Cut-out dresses are a huge trend this summer, and can give a simple sundress a bit of edge. Cut-outs, however, can also go in the trashy direction far too easily, so wear them smartly and with some caution. I'll show you how to make sure to pick your cut-outs with taste below.
Balance out a mid-tummy cut-out with a modest cut.
Kate Bosworth's dress looks anything but over-the-top, despite the sizeable cut-out smack in the middle of her midriff. This is because of the high neck and skirt that reaches just below her knees, making it an otherwise modest dress. A wide stomach cut-out can be treated like a cropped top; it's often best paired with a longer or fuller skirt to balance out the bareness.
A triangle cut-out on each side can add edge to a girly dress.
Follow Emmy Rossum's example with a triangle cut-out that's no more than two inches at its widest point. The full skirt also balances out the revealed skin. One on each side of an otherwise girly dress adds some sex appeal to an otherwise classically feminine silhouette, and still looks polished.
A jumper or overalls with cut-out sides can be quirky but tasteful.
Overalls or a jumper in a sleek fabric can be sexed up with side or back cut-outs, as long as they aren't more than two inches wide, and don't reveal your whole bra. Black rather than denim will look cool and quirky.
On a mini-dress, keep midriff cut-outs smaller.
Selena's mini-dress looks cute and casual without being over-the-top, because the cut-out is smaller and placed far enough below her bust. This is also a must, to avoid a visible bra or, worse, a wardrobe malfunction. She also plays down the cut-outs by dressing down the whole look with booties and a ponytail.
Keyhole cut-outs are always in style, but keep them small!
Taylor's peplum dress is sexy without looking trashy, which is helped by the small size of the square keyholes down the front. With a keyhole cut-out front and center of your dress, make sure it doesn't resemble an extreme plunging neckline, but is more of a sexy peek of skin.
Cut-out dresses that are fashion-forward and sexy, without showing too much:
This long and slinky dress from ASOS.
This short and sweet dress from Topshop.
This cute and simple shift from H&M.
This cool keyhole dress from Forever 21.
In general, look for small cutouts on otherwise covered-up silhouettes for perfectly tasteful but fashion-forward dressing!