What could be better than a dress that allows you to show some skin without risking a wardrobe malfunction? A good illusion dress keeps you covered, while allowing you to experiment with silhouettes that without a clever sheer panel, wouldn’t be possible–even if you had industrial strength double-sided tape. This is probably why celebrities love them. They can wear something sexy without it resulting in a “nip slip” headline. Rihanna seems to be the only one who doesn’t mind boob-exposing publicity.

Check out 20 celebrities who pulled off illusion dresses without the help of any magicians:

1. Beyoncé


Beyoncé wins the prize for the most creative illusion dress detail. Bey’s Grammy dress was the only time I have ever seen this faux back skirt split.

2. Jennifer MorrisonJennifer Morrison Just Wore The Only Illusion Dress You'll Ever Like

Jennifer Morrison‘s mint illusion gown is fit for a fairytale princess. I wonder if she borrowed it from the Once Upon A Time costume department?

3. Katy Perry

Katy Perry Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2010 Red Illusion Dres

Katy Perry loves sheer, illusion dresses on the red carpet and on stage. That cleavage is no magic trick, though. Wow.

4. Selena Gomez

2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals

Selena Gomez’s beaded dress appears to be a lot racier than it actually is–at least I think that is lining.

5. Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen Miu Miu Short Blue Dress Met Gala Charles James 2014

The beaded neckline on Elizabeth Olsen’s Frozen-inspired short dress would never have stayed up if it wasn’t for a nude yoke, or some Elsa-like magical powers.

6. Kylie Jennerkendall-kylie-jenner-mmvma-awards

Kendall Jenner‘s double slit dress definitely is a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, while Kylie Jenner‘s mini dress only appears that way.

 7. Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez golden globe awards red carpet fashionEven if the nude parts of Jennifer Lopez‘s dress were actually skin, she would still be more covered up than she was in that green deep-V Grammy dress from 2000.

 8. RihannaRihanna Grammys 2011 Sheer Ruffle Dress

Frankly, I’m surprised that Rihanna didn’t just wrap white feather boas around herself and forget about fashioning them into a dress. It’s not like she’s shy about nudity.

9. Gwyneth Paltrow

The 13 Most Controversial Met Gala Dresses From The Past 10 Years

Gwyneth Paltrow‘s shocking pink illusion dress is one of the more simple ones. I like the effect, but still don’t get why she wore it to the 2013 punk-themed Met Gala.

Click the next page to see more illusion dresses from celebrities including Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart, and more.

10. Rita Ora

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Rita Ora‘s crimson gown is so well done that it looks like there are flowers sprouting from her pores. In reality, that probably wouldn’t look as pretty.

11. Taylor Swift2013 American Music Awards

Taylor Swift shows her sexy side in this sequined mini, but keeps it out of slutty territory by choosing a sheer panel in the front, rather than a boob-exposing cutout.

12. Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams Cannes 2011 Red Dress

Rachel McAdams experimented with this pretty red lace illusion dress. Love the sleeve detail.

13. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals

The putty color in Jennifer Lawrence‘s mirrored dress may not match her skin tone exactly, but it still looks cool. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the sheer back:

If that sheer side panel was an actual cutout, Jennifer would have to walk very carefully.

14. Charlize Theron86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Charlize Theron wore an entirely different version of an illusion dress to the 2014 Oscars. You might think that the bodice is actually being held up by copious amounts of double-sided tape and invisible hands, but it actually has clear straps.

15. Blake Livelysavages 260612

Blake Lively‘s intricate gown looks like she has been wrapped in black tape–in the most figure-flattering way, of course.

16. Kim KardashianKim Kardashian Vs. Kendall Jenner: Who Wore Balmain Better At Vogue's Gala?

Based on the super sexy looks that Kim Kardashian has been wearing lately, I am surprised that her top is actually lined in a nude fabric.

17. Anne HathawayAnne Hathaway attends the Costume Institute Gala for the "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City.

Anne Hathaway went for an edgy black sequin gown to match her Malfoy-like hairstyle.

18.  Angelina Jolie86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsThis was such a departure from the black, form-fitting, leather dresses that Angelina Jolie normally wears. Sequins! Ivory! An illusion neck and sleeves!

19. Lea Michele


Lea Michele worked illusion sleeves without looking like a competitor on Dancing With The Stars. Bravo.

20. Kristen Stewart

tff celebrity sightings 2 070912

Kristen Stewart is a huge fan of illusion dresses. This one is a favorite of mine, especially since she paired it with her signature sneakers.

(Photos: Getty Images, Pacific Coast News WENN, Instagram)