Cutout Clothing: How Far Is Too Far?

Elizabeth Durand Streisand
Yahoo CelebrityApril 24, 2014
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Is it just us, or have snapshots of celebrities on the red carpet become NSFW?

Lately it seems you can't click a link without excessive amounts of skin popping up on your screen. From super low-cut tops to sheer-paneled skirts to jeans that are so distressed they're practically falling off (we're talking to you, Kim Kardashian), today's cutout styles take going commando to a whole new level.

But how far is too far for this daring trend? While some stars seem to have mastered the art of the cutout, others have struggled to get it right. And though there are (arguably) no rules in fashion, this look remains something of a mystery to many, which is why we consulted the experts about why celebs are embracing this style, they keys to pulling it off, and, perhaps most importantly, if the trend is here to stay.

[Related: Peekaboo! The 11 Most Shocking Red Carpet Looks of All Time]

When Rumer Willis arrived to Elle Magazine's 5th Annual Women in Music Concert Celebration sporting a black crop top and skirt with giant cutouts by Franziska Fox that flashed her hot pink undergarments, the cameras went crazy. Whether she intended for her underwear to be on display isn't clear, but one thing is: Her outfit got people talking. But is it okay to show the world your secrets or is that too much? Not everyone agrees.

"It all depends on your body and comfort. I don't mind bad taste on a cool young thing - but at a certain point in life, it's better to flatter rather than shock," celebrity stylist Kate Young explains.

Lucia Tait, a Hong Kong/ New York-based stylist and lifestyle writer has a slightly different take, however. Describing Rumer's outfit as a "wardrobe malfunction," Tait argued, "Foundations for event dressing should be focused on function, not fun. Do you really need to choose bright pink knickers at 25?"

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But with great risk can also come great reward, which may be why so many celebrities have embraced the trend. Gwyneth Paltrow has rocked dramatic cutout dresses on numerous occasions and Jaimie Alexander had an undeniable red carpet moment when she stunned last fall in a sheer-paneled gown by Azzaro that exposed pretty much everything that's legally allowed to be shown in public.

[Related: Jaimie Alexander Reveals the Real Reason Behind Her Cutout Dress]

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It's not just hyper-slim stars sporting these daring styles, either. Pregnant Stacy Keibler chose a side cutout dress for the Women in Music event, and Mindy Kaling recently wore a two-piece Topshop ensemble — and they both received rave reviews. This means the trend might be more wearable than you'd initially think.

[Related: Stacy Keibler Shows Off Her Baby Bump in Unlikely Fashion]

"The easiest way to wear the trend is in a dress with a small cutout under the sternum and above the abs," Kate Young explains. "I also really like cutouts that show the side ribs [like the dress Keibler wore] instead of the front of the body." Fashion stylist and blogger Elshane agrees. "Experiment with upper abdominal or shoulder cutouts. These silhouettes tend to be universally flattering." In other words, you don't have to be pin thin to pull it off, but you do need to put some thought into it.

As of now, whether people will be willing to stick with the style for the long haul is still up for debate. Lucia Tait speculates, "The cutout feels very of-the-moment, and, like any strong fashion trend, the pendulum will eventually swing back the other way. I predict we will have another few seasons with cutouts and, after saturation, it will dissipate." Elshane, however, believes the look has true staying power. "The cutout trend is here to stay," she states before adding, "It's a way for women to expose the parts of their body that they are most proud of, while keeping the rest under wraps."

[Related: Hayden Panettiere Leaves Little to Imagination in Peek-a-Boo Bandage Dress]

The bottom line: "You just have to realize that the more of your body you expose, the more likely you are to be criticized," she quips.

However, you're also more likely to be talked about as well... and that goes for whether you're having a Rumer Willis moment or a Jaime Alexander one. We're pretty sure celebs realize this, which is why, regardless of whether you love it or hate it, you're almost certainly going to be seeing more of it.