Move over cleavage, the new skin to bare is a little further north and it’s surprisingly sexy. Cut-out and off-the-shoulder tops are totally of the moment and were seen all over the SS 2016 runways. Thanks to well-known designers like Proenza Schouler and Edun, the sun on your shoulders look has definitely caught on among celebrities, editorial magazines, fashion bloggers, and even mainstream retailers. The good news is that this look — both „cold shoulder“ tops and dresses — can be flattering for women of all shapes and sizes.
Originating as far back as the 1800s, women have been showing off their shoulders for centuries. And much like any other fashion trend, the look has been cyclical, coming back in and out of style. Seen again in the ’60s, ’70s, and even the ’80s, this trend is not exactly innovative. However, as evidenced by its inclusion on the runways, and in fashion forward dress collections from Lyst, the top is certainly popular again. One explanation for its seemingly regular recurrence, aside from being a fresh take on regular tops and dresses, is that it’s a very forgiving piece to wear in the summertime. Off-the-shoulder styles don’t require beach ready-bodies in order to look great.
Although they aren’t likely to pass the dress code at the typical place of work, these types of peek-a-boo tops and dresses can be worn for a variety of non-professional occasions with the right accessories. From concerts to weddings to date night with your beau, there’s a look for lots of different events. Below, I’ll give you some tips on how to style and wear this history-rich style that also happens to be one of summer’s hottest trends.
If you opt for a top that’s off-the-shoulder or features cut-outs, include a variety of accessory types. For a flirty and feminine vibe, choose a pair of pretty statement earrings that graze the tops of your shoulders and wear with trousers or am A-line skirt and strappy heels. For a nod to the ’90s, pair the top with a thin choker necklace, wide leg pants, and a pair of platform sandals. And for a whimsical boho look, like Gurl editors are loving, layer several necklaces with your top and pair with a floppy hat, shorts, and combat boots. Also consider highlighting your clavicle with a dusting of shimmery powder.
When it comes to dresses that feature peek-a-boo shoulder details, play up your silhouette and have fun with your footwear. If the dress isn’t form fitting, then create that hourglass look with a belted waist. Rather than a traditional belt, use a knotted rope like Sincerely Kinsley did for a more nautical look, or a long strap that can wrap around your waist multiple times. Wear your cold shoulder dress with some of summer’s trendiest shoes. Strappy gladiators, flat sandals that tie at the ankle, or even sneakers would lend a laid back vibe. Chunky heels, mules, and platform shoes would provide a dressier look and feel.
Even when trying something new, remember to stay true to your personal style and accessorize appropriately to reflect your individuality. Now that you’ve learned a bit about how to wear and style the off-the-shoulder trend, you should be well on your way to rocking this look all summer long.
*text by Michelle Nichols