Pre-fall 2016 trend: Cold shoulder

holding board

Get ready for chilly shoulders throughout 2016 because try as you might to resist it, the off-the-shoulder trend is set to be big. That’s B.I.G. It’s being pushed by high-end labels and the high street is likely to fall in line.

Ok, first the disclosure. I’ve never been fond of off-the-shoulder looks. In my youth, there was always a bit too much of the “I’m so sexy” about those faux-casual-it-just-slipped-down tops for a blippy-looking shy teen. And in middle age… well, the pitfalls are many and varied.

But next year, off-the-shoulder can’t be ignored. How so, celebs started buying into Bardot tops in a big way this year and the SS16 runways were awash with Bardot necklines too, as well as shoulder cutouts. Yasmin Sewell carried off the look at the British Fashion Awards and as she’s recently been named fashion director of, what she’s likes will be hugely influential.

I’ve finally given in after finding a knock ‘em dead current-season off-the-shoulder biker jacket by Faith Connexion (for a fraction of the discount price now that the sales have started) on re-sale website Vestiaire Collective.

Now the pre-fall collections have confirmed the trend and it looks like shoulder-baring is taking four, distinct directions that vary in their commitment to the cause. None of them are about one bare shoulder – this look takes a commitment to two very chilly shoulders or it simply doesn’t work.

Cool cutouts

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Preen, Versace, Ohne Titel, Versace, Preen

Take a dress or top – any dress or top – cut out a chunk on the shoulders. That’s it. Actually that’s not completely it, but the point here is that this is the simplest way into the look is just a cutout. Taken further, the effect can be created by layering or by not joining the fabric along the shoulderline to give a softer effect.

Keep it easy

Easy board

ALC, J Mendel, Preen, J Mendel, J Mendel

Nervous about wearing off-the shoulder necklines? That’s no surprise as some require a heavy level of elastic or boning to guarantee staying in place. But there’s an alternative – small straps hold the top in place while still tapping into the trend. Simple really…

Vive la Bardot

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Tory Burch, Rag & Bone, Elizabeth & James, Ohne Titel

Elastic makers of the world must be rubbing their hands together in glee on this one. It’s a full-commitment off-the-shoulder look for day or evening, casual urban or vacation dressing. Keep it simple with a horizontal neckline comprising a single length of encased elastic or a more peasant-inspired shirred neckline. It works on realxed tops and sundresses – I particularly like Rag & Bone’s shirt.

Taken to the max

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Sachin & Babi, Preen, Sachin & Babi, Ohne Titel, Ohne Titel

Maximum commitment to the look also means maximum commitment to making sure it stays in place! That issue aside, the most extreme off-shoulder looks are fully shoulder-baring and make a feature of the neckline/sleeve interaction. In fact, some of them are simply strapless-plus-detached sleeves and, as a result, work best for occasion and partywear.

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