Five tips for dressing with broad shoulders

September 5, 2017 Published by Alexia Alterations
Christy Turlington for Versace, by Richard Avedon, 1987. Shoulder pads

Five tips for dressing with broad shoulders

September 5, 2017 Published by Alexia Alterations

There’s a reason why shoulder pads, all the rage in the Eighties and Nineties, are having a comeback on the runways of today. Broad shoulders are a symbol of power, not to mention a dramatic and high fashion look. It’s a feature often seen on swimmers, athletes and supermodels (think Naomi Campbell, Miranda Kerr, and Heidi Klum), and some even say broad shoulders make clothes hang better on the body.

But the ‘inverted triangle’ body shape, as it’s sometimes known, has an undeservedly bad reputation. Women with broad shoulders are sometimes labelled ‘athletic’ or ‘tomboyish’ and they might struggle to find flattering clothes. We wholeheartedly maintain that it’s a beautiful look, but if you find that your broad shoulders sometimes make you self-conscious, say no more. Here are a few tips and tricks to play them down.

1. Select details that draw the eye up and down, rather than horizontal.

Whether it’s a deep V-neck, vertical embellishments or a long necklace, vertical accents elongate your upper half, making your shoulders appear narrower. Why not try sequins or pleats for a polished look.

CHANEL N°5 The One That I Want Gisele Bundchen

CHANEL N°5 The One That I Want Gisele Bundchen

2. Choose the right sleeve shape.

Raglan sleeves are constructed with a diagonal hem that softens the angles of your upper half, thereby narrowing your shoulders. Bell sleeves that are flared at the bottom are another stylish choice, since they take the focus away from your shoulders. Try to avoid cap sleeves that are cut on the horizontal and appear to add extra width.

Ralph & Russo S/S 2016

Ralph & Russo S/S 2016

3. When choosing vest straps, thick is better than thin.

More material breaks up the broadness of your shoulders, making them appear smaller.

Edita Vilkeviciute in WSJ. Magazine April 2016 by Cass Bird

Edita Vilkeviciute in WSJ. Magazine April 2016 by Cass Bird

4. Wear lightweight fabric around your shoulders.

Opt for flowy fabric around the shoulders rather than anything structured, gathered or heavy. You’re trying to make sure your shoulders aren’t the focal point, so padding and embellishments are a no-no if you want to draw attention away from that area.

KATE HUDSON in a blush J. Mendel dress

KATE HUDSON in a blush J. Mendel dress

5. Add more volume to your lower half to offset broad shoulders.

You can offset a broad upper half by balancing it out with wide-leg trousers or a full skirt. One issue with broad shoulders is that they can appear disproportionate to the rest of the body. By adding more volume to your lower half, you create the illusion of proportion. Choosing darker colours up top and lighter shades on your bottom half does the trick, too.

Natalie Portman for Dior

Natalie Portman for Dior

 

When all’s said and done, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in the clothes that you wear. As always, here at Alexia Alterations we’re happy to alter your garments to suit your frame, whether it be lengthening hems, removing shoulder pads or adding a few glittering embellishments. Contact us or book an appointment to see for yourself!

 

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