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It’s been called lingerie-as-outerwear and underwear-as-outerwear and even inner-outerwear.

But while fashion writers and editors fumble over what to call it, the outer-undies movement is this year’s most inescapable summer style trend. Lingerie is everywhere, and it’s out there for everyone to see.

Celebrities have been getting away with this forever, but then they’ve got stylists to help them. Average girls aren’t so lucky, so fashion disasters are common. But where to turn for help?

When in doubt, ask an expert. And who better to advise on the subject of mixing intimates with streetwear than the brilliant stylists over at Free People, everyone’s favorite boho label?

This summer, Free People is pushing their intimates collection to the forefront, using their catalogue and social media to present a variety of on-trend looks that mix light summer apparel with delicate undergarments.

Below you’ll find some images from Free People that can be useful benchmarks when dressing (or under-dressing) for the season. We also got some pointers from FP lingerie buyer Leighanne Jones, who helped us compile this list of Do’s and Don’ts for Lingerie Layering:

1. Start With a Few Essentials.
For the under-layers that means a cropped bra, a seamless romper, some loose-fitting bloomers, and a brightly colored or printed bandeau top (that fits!). For the outer layers, look for see-through separates such as a sheer mesh skirt, a lace tunic, crochet wraps, or even FP’s bold thatched fringe dress (below).

2. Be Subtle.
Skip the jeans-and-bra combos. This is one style area where less is not always more, and where trying too hard creates the worst possible impression.

“It’s not about showing it all and being that scandalous girl,” said Jones. “Sometimes a cropped bra peeking through a low armhole shirt is enough. It should be sweet and subtle.”

In short, if people are staring at your exposed mesh bodysuit all day, you’ve probably gone too far. Cover up!

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Color
Bright, summery colors really pop out from under a sheer top layer. Monochrome neon- or candy-colored bras are brilliant under a light linen or lace top, and a richly printed cami or bandeau works well with an unbuttoned or deep-plunge shirt. We also love the peek-a-boo effect of FP’s pink lace shorts in the photo above, which shows off just a hint of what’s underneath!

4. Watch Where You Go
Not every place or occasion is appropriate for your personal peep show. Your workplace, for instance, might disapprove. Same goes for four-star dinners, weddings and visits to the in-laws — basically, any occasion or place where you wouldn’t want people noticing your skivvies.

5. Swimwear is for the Beach
Swimwear-as-outerwear is the bastard child of this style trend, and it almost always looks out of place on the street. You can find plenty of bold prints and cuts among contemporary lingerie labels. Keep the beachwear where it belongs.

6. Don’t Overthink This.
It’s just layering, after all, and you’ve been doing it since you first played dress-up as a child. Be creative, experiment. Throw out anything that looks wrong. Most of all, have fun.

Now, looking for some ideas? Here’s a few images from Free People‘s recent catalogues that offer some terrific mix-and-match ideas that you can take almost anywhere.

Mesh Crop Top
Lace Halter Tunic
Thatched Fringe Dress
Leopard One-Piece
Flume Cardigan w/ Crochet One-Piece
Crochet Romper
Posted in Free People

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