If you’re a broad-shouldered woman and you think off-shoulder outfits are unflattering and “manly” on you, this article is for you. Here, you’ll learn how to pick them so they create a flattering silhouette.
So can broad shoulders wear off shoulder outfits? Broad shoulders can wear off shoulder outfits and look great. In fact, they should be broad-shouldered women’s go-to outfits because they showcase the shoulders’ natural shape. When the natural shape of the shoulders is highlighted, it results in a flattering ensemble. There are, however, other factors to consider when choosing the right off-shoulder outfits for you.
Why off-shoulders look great on broad shoulders
Time and again, conventional fashion advice has been telling women to mimic an hourglass figure: curvy waist and balanced shoulder-to-hip ratio.
However, from an aesthetic point of view, zero ideology attached, this advice is problematic.
Dressing like an hourglass would only look off, dull, and unflattering for a non-hourglass. The same is true for an hourglass wearing a non-hourglass outfit.
Simply put, your outfit should follow the natural lines and shapes of your bones.
In the case of off-shoulder outfits, they’re flattering on broad shoulders because they do NOT restrict the natural width of the shoulders.
If you’re still not convinced, read Why Broad Shoulders Should Never Be Downplayed. There, I detailed why the mimic-an-hourglass technique is hit-or-miss, and only when you accommodate the broadness of your shoulders can you truly achieve a flattering ensemble.
How to pick off-shoulder outfits for broad shoulders
What exactly does shoulder accommodation with off-shoulder outfits look like? Follow these guidelines and learn how to pick the best off-shoulder pieces for your wide shoulders.
Step 1: Determine the natural shape of your shoulders.
Broad shoulders come in two shapes: angular or rounded. So before knowing the best off-shoulder outfits for you, you first have to determine the natural shape of your shoulders.
Angular, broad shoulders usually have the following body shapes:
- inverted triangle (regular and plus size)
- plus size rectangle
- muscular rectangle
Rounded, broad shoulders, on the other hand, are usually:
- plus size hourglass
- plus size apple
To determine whether you have rounded or angular shoulders, do this exercise:
- Facing a whole-length mirror, take a photo of your whole body in a bikini.
- Print the photo.
- With a pen, trace the natural shape of your shoulders. Is it angular? Or is it rounded?
Step 2: Honor the broadness and the shape of your shoulders.
If you have broad, angular shoulders, the outfit must honor your shoulder’s angularity. Wide on top (shoulders) then a slight tapering as the fabric travels down the curve of your waist.
This off-shoulder dress is flattering for a broad-shouldered woman because it doesn’t restrict the shoulders’ natural shape but instead shows it off.
This is what it means to “accommodate” the shape of your shoulders.
On the other hand, this is how it looks when an off-shoulder fails to honor the broadness of your shoulders.
The silhouette of this dress does not mimic that of an inverted triangle. Instead, it’s straight. The result? An unflattering ensemble.
Now if the material was made of a different fabric with better stretch and fit, this could be remedied. Here’s a similar off-shoulder dress but with a better fit and stretch.
Here, if we trace the outline of the shoulders, we can clearly see the tapering that’s inherent to broad, angular shoulders.
Therefore, if you have broad, angular shoulders, always look for that angular, tapering line that’s inherent to your natural shape. If it looks nothing like your real shoulder shape, it’ll result in a dull and unflattering look.
Let’s see what shoulder accommodation looks like on broad, rounded shoulders:
As you can see, these outfits do a great job of highlighting the roundness of the shoulders.
Because puff sleeves are round by default, they simply look flattering on rounded shoulders. It’s important to note that they could also look great on angular shoulders with careful styling.
Here, the models are wearing straight and ruffled necklines. Rounded shoulders can never go wrong with ruffles. Angular shoulders, however, should wear them in moderation.
But as long as you can trace the roundness or the angularity of your shoulders on the final look, your silhouette will end up looking great.
So you see, off-shoulders can be either flattering or unflattering on broad shoulders depending on their fit and stretch on the body. As long as the outfit follows the natural shape of your shoulders (rounded or angular), the final silhouette would simply look amazing.
If you need a more comprehensive guide on styling broad shoulders, head over to this article: How to Dress Broad Shoulders: A No-BS Guide.
Broad shoulders are not something to be hidden, nor considered ugly and inelegant. Sure, they look nothing like the delicate, feminine shoulders that the mainstream media is pushing everyone to strive for but that’s because broad shoulders possess a different kind of beauty.
They drape and hang fabric elegantly and they’re graceful in their own way.
From an aesthetic point of view, delicate shoulders are one thing and broad shoulders are another. They’re two different forms of expression. One is NOT better than the other. They’re simply different and should be expressed differently.
Only when they’re truly honored do their real beauty shines through.
- With aesthetics, there is no such thing as ugly as long as you can find the best elements that complement it.
- Off-shoulder outfits, by default, look great on broad shoulders simply because they showcase the shoulders elegantly instead of hiding them.
- When wearing an off-shoulder outfit, ensure that it follows the natural shape of your shoulders whether it’s angular or rounded.
- Off-shoulders that look good on rounded shoulders could also look great on angular shoulders and vice versa.
- It has nothing to do with the style and neckline but everything to do with how the fabric lays and harmonizes with your bone shape (a.k.a. the fit).
- Two off-shoulders might look identical in style but one could be flattering on you while the other not. Again, it has everything to do with the fabric fit and stretchability.
- Therefore, the only way to find out whether or not an off-shoulder outfit would look flattering is to try it on.