Summer Fashion 2014

Yes, You Can Do: Mesh

Yes, You Can Do: Mesh
Getty Images; Startraksphoto; TIme Inc Photo Studio (2)

It’s really quite simple to take on a trend. Just follow this smart advice from InStyle Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary.

If, when you hear the word "mesh," you think of the stinky singlet and shorts at the bottom of your gym bag, you are in for a pleasant surprise. What started as a boon to runners, swimmers and aerobics instructors has caught the eyes of luxury designers, like Reed Krakoff (above, left), who have translated the weblike fabric into sophisticated fashion meant for the street. And, yes, even the red carpet (see: Miranda Kerr above in Elizabeth and James) has taken notice.

Why I Love This Look

1. Today we expect our clothes not only to look sensational but also to perform—and mesh does. The material's narrowly spaced openings allow air to pass through, keeping you cool and dry. What a godsend in our increasingly hot and humid summers (take that, global warming!).

2. It's seductive in an offhand way. The shapes may refer to athletic wear—T-back dresses, sweatshirts, and tanktops—but the result is refined, owing to luxe fabrics and pairings as well as the subtle glimpse of skin.

How to Pull It Off

1. When worn with flat sandals, a simple T-shirt dress with a netted bodice is perfect for a backyard barbecue or a day of running errands. But it becomes cocktail attire when teamed with strappy high heels. Mesh open-toe booties, like the Steve Madden pair (above, available for $70;, are sexy and unexpected accents to wide-leg trousers or an easy skirt-and-shirt combo.

2. Sometimes the woven effect of the material just adds textural interest to your outfit. Try a mesh cross-body bag along with a silk T-shirt and jeans.

3. Be sure to keep yourhair groomed. This is not the time for wet locks that look like you've just finished spin class.

Integrate mesh into your wardrobe with our 10 picks, ahead.

For more features like this, pick up the September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download, now.

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