Plus, how to wear it all year round
The off-the-shoulder trend has experienced unprecedented popularity this summer. It’s been years since a look has been so ubiquitously adored – everyone from Kendall Jenner to Duchess Catherine is on board – and reincarnated into tops, dresses, jumpsuits, and even swimwear. This morning, we tried to pose the ‘Have we reached peak…?’ question in the Marie Claire offices, but unanimously agreed that an off-shoulder-anything is too damn flattering to ever tire of.
It started on the spring/summer 2016 catwalks and soon took over Instagram, where cult shoulder-less tops including Magda Butruym’s delicious floral blouse (as seen below on RHW), and Johanna Ortiz’ ‘Tulum’ top, had us booking holidays just so we had a reasonable excuse to start building a shoulder-baring wardrobe in a wash-out British summer. New pseudonyms soon emerged, like ‘Bardot’ or ‘Cold Shoulder’, but call it what you will this little crowd pleaser was going nowhere.
‘Lyst has seen a whopping 583% increase in searches for off-the-shoulder styles since this time last year,’ Sarah Tanner, an NYC-based publicist for the ecommerce and fashion analytics site tells us, confirming the collective fervour.
It’s most obvious appeal lies in its ability to simultaneously cover up parts of our body we may not enjoy exposing, and showing off the parts we’d flaunt more often if we could, frankly. If you don’t love showing the tops of your arms, but are sick of melting on the morning commute, an off-the-shoulder silhouette takes care of everything with its breezy neckline and numerous sleeve options that range from elbow-length, to XL chipped-mani-concealing bell cuffs. Meanwhile, flaunting our clavicle – a body part that is far more attractive than it’s name would suggest – exposes two of our daintiest erogenous zones. Collar-bones and shoulder-tops are sexy in a less obvious way to cleavage.
According to some more Lyst.com intel, the piece atop all of our wish-lists is Tibi’s Off The Shoulder Dress, a simple long-sleeved cream shift dress. Shopbop.com have also seen a spike in sales for pieces from this shoulder-centric American label. ‘We spotted the off-the-shoulder trend early on starting with Amy Smilovic’s solid poplin styles for Tibi,’ Caroline Maguire, Fashion Director at Shopbop revealed. She and her trendspotters are now on the hunt for the next, next-big-thing. ‘At this point, the off-the-shoulder top is a staple, a ‘basic’ in our girls’ wardrobe, and we’re excited to see her experimenting with the next big trend: the one-shoulder top.” A close aesthetic cousin of the off-the-shoulder top, next season we’ll all be coveting single shoulder styles.
You heard it here first, people.
So, why not tap into this trend early. Tibi’s new Triacetate Asymmetrical one-shouldered top (£380) will arrive on Shopbop at the end of July, and in the meantime Acne, Marques Almeida and Johanna Ortiz have some gorgeous mono-shoulder styles available. But don’t feel as though you need to dispose of your trusty off-shoulder pieces. A little clever laying will see your this bad boy right through to winter. And by bad boy we mean ‘new basics’. Just layer a cashmere poloneck, cotton tee or frilly Victorian blouses, underneath and wear a pair of tailored trousers beneath off-shoulder dresses. Or, most genius of all, turn it into a one-shoudlered top by simply pulling one sleeve up and pushing the other down – a little jaunty layering can go a long way with this one.
Scroll on to see some frugal one-shouldered styling in action…