I hope that people get over these kinds of things someday. please.

    • june2

      There is a time and place for everything. Knowing the difference between ok and not ok is a bit of an art with unspoken rules that some people can, and some can not, break successfully. Leandra can do nearly anything successfully, esp. fashionwise, but I think this is off base in the way that wearing a cocktail dress in the daytime is off. It’s just out of place. Still a lovely dress though!

  • Avery =^..^=

    L❤️VE it! U look great! I’d probably wear it because I don’t give a frog what peeps say/think as I’m former NYer now stuck out west in Backwards-ville USA. Dress code here is oversize t-shirts & jeans or goth/grunge.

    I get such a kick when I wear my put-together-style outfits & peeps stare! Also, wear NYC “on-trend” looks & peeps stare. Some examples: Tiny Harvard tee w/3-Qtr length blk satin, bit poofy, high-end skirt; a fave is tiny NYC, Patriots, Red Sox, or Harvard tee w/dressy vintage all-pearled jacket & the heaviest fabric manly “desert storm” cargo pant w/tons of pockets/zippers/etc all over; Most racy: No bra, yes nips covered, in a black sheer sleeveless chiffon blouse, w/pattern work, nipped waist, small tuxedo ruffles, & pin tucks plus I’m nearly boobless anyway, so disappointed viewers most likely.

    Mostly, I get great comments…the whispering ones that I can’t make out must be the negative.

    Leandra, you rock this looks. PS, hope the ovarian closeness yields results!

  • Carina

    I am actually in awe of this very highly feminist stream of consciousness without screaming at the top of the lungs how slut shaming from both men and women is disgusting. You do you Leandra! Ps. There should def be a law that prohibits cafes from charging extra for non cow milk – im being taxed for having a body that rejects cow released hormones

    • Leandra Medine

      super fucked up right

  • Leandra, you are hilarious! Love your bravery!! And you look stunning in this dress!

  • Alejandra Moran

    I want to pull this off but I’m gonna try boy short undies for big booty coverage!

  • Sophie Hay

    I think it would be so amazing if you did look for less on your posts because so many readers love what you wear and can’t afford it. Please please please

  • @LeandraMedine:disqus, you just ousted Carrie Bradshaw’s naked dress — this D&G one is now my new life goal. you look incredible!!!
    xo, coco |

  • Lane Alves

    Leandra this outfit is fabulous. I needed that thought process

  • Loved the story last year and love it even more now!

  • Néo Bourgeois — Christum

    HOT! What better way to stay cool.

  • Kay Nguyen

    I can’t ever wear anything see-through, I just don’t have that kind of confidence,,, it’s sad.

  • nishtha jain

    I can see your underwear through your dress.!!
    in-spite of this the dress is sexy 🙂

  • This dress is very beautiful and even if I would have worn a different type of lingerie because the lacy panties are a bit… confusing 🙂 I admire you because I don’t know if I would have the guts to wear it but I’m Italian and here, men can be pretty bothering by the streets

    • june2

      yes. a pair of tiny shorts or bloomers would have made more sense for daytime, imo. Less confusing, less sexual, more edgy and fun.

      • Less confusing for sure, because of the lace of the dress and the undewear, there’s too much going one for my taste. The underwear is a bit distracting

  • Charlotte Webb

    I dont really see the point of wearing a see through dress, as I have read in The Beauty Insiders, people often times wear this as it is so airy and fresh, well I dont have any qualms about it if worn on the beach but really on the streets??

  • I think it’s gorgeous! I get a French Bohemian vibe from the look.
    Đất Nền Bình Chiểu

  • Áine Hegarty

    Were you self-conscious wearing the dress and hearing people talking about you? Ah, I would be so nervous! I would maybe make it a block. I feel uncomfortable getting attention from strangers anyway.

  • june2

    I love it, it is gorgeous, but seems more like a cocktail/party look than daytime in the subway/on the street look! So I understand people’s confusion…it’s kind of inappropriate for mainstream daytime.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    Leandra, only you can pull this off. If I tried it, someone would probably ask me if I forgot my dress.

  • David Kriz

    Folks like yourself are why I wish I could just die quickly and painlessly.