Fall & Winter

How to Wear a Cold Shoulder Top in Fall & Winter

Autumn is here, it’s getting chilly, and you may be wondering if you can still wear cold shoulder tops? The answer is yes. Cold shoulder tops are a great way to show a little skin and still have some structure. They can look perfectly fine in the fall; you just need to make a few tweaks. Here are some style tips for how to wear cold shoulder tops in fall and winter.

This is the perfect transitional cold-shoulder sweater – a light cotton knit.

Choose Heavier & Season Appropriate Fabrics

Light, thin, cold-shoulder tops in summer colors, fabrics, and prints, will look out of place in fall, no matter how you try to style them. Instead, shift to knits, which are a little heavier, warmer, and more fall-like. I have a lovely cold-shoulder cotton knit sweater in a pretty peach color that I use to bridge the gap from summer to fall. I like to wear jeans, but it also looks great with white pants (if you live in the south) or black pants.

gray cold shoulder sweater
A cold shoulder turtleneck looks fabulous in winter.

Look For Long Sleeves

It only makes sense with the colder weather that long sleeve cold shoulder tops are more practical, but they also look more seasonal. I even have a chunky knit cable sweater that is a turtleneck, and it has cold shoulders, and it’s pretty fabulous! I like to wear it with faux leather leggings and high boots.

Brown Silk cold shoulder top

Silky Fabrics are always Chic 24/12

Some of the best-looking cold shoulder tops for fall and winter are silk, satin, or some fine flowy fabric. Hard shoulder tops in these materials look elegant and expensive for cocktail parties and Holiday events. They ooze sophistication and class. They are the perfect way to be sexy without revealing too much.

This gorgeous satin blouse is an excellent example of a cold shoulder top that looks youthful and modern paired with black pants. The rich caramel color and satin finish are stunning, and the soft, blousy sleeves give this top a gentle, romantic feel.

cold shoulder top

Layer a Jacket or Blazer

Another way to wear a cold shoulder top is to layer it with a jacket. This could be something casual and edgy like a leather moto jacket or something more classic like a blazer. For example, wear the jacket over your cold shoulder top when you are going out to dinner with friends on a Saturday night. Then do the sexy reveal once you are in the restaurant and ready to have drinks and some fun.

You can also wear a blazer over a cold-shoulder top at work and leave it on. No one would ever know you had a cold shoulder top; this way, you get more wear out of your cold shoulder top. ( I would not recommend wearing a cold shoulder top to the office. It’s too alluring for work and not professional)

Pop on a Cardigan

A long cardigan is another way to work with a cold shoulder top to create a layered look or to get double-duty from a piece of clothing.

Accessorize with a Scarf

Many women over 40 yearn to dress more creatively, and cold shoulder tops are a way to do that. They are artsy and look even more creative with a scarf tied around your neck. You might want to play with this look.


off the shoulder sweater
You can wear an off-the-shoulder top in winter if the fabric is season appropriate.

Can You Wear an Off-the-Shoulder Sweater in Fall and Winter?

Off-the-shoulder tops are a little barer than cold-shoulder tops, but yes, they can be a casually chic look in the fall/winter too. I have a gorgeous knit off-the-shoulder sweater that is super soft and cozy. It’s long, like a tunic, and I like to wear it with faux leather leggings in the fall. It’s not something I would wear every day or at work, but if I have a date night with my husband or dinner with another couple on the weekend, it’s perfect. Causal, sexy, and chic!


Green Criss Cross cold shoulder top
Cold Shoulder tops are sexy year-round.

The Final Word on Cold-Shoulder Tops

You may feel self-conscious about showing off your arms, but most of us don’t mind flashing a little shoulder. The reason is simple; shoulders hardly seem to age at all. So go ahead, wear a cold shoulder top all year round to look and feel fabulous!

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Join the Conversation

8 thoughts on “How to Wear a Cold Shoulder Top in Fall & Winter

  1. I love the cold shoulder option, a little skin sass that allows a bra shoulder strap support coverage – best of all, strategic arm coverage. The bell sleeve is another flattering arm design. The perfect flattering design is a V-neck cold shoulder bell sleeve!

  2. I tried one, but if it’s hot enough to have skin showing on the shoulder, I need to wear less anyway, so this trend is not for me. I do like the bell sleeves, though.

  3. I’ve been wearing cold shoulder tops long before they became highly trendy. They used to be hard to find, and now they’re everywhere, which makes me happy! Cold shoulder tops show some of my upper arm/shoulders but cover the part of my arm that could use some toning…perfect! I am 55, petite, and have short arms, so I like the shorter sleeve or 3/4 sleeve lengths. I love cold shoulder dresses also!

  4. I love the cold shoulder look. It shows just a little skin but keeps the arms covered. I can’t wear the off-the-shoulder tops-strapless bras are too uncomfortable. I also like the bell sleeves. They add so much interest to tops.

    1. Not at all, Janelle. A long-or 3/4 sleeve cold shoulder top would be very flattering at 60, especially a soft blouse style. That touch of skin is modern and youthful. Try one with a pair of nice pants!

  5. Okay, well, cold shoulder tops don’t suit me. I’m not going to budge on this. And bell sleeves? No, not for me. I’m sitting there, fads out.

xo, Deb

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