ASK STYLE

Show off your shoulders

Pull off the exposed shoulders trend with minimal accessories

What is the exposed shoulder trend and how do I pull it off for work?

For Spring 2016, designers at fashion labels such as Givenchy and Wes Gordon could not wait to strip off the heavy coats and sweaters from Fall 2015.

The oft-neglected body part was exposed in every way imaginable, from tops with cut-out shoulders to racerback styles.

Veteran fashion stylist Daniel Goh says that it is important that skin is "flawless and blemish-free, with no obvious tan lines".

With shoulders as the focus, Goh advises against piling on the accessories. This trend is also best styled with natural-looking make-up and neat hair.


PHOTOS: NET-A-PORTER, ZARA, COS, SWAROVSKI, MANGO, UNIQLO

Choosing the right type of underwear is essential too. Go for a strapless bra and steer clear of bras with transparent plastic straps as they look tacky.

Goh, who declines to reveal his age, has these tips on how to make exposed shoulder styles work for the office: •

HALTERNECK

Unless you layer a halterneck with a collared shirt, you will not be able to get away with exposing that much skin at the office. Wear a chic halterneck jumpsuit in a flattering loose cut and cover up with a sharp blazer or vest during work hours.

As the style can look retro, Goh recommends staying clear of hoop earrings. Chokers and necklaces can also interfere with the neckline, so accessorise with small stud earrings instead.

Those with broad shoulders should avoid halternecks, as these will make the upper body appear disproportionately wider compared with the waist.

RACERBACK

Go for a dress with a racerback to show off toned arms. Pick one in a solid colour and avoid prints - you do not want to look like you are going to the gym, says Goh

CUT-OUT SHOULDERS

Cut-out shoulders, otherwise known as the "cold shoulder" style, is great for those with narrow shoulders. Goh advises styling it with pants or a skirt with a simple silhouette - avoid skirts with ruffles or flared pants.

1. Purple New Claire asymmetric mini dress, US$429 (S$610.40), from Elizabeth and James from www.net-a-porter.com

This dark purple racerback dress is an alternative to the little black dress.

2. Blue frilled poplin shirt, $55.90, from Zara

The playful frills on this top is more fun than sexy.

3. Grey top with cut-out shoulders, $175, from Cos

The clean and slim-fit cut of this top means you can pair it with anything, from skirt to trousers

4. Edify earrings, $170, from Swarovski

These 2cm-long earring can be worn two ways - the rose gold-plated and crystal pave V-shaped backing can be worn behind the earlobe or removed and worn as stud earrings - a good choice for halternecks since you want to keep accessories to a minimum.

5. Black halterneck jumpsuit, $95.90, from Mango

Layer a shirt underneath this jumpsuit or cover up with a blazer.

6. Grey ankle-length pants, $49.90, from Uniqlo

With shoulders being the highlight, keep what you wear on the bottom modest and simple, like this pair of pants.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Show off your shoulders'. Print Edition | Subscribe