Off-the-shoulder tops are a trend that went mainstream immediately. A new style seldom filters down to all price points across wide and deep assortments right away. This leads me to believe that fashion buyers (the people responsible for selecting the merchandise to be sold in stores), thought that the silhouette would be an instant hit. 

I like the look of the ‘70s off-the-shoulder top because its modern retro integrity gels well with my style. I love how it exposes the less predictable, but gorgeous parts of the body like the neck, shoulder, collarbone and top of the back. So I ordered J.Crew’s cotton version in citron with matching Teddie pant because I fancied the idea of a column of citron worn with white accents. 

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The off-the-shoulder top came and was a great fit. Fably crisp, a yummy colour, and in a really nice fabrication. The silhouette is alluring, gorgeous, romantic, and I felt fabulous in it — for my imaginary life. Alas, the silhouette is not work appropriate. It’s too breezy to wear out at night when most restaurants are air-conditioned. Wearing it on the shoulder didn’t work because of the volume and length of the sleeves (they look like wings), and layering over a topper ruins the lines of the cut. I even thought I could find an occasion to wear it casually at home, I was that enamored with the silhouette.

In my dreams. It’s a fun top to wear out casually on a hot day where there’s no air-conditioning. Unfortunately that’s not a common scenario in my lifestyle. So I packed it up to return. 

This got me thinking about how tricky it is to wear the off-the-shoulder style unless you can also pull the neckline onto the shoulder for coverage, AND not feel cold at the drop of a hat. Its cold shoulder cousin on the other hand, provides a similar vibe and more practical solution (see the examples below). In most cases you can wear a regular bra because the straps are built up onto the shoulder. The straps provide coverage, which make some renditions of the silhouette work appropriate. If you can wear a sleeveless top to work, you can probably wear a more covered cold shoulder top to work. You can also layer a topper more easily over a cold shoulder top.

Although I prefer the romantic look of the off-the-shoulder top, the cold shoulder top is a better fit for my lifestyle. I’ll be trying a few of those to celebrate our ongoing beautiful Summer weather.