Off-the-shoulder evening dresses are having a major moment right now. This romantic, flattering silhouette is perfect for showing off your shoulders and collarbone in a beautiful and elegant way. But not all off-the-shoulder styles are created equal. The key to rocking this look is choosing the right neckline for your body type.
In this post, we’ll go over the different off-the-shoulder necklines and provide style tips on how to select the most flattering option for your shape. Whether you’re pear, apple, hourglass or rectangle, we’ve got you covered. Read on for the complete guide to choosing an off-the-shoulder evening dress that accentuates your assets and downplays any problem areas.
The Anatomy of an Off-the-Shoulder Neckline
Before we get into specifics, let’s quickly review the characteristic features of an off-the-shoulder dress neckline:
- The shoulders are left enticingly bare while the neckline tightly hugs the collarbone area.
- The sleeves can range from long to short, or sleeveless for a more sensual look.
- The bodice is often fitted and structured to keep the top portion of the dress securely in place.
- The neckline can be straight across or curved into sweetheart, cowl, or bateau shapes.
- There is no cleavage visible, creating an alluring but modest effect.
Now let’s see how we can optimize these beautiful necklines for your body shape.
If you’ve got curves in all the right places, the hourglass is probably your body type. With fuller busts and hips and a nipped-in waist, hourglass figures shine in off-the-shoulder styles that show off their assets.
- Sweetheart necklines: The curved sweetheart shape mirrors your natural hourglass proportions, adding definition along your bustline. The scooped neck shows just a hint of cleavage while keeping the overall look classy.
- Structured bodices: Choose an evening dress with a structured, tailored bodice that accentuates your waist. Avoid anything too loose or flowy.
- Open back: Backless dresses are incredibly sexy and on-trend. The open back helps balance out the fuller coverage in the front for an overall bombshell effect.
- A-line skirts: An A-line skirt that flares gently from the waist down is ideal for balancing and accentuating your hourglass shape.
Tip: Cinch in your waist further by adding a thin belt. This will emphasize your enviable curves to full effect.
Pear Shaped Figure
If you carry more weight in your hips, butt and thighs than your upper body, a pear shape flatters you most. Play up your beautiful shoulders, arms and décolletage with these neckline tips:
- Off-shoulder bateau: The horizontal bateau neckline works with your shoulders to draw attention upwards, balancing out wider hips. Look for a straight-across front with cap or short sleeves.
- Boat neck variation: A wide boat neck shows off collar bones and adds definition along your neck and shoulder line. Boat necks work especially well on A-line dresses.
- Cowl or draped neck: These soft, asymmetric necklines are super sleek and slimming. The folds of fabric elegantly drape around your shoulders in an elongating effect.
- Strapless style: Going strapless on a full-skirted evening gown is a go-to option for pear shapes. It puts the focus entirely on your bare shoulders and neck.
Tip: If you want to minimize a thicker midsection too, a dark coloured bodice with a lighter coloured skirt visually camouflages width at the waist.
Rectangle Body Shape
If you have an athletic, ruler-shaped figure with minimal curves, an off-the-shoulder style adds softness and femininity. Try these tips to highlight your best assets:
- Sweetheart neckline: The sweetheart shape adds subtle curves along your straight bustline. Make sure to fill out the neckline for the most flattering effect.
- Cowl neck: The fluid look of a cowl neckline brings movement to your straight frame. It also creates the illusion of curves.
- Bell sleeves: Chic bell sleeves (wider at the bottom than top) lend volume and shape around your shoulders and arms. Bare sculpted shoulders above billowy bell sleeves is ultra-romantic.
- Low back: Take advantage of a low, wide-cut back on your dress to show off toned shoulder muscles. This creates elegant physical definition.
Tip: Seek out ruched, shirred or wrapped bodices that add shape and curves to your silhouette. Extra embellishments like jewels, sequins or feathers around the shoulders also adds noticeable shape.
Apple Body Shape
Fuller around the bust and midsection than the lower body, the apple silhouette looks for necklines that draw eyes downwards. Test out these apple-flattering options:
- Bateau neckline: The bateau’s horizontal line visually widens shoulders and collarbones, balancing fullness below. Make sure the neckline sits close to the collarbone; too low defeats the purpose.
- Asymmetric neck: An asymmetric or off-center neck bares one shoulder more than the other. This imbalance tricks the eye downwards.
- V-neck: A deep V-neck that ends around the bust rather than higher on the collarbone has an elongating effect. Choose a gradual, rounded V rather than severe, pointy angles.
- Cold shoulder cut-out: The cut-out shoulder trend is made for apple shapes. A bare shoulder bisected by fabric is slimming and allows you to show some skin.
Tip: Princess seams and paneled A-line skirts nip in under the bust before flowing out over the midsection for a smoothing effect.
Pro Styling Tips for All Body Types
Beyond choosing a neckline style that suits your shape, there are some pro styling tricks that make off-the-shoulder look fabulous:
- Go sleeveless to maximize bare shoulder appeal. Or try breezy bell sleeves. Avoid anything too snug on your upper arms.
- Stilettos visually lengthen legs. Peep-toe shoes extend the line of the leg.
- Big statement earrings draw eyes upwards to your face and shoulders. Chandelier, tassel and shoulder dusting styles work well.
- Keep accessories delicate. Avoid necklaces so as not to clutter the off-shoulder focal point.
- Sleek straightened hair shows off shoulders. An up-do also keeps your neck area clean.
- Play up your shoulders! Choose strapless bras so lines don’t show and apply body bronzer or highlighter cream along the décolleté.
Off-the-shoulder Evening Dresses from Ever Pretty
If you're looking for a stunning off-the-shoulder evening dress for your next formal event, consider the gorgeous options from Ever Pretty. We offer a variety of flattering silhouettes and details to suit different body types.
Some of our standout off-the-shoulder styles include:
- Chiffon Maxi Off-the-shoulder Dress with Side Slit
- Off-the-shoulder Sweetheart Tulle Evening Dress
- Floral Print Off-the-shoulder Summer Dress
- High Slit Strapless A-Line Evening Dress
- Off-the-shoulder High Low Dress
- Off-the-shoulder Evening Gown with Tulle Sleeves
- Ruffled Off-the-shoulder Evening Dress
- Off-the-shoulder Sweetheart Mermaid Dress
- Beaded Fringe Off-the-shoulder Bodycon Dress
With the right off-the-shoulder style, you can’t go wrong showing off those sexy shoulders. Have fun rocking this stunning look and turning heads wherever you go! Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips for dressing different body types in off-the-shoulder evening gowns. we’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Can petite individuals wear off-the-shoulder dresses?
- Absolutely! Petite individuals can rock off-the-shoulder dresses by choosing styles that create an elongated silhouette, such as V-necklines.
- Are there off-the-shoulder dresses for plus-size women?
- Yes, many designers offer off-the-shoulder dresses in plus sizes. Opt for plus size dresses with supportive structures and necklines that flatter your curves.
- Can off-the-shoulder dresses be worn casually?
- Definitely! Off-the-shoulder dresses can be dressed down for casual outings by pairing them with flats and minimal accessories.
- How do I prevent my off-the-shoulder dress from slipping?
- To prevent slipping, choose dresses with built-in grip strips or consider using fashion tape to secure the neckline in place.
- Where can I find a variety of off-the-shoulder evening dresses?
- You can explore fashion boutiques, department stores, and online retailers to find a wide range of off-the-shoulder evening dresses that suit your style.