The shape of your shoulders can affect the overall look of an outfit and they rarely get the attention that they deserve. Clothing that fits poorly on your shoulders can ruin a chic silhouette. Do you have narrow shoulders? I do, but over the years I’ve developed strategies to flatter this part of my body.

  • Wear clothes that fit your shoulders perfectly – shoulder seams need to be snug and in the correct position. Shoulder seams that drop when they are not an intended style feature are unflattering. 
  • Select puffy sleeves – this will increase the width of your shoulders in a pretty and feminine way. But make sure that the shoulder seam of the puffed sleeve is on your shoulder. You won’t get that long lean line if it drops off your shoulder and looks too big.
  • Select big collars – large collars with oversized lapels work wonders on narrow shoulders. Polo-necks and turtle-necks are also good options.
  • Select raglan sleeves – people with broad angular shoulders should generally stick to tops with raglan sleeves. But somehow this style works perfectly for narrow shoulders as well. You never need to worry about an incorrect shoulder seam position with a raglan sleeve. 
  • Keep the stance of your jacket high – the stance (where the highest point on a jacket hits the chest) is most flattering when it buttons above your bust line. This is especially true when you are small chested.
  • Avoid boat necks, scoop necks, thin spaghetti straps, collarless shirts and jackets – these styles will make your shoulders look even narrower. Opt for wider straps on tops that are sleeveless and stick to tops that have some sort of collar.

It’s extremely important for clothing to fit you properly on your shoulders. Narrow shoulders are generally difficult to fit and especially so if you also happen to be well-endowed. Going up a size to fit your bust often leaves your shoulders swimming in extra fabric. This is when finding a good tailor is the only answer.


The grey blouse on the left was made for narrow-shouldered women. Its snug shoulder seam, puffed sleeves, gathered yoke and detailed collar flatter the models small frame perfectly. The pink shirt does exactly the opposite for the small framed model on the right. The shoulder seams drop and therefore fit her poorly. This style of shirt is better suited to curvy rounded shoulders.