Give summer fashion the cold shoulder

From luxury to high street, the one-shoulder trend is a tough one to shrug off

 

Last summer’s hottest buys were off-the-shoulder (OTS) dresses and tops and the trend continues to fire on all fronts – if you’ll excuse the pun. Searches for OTS peaked at 3,000 an hour for flirty Bardot tops, according to website lyst.com – and that’s just one fashion site. It’s top-to-toe in one sense in that luxury brands and the high street continue to offer variations on the theme.

Blue denim top from J Crew €70.24, jcrew.com.
Blue denim top from J Crew €70.24, jcrew.com.

Louise Kennedy’s best-selling white shirt in collaboration with Turnbull & Asser has cute cut-out shoulders and Marks & Spencer’s navy and white Autograph top tied with bows is another winner at €35. At River Island, playsuits with stretch shoulder tops look summery and OTS stripes are shown matched with ripped jeans while stretchy one-shoulder tops have frill detail on one side.

White top with embroidery €34 from Marks & Spencer.
White top with embroidery €34 from Marks & Spencer.

Fashion is all about detail and right now the emphasis is on the shoulderline and playful ways of creating interest away from the waist to what the French call the décolletage, embonpoint or the bosom area.

Nailing the trend

Cold-shouldered style can look dramatic with its focus on the collarbone, but support is what counts when one has generously endowed frontage and the question of what type of bra to wear has to come in for consideration if you want to nail the trend.

Floral jumpsuit €325 Whistles.
Floral jumpsuit €325 Whistles.

Do you show straps or not? Or do you keep your lace top up just with sheer determination? OTS flatters and has a nonchalant devil-may-care look if worn with confidence – and by drawing attention to the shoulders covers up flabby arms.

Some advice. Try tops on carefully making sure that when you move your arms around, the elasticated parts stay in place and don’t ride up, keeping the neckline straight. Solid bold colours stand out while black tops look sophisticated especially with a tan and silver jewellery. The Refinery 29 website has a short video showing how to keep the line straight using pins and elastic, a bit complicated to explain here.

Black dress €55, earrings €24, River Island.
Black dress €55, earrings €24, River Island.

OTS is flexible – tops can be worn over or under jeans, those in white cotton or lace are perfect for a seaside cover-up, OTS stripes look great with long skirts, shorts or jeans and can even be worn with a shirt underneath if bulk doesn’t present problems (visit gurl.com for ideas). Many recommend bandeau tops or rigid strapless bras with stay-put strips for total support.

Print dress by Pinko €330, antelope octahedra necklace by Beatriz Palacios €795 from Made, Powerscourt.
Print dress by Pinko €330, antelope octahedra necklace by Beatriz Palacios €795 from Made, Powerscourt.

Support

Rachelle Hanley, lingerie buyer at Arnotts, where sales of strapless bras have increased by 23 per cent this year, explains that the Wonderbra Ultimate at €49 offers long-wearing support due to extra wide wings covered in silicone dots for extra comfort. Arnotts has strapless solutions from eight brands including Chantelle, Triumph and Fantasie catering from 30C to 38G. And finally, as these looks styled by Carmel Daly illustrate, OTS tops allow for great jewellery exposure and display.

Photography Emily Quin. emilyquinn.com; Styling: Carmel Anne Daly, dalystyling.com; Ailbhe Lynch using MAC, hair Ailbhe Lynch. Models: Sadbh and Tara from lst Option Models

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