To Cut-Out…Or Not To Cut-Out


by Irene Feeney Steele


“Why are there holes in your dress?” asked my husband (interestingly something I could actually hear my father say!) as I revealed my #OOTN before we headed out for dinner the other night. “It’s just a trend”…I uttered back knowing full-well the anxiety I had worrying about how my ‘rolls’ would look in said dress with a gaping hole each side of my midriff, what would happen when I sit down to eat and the constant thought of ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ going through my head. But it’s a trend I had fully committed to and invested in that evening and I made damn sure I felt as confident and good in my body as a twenty-something wearing it (even though secretly – I was still on the fence and unsure).


Peek-a-boo fashion seems to be everywhere right now – from cropped tops and bralets to cut-outs in bodycon dresses and skirts (have you seen the thigh cut-outs??) to backless and key-hole tops. Let’s be honest here though – cutouts and cropped tops are not everyone’s friend, nor were they designed to be. Exposing more skin than one should is nothing new and there will always be people who embrace the style and those who run away faster than you can say ‘is that a side boob?’


So with the trend here to stay (for a while at least) and every second merchandised rail in the shops these days and online full to the brim of flesh baring clothing – should we embrace it or just tolerate it? I’ve devised a few different ways for you to give it a go…if you’re up for it that is!


  • Remember you don’t need to go full-on flesh-baring mode. If you really want to show a nod towards the trend and have a slither of skin on show - a high-slit in your dress or skirt, a cute keyhole at the back or cropped top with super high-waisted trousers can be enough to retain modesty.

  • A cut-out shoulder is probably one of the best ways to fully embrace the trend and suits all ages. It’s classy without being trashy. You can feel sexy and chic at the same time plus the top can look great with skirts, trousers and jeans. In staying with that particular body-part – off-the-shoulder and one-shoulder tops and dresses are equally as flattering and easy to wear ensuring you are totally rocking the cut-out trend.

  • If you want to don the popular side cut-out trend – here’s a little tip. Look for dresses/tops where the cut-out is higher up and close to the bust line, this way - your midsection will be still conveniently covered.

  • The front cut-out can be tricky and I feel it’s the one most people are self-conscious about. If you’re a tad nervous about this one and don’t feel you have the tanned and taut midriff that you would like, opt for small cut-out shapes nearer the bust-line (an inadvertent triangle is good here) which can still retain an air of modesty instead of the styles which give an illusion of separates with the mid-section exposed.

  • Back cut-outs are up there with the shoulder game. They can be flattering and understated and depending how comfortable you are with your body – can be daring with an element of sexiness.

  • Underwear – this is important. Think carefully about your undergarments with cut-out clothing. Opt for skin-colour if possible and get creative with your bra’s where needs be. If that means strapless, stick-on bras, transparent straps or low-back bras – take this into consideration.

  • Lastly and more importantly – always feel good in what you wear. If you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t wear it – it’s as simple as that.


“It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it”

- Rachel Stevens