Most of the Ready-to-Wear collections coming down the runways for Spring 2016 had their version of an off-the-shoulder top. Very alluring, very ‘70s, very pretty, and super fresh. The examples here provide a good representation of the style. 

Most of the fabrications in this silhouette are soft and delicate, although it can work as well in a stiff and crisp shirting fabric. Most versions are wovens, but knitted versions are available too. Patterned, solid, ruffled, sleek, dressy or casual, the billowing off-the-shoulder top exudes a sensual and romantic vibe. Wear the top with jeans, skirts, shorts, trousers or culottes. Leave it out, wear it tucked or semi tucked. 

Clearly this is not a career wear top, or “everyday” top even in its most casual form. It exposes too much skin for many office settings, and it’s a little impractical to wear day to day because the neckline shifts when you move around too much, or lift your arms. It’s more of a going out, beach wear, resort wear, or patio party top. And yes, you’d have to wear a strapless bra. 

I like the style of the off-the-shoulder top because it exposes the less predictable gorgeous parts of the body like the neck, shoulder, collarbone and top of the back. Off-the-shoulder tops have the added advantage of arm coverage for a little extra insulation, so they don’t seem as exposed as you think, and they’re more covered than a strapless top. 

I don’t know when I’d wear an off-the-shoulder top because I think I’d be too cold in an air-conditioned setting, or out at night in Seattle. And I don’t want to cover its beautiful lines with a topper. We also don’t have a hot tropical holiday planned on the calendar. But you never know. Perhaps I’ll find a way to wear one on a balmy Summer day or night. Over to you. What do you think of off-the-shoulder tops, and would you wear one?

TAMARA MELLON Off-the-shoulder Printed Silk BlouseTIBI Amara Off-the-shoulder Printed Silk-twill Top