Shoulder Sensation





By Michelle Crowe



Helena Christensen for Chanel, 1991.


The spring favorite of so many fashionistas has transitioned nicely into fall. The favorite, of course, is the off-the-shoulder silhouette, which has proven to be easier to wear than many worried it would be when it began to emerge as directional. After all, it is easy to look lovely in an Instagram post, but the all-day practicality was certainly in question earlier in the year. Once underpinnings are sorted out, an OTS top or dress really is effortless. Many feature a relaxed fit, and who doesn’t love an item that looks amazing and flatters at the same time?





This style is unabashedly feminine—many designers have heightened the femininity by using shirting fabrics often found in elegant menswear. Follow this lead for fall—Oxford cloth, poplin and even flannel all look wonderful and provide a dynamic counterpoint to the flirtiness of the bare shoulder.



Elizabeth Taylor, lifelong devotee of shoulder baring.


Flirty it is, as evidenced by Elizabeth Taylor’s lifelong fondness for off the shoulder perfectly suited both her lovely décolletage and later her magnificent jewels. Of course, she was often dressed for the screen by the legendary Edith Head, who also created iconic costumes for Grace Kelly.



An Edith Head sketch.


With both modern muses and the ladies of the silver screen as inspiration, one sort of hopes we can keep this look going year-round. Who is to say we can’t, with sweater season approaching and lots of shoulder-baring options in sumptuous knitwear, too. Those with advanced layering skills might even take a cue from the fictional Andy Sachs, beleaguered assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, and pop an off-the-shoulder sweater on over a crisp white woven. The divine Patricia Field, costume designer for the movie, concocted this look. While I don’t know if Ms. Field sketches as Edith Head did, she certainly inspires shoppers the same way as the sewing patterns Ms. Head made available through Advance and Vogue.



Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, costumed by Patricia Field for The Devil Wears Prada.


We keep up, we lovers of a head-turning—or rather shoulder-baring —look; one way or another, we find great items and make them our own. This look seems to be one we’ll be making our own for at least a few more seasons.