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The off shoulder top

Off-the-shoulder tops are again having their moment and are continuing to dominate AW16 ready-to-wear runways. It’s a popular trend amongst fashionistas and celebs with Kendall Jenner, Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley seen baring their shoulders this season.

For those of you who don’t know, the off shoulder look was ‘in’ during the early to mid-1800s. It was made famous by Russian Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna when she wore a gorgeous off-the-shoulder number in 1829. Eugenie, Napoleon’s Spanish-born empress, was also a big fan of the bare shoulders and in 1855, she commissioned designer Charles Frederick Worth to create her ladies-in-waiting a collection of exclusive off shoulder designs.

Now, fast-forward 160 or so years and we find ourselves in ‘that summer’ of 1969 where people smoked dope and made love. In were the Afghan vests, bell-bottom jeans adorned with shells and flowers, and of course, the off shoulder crop top. Not so long after, Madonna declared herself not a lady but, proudly, a tramp with her exposed shoulders live in concert in 1984.

Then came the late noughties to early teenies; a time when Herve Leger’s sexy shoulder baring bandage dresses were made famous by Miranda Kerr, Victoria Beckham and Christina Aguilera. However, it was Kim Kardashian’s curves in those figure hugging Herve leger off shoulder dress that has enabled the trend to continue for many years to come.

Today, the off shoulder top has made its way back into the AW16 catwalks and is a way to achieve an effortlessly glamourous look. It’s a little bit retro but appropriate for a variety of settings and dress codes. Be it date night or wedding, here are our top tips to mastering the off shoulder top:

1)      Balance is the key. Unless you are going a music festival don’t do the off shoulder midriff top with short shorts. If you are showing too much skin on top, cover up below with at least a pencil skirt or an ankle length pant.

2)      The hottest look this season is the white off shoulder frilled top with frayed boyfriend jeans. Pair with oversized tortoise shell sunnies and an embellished ankle strap flat for a chic finish.

3)      If you have broad shoulders and a well-defined collar bone it’s a great chance to show them off. However if you are afraid to show too much shoulder or if your shoulders are too bony, try a chunky necklace or a wavy hair-do to partially cover your shoulders.

4)      If you’ve got some wobbly bits at the tum or carry more weight on your bottom half, bring the focal point back to the shoulders with an open neck top. Try a white v-neck off shoulder corset top with a full length red ball skirt for an elegant after 5 touch. Remember, highlight your assets with lighter colours and hide those not-so-nice bits with darker colours.

5)      Denim on denim. Everything denim goes this season. Try a denim off shoulder top with circle sleeves and a denim button-up A-line skirt for a retro-glam 70s look. The shoulder is the new décolleté; happy shopping.

Written by Sussan Nguyen, our Women's Fashion & Beauty Expert.

Posted by Garden City on 11 March 2016 within Fashion
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