November 30th 2015
by Alyson Walsh
My Note: This is mt favorite look; age be dammed. It is feminine and stylish. It draws one eyes up to the face and always looks put-together. .
As most of us tend to be more covered up as we get older, it’s pleasing when fashion throws up an age-defying style that offers us a chic way to reveal some flesh and make the most of the latest erogenous zone. Off-the-shoulder tops are having an oh-so-democratic fashion moment and I for one will be showing some shoulder (just as soon as I sort out a new strapless bra). Sarah Rutson, vice-president of global buying at Net-a-Porter is another fan. “As someone who is themselves hurtling towards 50, I love off-the-shoulder,” she says. “It’s elegant and it doesn’t age. No one has bad shoulders.”
I’ve written about off-the-shoulder styles for the Guardian but my main tip is: don’t be fazed by fashion, or those silly you can/you can’t rules. Simply wear an off-the shoulder top like a regular shirt or sweater; with a pencil skirt, cropped and wide leg trousers or culottes. Add a pair of statement earrings and shimmy.
Pay homage to the original shoulder-baring star by wearing a Bardot top with cropped pants or a pencil skirt. Baukjen’s Ashby top has been leading the company’s bestsellers list all year and, due to popular demand, is being repeated next season in different colours (baukjen.com). And as some off-the-shoulder styles are quite cropped, a high-waisted pencil skirt is a good way to keep the midriff covered.
Wear it like a white shirt
Don’t let fashion faze you. Just buy a flesh-coloured strapless bra and wear an off-the-shoulder top with a pair of favourite trousers. Wide-leg tweed styles offer a neat juxtaposition, black is always a chic evening option or “do a Dorrie” and opt for a pair of fancy pants. Tibi’s stretch crepe top from Matchesfashion.com is the perfect shape.
Speaking of bras …
The only resistance I’ve ever found to this universally flattering style is the fact that it can only really be worn with a strapless bra – but it’s a myth that strapless styles are never supportive. Figleaves has a fantastic selection online if you’re confident about sizing, and M&S and Debenhams have a smaller range, including styles for bigger boobs. Take the top with you when you go in store to try a bra on and, with a white off-the-shoulder top, look for a shade that matches your flesh. And if you really can’t face an evening without bra straps, a semi-cold shoulder dress is also an option, too.
Say hello to the 70s
Shoulder-free definitely doesn’t have to be constrictive or bodycon. Choose a looser fitting style – Zara has a couple of blouses and Tibi’s chambray top comes in pale and dark denim washes. Fashion tip: if you’re going boho with the top half, keep everything else sharp and tailored to avoid the Haight-Ashbury vibe. Think jeans or culottes and snakeprint boots.
Style it out on the Christmas party circuit with plenty of shoulder action. Try this Self-Portrait off-the-shoulder lace-trim top with simple black trousers, or Fïnery’s Sackville Stripe asymmetric dress (available in December) looks striking and modern and doesn’t need accessorising, while Coast’s Pippen knit dress with trumpet sleeves and plum jersey Bryony dress offer a more demure take on the trend. Just add a pair of chandelier earrings and shimmy.