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Seven Ways To Wear Mesh Outside a Locker Room

If you've ever been on receiving end of a dodgeball being whipped or were forced to learn flag football in PE, the idea of mesh might bring up some negative feelings. It stinks of a big smelly box of pinnies; it looks like something your annoying brother might wear while heading to basketball practice. Wearing it is always a last resort, something we girls do because a lady doesn't compete shirts-and-skins style.

I, too, find mesh hard to disentangle from the tragic athletic moments of my past (and oh my, friends, there are many), but the tides of fashion have given me a compelling reason to move on. Thanks to the sports-inspired trend that Isabel Marant started back in 2010 with her jersey-filled Spring/Summer 2011 show, mesh is now no longer exclusive to the playing field. I've spotted it in the hidden side panels of sheath dresses, padded with extra lining to bulk up its floppy shape and with matte, cord-like finishes in place of that standard-issue shininess. To prove just how versatile the hole-filled fabric is, I've gathered seven easy ways to wear it in the slideshow below; click through to get over your bad gym class memories now.

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1. Just on the sleeves, so there's no need to layer.

Totally see-through tops require lots of extra effort in the undergarment department. If you can't be bothered, mesh sleeves will give you the same look, sans headache.
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2. Inspired by gym shorts, but work-appropriate.

Rather than try to incorporate straight-up Champions in your everyday life, look for a tailored cut in the same kind of fabric. Something with structure will provide the ease and breathability of your workout standby, but will be so much easier to style. Face it: nothing looks good tucked into an elastic waistband.
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4. To add extra texture—not extra heat.

When you're looking for a way to beef up that standby summer combo of a basic tank top and shorts (or a skirt—or a skort!), reach for a hole-riddled sweatshirt. It's a simple way to make your outfit more interesting without sacrificing comfort.
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5. Instead of lace on a fancy party dress.

It's just as formal, but a little less prim, a little less froufrou. Try to mix in accessories with a similar push-pull; Valentino's studded patent leather flats, for instance, would be perfect.
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6. Barely peeking out from beneath a pencil skirt.

This is just the tiniest wink to the world of fourth period gym classes, after-school practices and pick-up games, but it makes a major impact. Unless you're wearing the Hope Diamond around your neck, lots of people will instantly make mention of your very cute hem.
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7. On your accessories only.

Still scared to wear mesh? Dip your big toe in the kiddie pool with some net-detailed accessories; if need be, you can always remove one midday.
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