Elettra Weidemann and Hilary Rhoda recently showed up at the Council of Fashion Designers Of America Awards wearing gorgeous frocks with cut outs. When I say cut outs, I don't mean the cute artwork that my daughter brings home from preschool, I mean dresses where flesh is exposed because the fabric has been (artfully and beautifully) cut out.

Weidemann and Rhoda are beauties whose bodies lend themselves to being scantily-clad, but what about the rest of us mere mortals? Can we wear cut outs?

The answer is yes, depending on where the cut out is placed. We all have our favorite body parts, so choose an item that showcases it. Jennifer Lopez has shown off her biceps in a gold sparkly number, Scarlett Johansson bared her back in a violet lace Dolce & Gabbana number and numerous stars have worn dresses with exposed shoulders. But beware, this guideline doesn't apply to all parts of the body: Baring your belly is very dangerous and can easily cross over to tacky territory. Instead, show off your shoulders or your back, and keep the rest of your look subdued.

Here, 48 stars in cutouts show us how it's done, and 10 items that are ready for you to try out.


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  • Brooke Burke

    January 2005, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Kim Kardashian

    October 2009, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Rihanna

    November 2009, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Scarlett Johansson

    February 2011, West Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Halle Berry

    March 2011, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Blake Lively

    March 2011, Las Vegas Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Ashley Tisdale

    April 2011, New York City Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Beyoncé

    May 2011, New York City Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Halle Berry

    May 2011, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Ginnifer Goodwin

    May 2011, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Emma Roberts

    May 2011, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Leelee Sobieski

    May 2011, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

    May 2011, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Gwen Stefani

    May 2011, Cannes Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Audrina Patridge

    November 2011, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Miranda Kerr

    January 2012, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Krysten Ritter

    January 2012, Pasadena Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Dame Helen Mirren

    January 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Claire Danes

    January 2012, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Nicole Kidman

    January 2012, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Carrie Underwood

    February 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Jessica Alba

    February 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Malin Ackerman

    February 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Jennifer Lopez

    February 2012, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Jennifer Lopez

    February 2012, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Serena Williams

    February 2012, West Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Kim Kardashian

    February 2012, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Heidi Klum

    February 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Stacy Keibler

    March 2012, Beverly Hills Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    March 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • January Jones

    March 2012, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Taylor Swift

    April 2012, Las Vegas Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Olivia Munn

    April 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Natasha Bedingfield

    April 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Mischa Barton

    May 2012, London Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Liv Tyler

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Chloe Sevigny

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Ginnifer Goodwin

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Ivanka Trump

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Elizabeth Banks

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Nikki Reed

    May 2012, Hollywood Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Zooey Deschanel

    May 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Jessica Alba

    June 2012, Beijing Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Brooke Hogan

    June 2012, Universal City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Kate Bosworth

    June 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Elettra Wiedemann

    June 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Hilary Rhoda

    June 2012, New York City Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Malin Akerman

    June 2012, Los Angeles Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Topshop Fluro Twist Cutout Bodycon Dress, $72

    <a href="http://us.topshop.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=33060&storeId=13052&productId=5332544&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=208634&parent_categoryId=208580&pageSize=20&refinements=category~[276010|208634]&noOfRefinements=1&siteID=J84DHJLQkR4-jJg8qsFiNhtRMjQpGLN.7A&cmpid=aff_ls_tsus&_$ja=tsid:21416|prd:J84DHJLQkR4" target="_hplink">Topshop</a>

  • Rory Beca "Kelly" Cutout Silk Dress, $216

    <a href="http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/rory-beca-kelly-cutout-silk-dress/3299920?origin=category&cm_ven=Linkshare&cm_cat=partner&cm_pla=10&cm_ite=1&siteId=J84DHJLQkR4-EwhzYUJyEF9KU2lTANvneQ" target="_hplink">Nordstrom </a>

  • Forever 21 Floral Silhouette Dress, $15

    <a href="http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=dress&ProductID=2000039416&VariantID=" target="_hplink">Forever 21</a>