Whether we’re brave enough to wear them ourselves or simply admire them from afar on our favourite celebrities, “naked dresses” have long been a bold staple in many women’s wardrobes.
Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna are just some celebrities who have bared it all in them. Of course, the style hasn’t been without its criticism—fashion designer Carolina Herrera infamously criticized the stars wearing them, saying, “they’re supposed to be fashion icons and they’re not wearing anything.”
Regardless of whether you’re for the “naked dress” evolution or against it, here are 13 reasons why the world is undeniably obsessed with them.
13 Marilyn Monroe began the trend
Marilyn Monroe, a Hollywood icon still admired today for her beauty, confidence and style, was one of the first celebs to make the “naked dress” a thing. On May 19, 1962, she wore hers while on stage at Madison Square Garden while serenating President John F Kennedy with her ultra-sultry version of “Happy Birthday.”
The dress she wore was designed by Jean Louis, and was sheer, full of glitter and tight enough that it had to be sewn onto her naked body. Today, Marilyn’s risky fashion move still serves as inspiration for many celebs, thus earning the naked dress a place in fashion history.
12 It appears on fashion runways around the world
Fashion runways are known for their ability to turn styles into hot, cool trends that everyone wants to be a part of. Because of this, fashion designers have used their expert creativity to do a multitude of spins on the naked dress, turning it into a style that had many models baring it all on the catwalk.
Balmain was one. The prestigious fashion label, often seen on the Kardashian clan, featured a variety of styles, including a purple dress that had an entirely sheer top and velvet ruffles on the bottom.
11 Celebrities wear them
As mentioned, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Rihanna are just some of the celebrities in Hollywood brave enough to wear naked dresses in public, much less on the red carpet where everyone is watching and snapping photographs.
Beyoncé famously wore hers to the 2014 Met Gala. Paring the look with a high ponytail that was #InstagramWorthy, all the focus was on her Givenchy dress with glittering sparkles. The naked dress proved to be the theme of the night as other stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian also stunned in them. J-Lo had on a red crystal and netted Versace dress that showed off her famous backside, while Kim Kardashian went wild for feathers in her Roberto Cavalli dress.
10 They make women feel sexy
Just like sheer and lacey lingerie, naked dresses make a woman feel sexy. Depending on where the sheerness of the dress begins and ends, women can show off their best assets. J-Lo, aka the Queen of the Backside, showed off her asset to the American Music Awards, glowing in a gorgeous fitted silver gown with a scalloped bottom that showed off her shapely legs.
Not only that but naked dresses can help women feel more comfortable being in their own skin, both within the sheets and out.
9 Some believe it’s a feminist statement
After Rihanna shocked the world with her sheer naked Adam Selman dress she wore to the CFDA awards last year, the Independent.co.uk, reported that Rihanna wearing that dress was a powerful feminist statement. They went on to say that many media outlets, particularly British ones, boycotted the image in what they believed to be taking the “moral high ground.”
But the Independent believed that Rihanna’s choice of dress showed that she didn’t care what people thought and that her nearly-nude dress should be a “fearless, powerful and fantastically seductive feminist statement that the pop world should be proud of, not scared of.”
8 They are very trendy
Trends go in and out of style every season. What was “in” last year may not be in this year. Despite this cycle of fashion evolution, naked dresses have always managed to stay trendy, season after season. Celebrities play a huge part in this, as their influence is major on nations, as does fashion crowds with their influence to make even the simplest trends seem cool.
7 They make history
Based strictly on the bold and daringness of the naked dress, it has made fashion history. The evolution of the naked dress began with Marilyn Monroe and has been since emulated throughout the years. Take the shocking naked dress Rose McGowan, former girlfriend of Marilyn Manson, wore to the 1998 VMA’s. To this day, the dress still tops “barely there” dresses lists and has since been inspiration for many celebs like Amber Rose who wore a chain naked dress to the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.
Other stars who have made history in the naked dress include Kate Moss who wore her transparent naked dress to the Elite Model Agency’s Look of the Year contest in 1993 and Britney Spears who wore a skin-tight ensemble while performing at the 2000 VMAs.
6 According to science, being naked is good for you
We’ve all heard of the benefits of sleeping naked, but according to science, taking that nakedness from just within the sheets is good for you. And wearing “naked dresses” are one way to achieve that. Dr. Jenn Mann, a relationship expert, says that being naked is a great way to get in touch with your body. “Being in the nude reduces shame. You can work on self acceptance and that can be very healing.”
Naked dresses may push your comfort level, but the more you try, the more comfortable you’ll become in showing off your skin.
5 Wearing naked dresses are good for your skin
The occasions that call for the wearing of naked dresses include nights at the club, going out to the local pub or bar with the girls or attending a special red carpet event where you want the entire spotlight on you. But piling on the clothes for these sorts of events can be restrictive and according to Dr. Lance Brown, a dermatologist in New York City, wearing too much clothing can be bad for your skin. “Wearing restrictive clothing can cause excessive sweating which may lead to inflammation of the skin follicles, rashes and breakouts. Going bare gives your skin a chance to breathe."
4 They make for amazing Halloween costumes
For many women, Halloween serves as the one day of the year where a girl can dress more revealing than usual. It’s a holiday that’s all about trying new looks and that often includes naked dresses that take you out of your comfort zone. Miley Cyrus, for example, replicated the daring purple jumpsuit Lil Kim wore to the 1999 VMA’s. It was glittery and flashed her exposed breast, with her nipple being covered with only a small piece of fabric in the shape of a seashell.
3 They attract male attention
While wearing sexy dresses for a night out are to make ourselves feel good, it doesn’t hurt that it attracts male attention too. And not surprisingly, men tend to prefer clothes that leave little to the imagination. Research has found that men prefer the colour red as they find women more sexually attractive in that colour and they like dresses that show off legs and arms—all body parts that are more than exposed in a naked dress.
2 It’s controversial
Want to cause all sorts of controversy? Wear a naked dress. Miley Cyrus has been living and breathing this principle as she goes all out while choosing what to wear. Her motto is: she’ll wear what she wants, when she wants, and she doesn’t let the judgment of others tear her down. It’s a brave trait that leads to her topping the media’s risky fashion lists.
At this year’s VMA’s, which Miley Cyrus hosted, she hit the red carpet in a naked-dress inspired ensemble. Her outfit featured a silver dress with thin straps that barely covered her breasts and a mesh see-through scalloped shape bottom.
1 It’s heavily criticized
Sometimes the best fashion styles to wear are the ones that push the limits and have people talking. And talk is just what renowned designer Carolina Herrera did when she expressed her distaste to many celebrities taking part of the naked dress trend. “It’s so modern to be naked or almost naked. They think it’s going to attract younger people if they do those dresses. No! The almost naked! Oh God! They’re trying to get people to pay attention to them. In life, there should be a little mystery."