Off-the-shoulder dresses (and tops, for that matter) have come back into fashion in a major way…did they ever really leave? There’s something effortlessly sexy about a neckline and sleeves falling casually over the shoulder.

Whether it’s a vampy, skin-tight Bardot mini dress hugging your every curve, or a casual cotton maxi worn on the beach, the off-shoulder dress has a firm place in our sartorial hearts. 

Let’s explore this endlessly versatile, feminine, and popular trend we love…

It’s all about the underwear! 

Before we get into ways to style shoulder-baring dresses, we need to talk about what to wear underneath. If you’ve got a bust, you know the importance of chosing the right bra to wear under your top, whether it’s a plain tee or an off-shoulder crop.

Strapless bras can be less than comfortable, so it’s crucial to find the right fit. Online there are many good choices see below.

Tips: 

  • Make sure the cups don’t sit too far out from your skin as you risk having a visible ridge and area of open space between you and the bra
  • Long-line styles are great for keeping lines smooth and giving a little extra grip to keep the bra where it should be
  • For bodycon styles, look for seamless styles that really hug your bust, with a little extra soft padding for shape and protection. Padded bandeau bras are great for this 
  • If you really can’t go without a super-supportive bra with shoulder straps, opt for off-shoulder dresses that have a shoulder strap as well as bardot sleeves. That way, you can embrace the trend without feeling totally unsupported! 

Power-glam: special occasion bombshell 

Celebrity inspiration: we couldn’t write this article without referencing the iconic Fashion legend Princess Diana. Specifically, the black off-the-shoulder outfit she rocked in 1994 at a Vanity Fair event.

This dress has gone down in history as the “revenge dress” (Prince Charles, breakup…long story), complete with a sleek clutch and pearl choker necklace.

We can borrow Lady Di’s classic off-shoulder style for special occasions, party season, and formal nights where a good impression is key. This is a perfect way to wear the off-shoulder trend as a formal wedding guest, gala night date, or red carpet jaunt.

How-to: 

  • Choose a boned, bustier-style design with a sweetheart neckline and fitted off-the-shoulder sleeves for ultra evening glam 
  • Make your figure pop with a fitted style and a midi-length to keep things ladylike
  • Opt for a thick, supportive fabric such as velvet or thick, lined satin 
  • To flatter your tummy and feel extra comfortable, look for a design with ruching and draping around the hips and stomach 
  • Keep things nice and secure by wearing a strapless shapewear bodysuit under the dress
  • Add sparkle to the look with a skinny, embellished belt, or a pop of diamonds on your wrist 

Read:

How to Style Denim Dresses..

42 Of the Best Dresses!

13 Best Bohemian Inspired Maxi Dresses for Summer…

How to Style Lace Dresses…

How to Style Chokers…

Summer in the fields: maxi, wedges, and a hat 

Celebrity inspiration: Sienna Miller is the unrivaled queen of bohemian Summer style. The post-beach hair, the bronzed skin, the layers of draped, patterened fabric shrouding that uber-hot bod! Let’s take a cue from our favourite English cool girl and style our off-the-shoulder outfits with breezy comfort and festival vibes at the forefront of our minds. 

How-to: 

  • Look for tiered maxi dresses with shirred off-the-shoulder necklines and ruffled sleeves 
  • Choose natural fibers such as cotton for best breathability and softness
  • Accentuate your waist with a tan leather belt
  • Complete the look with a wide-brimmed hat, gold hoop earrings, and strappy sandals in a neutral tone 
  • Find a shady place, read a book, and bask in the glory of your cute off-the-shoulder look (don’t forget the Insta posts!)

The body-con midi with a wide belt 

Celebrity inspiration:  one of the most iconic 1980s (though set in the 1960s) movies is, of course ‘Dirty Dancing’. The leading lady Jennifer Grey wore an iconic red, tight, off-the-shoulder midi dress on an 80s red carpet, accessorised with a wide, black belt at the waist. If you want to go all-out 80s and truly embrace the look, this is the right route to travel.

How-to: 

  • To make it slightly less “themed” you could try a more relaxed silhouette such as an A-line or bias cut skirt as opposed to a figure-hugging bodycon style 
  • Use the belt to play with stylish new looks with bold, clashing tones or patterns to offset the dress
  • To keep the look modern, edit it once you’re done styling, and remove any uneceassary additions for a clean, fresh look
  • For Fall styling, add a long-line coat worn open to show the belt underneath 
  • Simple pair of denim shorts
  • White pumps
  • V neck cotton bodysuit
  • Black buckle belt

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