Two years ago, I found a very sheer black spaghetti strap tea dress on sale on The Outnet. It was being sold as a nightgown but I knew that in my possession, this dress would be granted an opportunity to see the unvarnished light of day, which led me to buy it — for the dress’s sake, you know. Almost immediately after it arrived did I endeavor to wear it; first with white under garments, and then again with a black bra and matching high waist underwear. I fantasized about the jeans I would put under it, the sweaters I would put over it. The way it would delicately sway when I wore tights. If any single garment was going to keep me honest, hold me accountable, serve as a metaphor for the kind of moral fiber I hope to espouse, it was this in its transparent glory.
The time I wore it with a black bra and high waist underwear, I also added lace up flat sandals. My hair was in a bun and I had small gold hoops in my ears. The weather forecast was sauna-like but I felt free in New York’s oppressive heat. On that day, I was thrilled to be a woman, liberated from sartorial constructs that require pants, celebrated even, for refusing to wear them. I could never unsee the outfit, never anticipate wearing it another way. Later, this dress, styled as described, would become the subject of a story that would go on to carry the title, “The Thought Process of Wearing a See-Through Dress.” It would also carry the torch of high performance, which is internet speak for solid traffic driver. And just like that, it became a one-hit wonder in more ways than, er, one.
But then earlier this summer during Couture Week in Paris, Miuccia Prada showed her Resort 2019 collection for Miu Miu and accordingly sent a parade of models down her runway wearing sheer dresses and skirts and blouses over novelty underwear and bras. It reminded me of the story and inspired me to style it again, but this process was intercepted by the acquisition of a sheer pink nightgown by a brand called Loretta Caponi, stocked almost nowhere outside its headquarters in Florence and, incidentally, a new concept store in London called Koibird. But this is all backstory and I can’t even remember why I’m telling you any of it. My kid just threw up in my mouth. Let me clear my throat.
It’s clear! (This is a metaphor; text me if you don’t get it.)
Last week I took to Amazon, searched for “boys underwear,” found a few packs in the largest size possible with the likes of tropical trees and race cars and action figures on them and dutifully purchased them in the name of recreating the Miu Miu lewk. Were they small on me? Indeed. Did I hand-stretch the cotton, cut the elastic waistband and leg holes to make room for myself? You betcha. Then I waited until an especially hot day, styled them under the nightgown (which initially, I planned to wear to the beach) and wore the outfit to work. To my chagrin, no one I encountered, first at Dean & Deluca, then down Broadway and up the 6 train, said anything. Here I was, trying to elicit a reaction, make friends, explain with great pleasure and honor that I had been inspired by a runway show in Paris to buy $10 underwear from Amazon but nary a single gaze afforded me such an opportunity.
It is possible that people watching, both digital and not, was starkly in motion, but as of this writing, I know nothing about that.
Conclusion: with a little perseverance and an Amazon Prime account, the world can be your curtain.
Photos by Madeline Montoya.