Does an Off the Shoulder Dress Work for Broad Shouldered Women?

An off-the-shoulder dress can create a sexy, yet casual look no matter your frame. A broad-shouldered woman can wear this look by being strategic about her styling. If this is your body type, you can rock an off-the-shoulder frock by being mindful of accessory choices, color options and more.

Actress Catherine Bell shows off a stunning off-the-shoulder look. (Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Knockout in a Necklace

Adding the right necklace will break up space across the shoulders and chest, cancelling the potentially widening effect of an off-the-shoulder neckline. Broad shoulders will benefit most from a long chunky necklace, or multiple long necklaces. A thin necklace will not break up the width along the shoulders, and a short one will keep the focus on that width, rather than drawing the eye downward for a lengthy look.

Support the Slouch

Slouch in your posture is bad for the shoulders, but a slouchy dress is super-flattering for them. An off-the-shoulder neckline is much more flattering to broad shoulders if it hangs off the body a bit, rather than clinging tightly to the frame. A slouchy shoulder area will visually "swallow" the expanse of wide shoulders; a tighter one will overemphasize it. It's also wise to choose a dress with volume below the waist; this will de-emphasize the top half's width, while a narrow-looking bottom half will make shoulders look wider.

Strappy and Snappy

Rocking a wide-strap tank top or camisole underneath a dress is flattering to broad shoulders. The straps will break up the wide line of the shoulders in much the same way that a chunky necklace does. This trick works especially well with a dress that's a bit more casual, rather than one that is elegant or dressy.

Color Code

Wearing a dress of the right hue can help to soften your shoulders. Shades that are too dark, bright or otherwise harsh, play up the wide lines of your shoulders. Choose soft hues rather than harsh shades; gray is more softening than black, while a muted rosy pink is a better choice than magenta. Another option is to add a soft, long scarf to your dress; choose one in a light fabric and let it hang in the same way a necklace would to break up the expanse of your shoulders and neckline.

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