Is it time to cold-shoulder the cold-shoulder top? Not yet (unfortunately)

L to r: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Antonio Berardi, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Cynthia Rowley, Emanuel Ungaro

L to r: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Antonio Berardi, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Cynthia Rowley, Emanuel Ungaro

Let me confess – I don’t like ‘cold-shoulder’ tops. Apart from the fact that they really do mean your shoulders get cold (try finding jackets that work with these tops), they just don’t feel that comfortable.

You can’t just throw one on and feel it’ll work hard all day. Regular adjustment is required – keeping your top from riding up/falling down has its challenges, as does the prospect of dealing day-long with a strapless bra.

And all those fitted jersey tops with cutout shoulders can look a bit like a designer has taken an existing style and just chopped a couple of chunks out of it.

No, they’re not for me. But judging by the number of cold-shoulder tops that have been flying off the shelves since last summer, I might be the only person on the planet who feels that way. We all know that stores sell a lot more tops for every single pair of trousers or skirt they manage to shift and in the past year, they’ve certainly been moving A LOT of cold-shoulder tops.

L to r: Carven, Ji Oh, Off-White, Tibi

L to r: Carven, Ji Oh, Off-White, Tibi

This is one trend, it seems, that’s set to run and run so I’ll just have to get used to it. The pre-summer (Resort) 2018 collections that are coming thick and fast at present make that very clear. Pre-collections are always the most commercial of all the style ideas labels put out there and the pre-summer offer is liberally dotted with cold-shoulder tops. So no cold-shoulder for the cold-shoulder trend just yet.

So what’s the trend doing this pre-season? Designers are, of course, still embracing the Bardot top and the chopped-off shirt. They’ve been trend gold0dust in recent seasons so they’re not going away any time soon. But there’s also a move towards asymmetry with one-shoulder cuts, off-kilter necklines or “it-just-slipped-down” styling.

There’s a retro feel too as the Bardot evolves into the Power Peasant – think 70s YSL and you’ve got the picture. Retro kicks in too for the dressiest interpretation of the look as Studio 54 tops shout DISCO, or that other shoulder trend from the 80s sees strapless and one-shoulder hitting structured occasion mini dresses.

One key detail that carries through for the new pre-season is the carefully-placed strap (or maybe we should call it the security strap as it’s a big help for anyone not feeling 100% confident about their top’s ability to stay in place). Designers combine it with one-shoulder looks or with simple draped effects to add interest to a simple neckline.

How long have we got before there are more cold-shoulder tops in bargain bin than on the full-price rails?  Sorry, I don’t have a crystal ball…

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