How to Style a One Shoulder Dress For a Formal Event

One of my favorite photos from my e-book: Tweak Your Chic- Mother of the Bride is a blue one-shoulder dress from David’s Bridal. It’s a popular style for weddings, parties, and other celebrations.

The one-shoulder look is great for women 40+ because it reveals just enough skin to be sexy, but it won’t make you feel uncomfortable or make you look like you are trying too hard. It’s a very elegant style. Think Grecian goddess.

Recently, I received this interesting email from my reader Wendy, who was wondering how to accessorize a one-shoulder dress. She wrote:

Hi Deborah,

Should  I only wear earrings (large enough to be noticed, with some sparkle) if I’m wearing a one-shoulder dress?

That’s a great question, and I’m pleased to say my reader is right on with her thinking. A one-shoulder dress does not require a necklace.


What formal events are appropriate for a to wear a one-shoulder dress

what bra for a shoulder dress

What jewelry with a one-shoulder dress

How to Accessorize a shoulder dress

Othe thing =s about how to wear a one-shoulder dress

mother of the bride in gold

The unique neckline of the one-shoulder dress should be the focal point. A necklace is distracting because it competes with the beautiful shoulder draping. In the case of the dress above, it would also clash with the beading.

As for earrings, yes, perfect! Earrings add some lovely sparkle up to your face and balance the dress however you need to experiment with earrings because a lot of it depends on how you wear your hair. The main thing when choosing earrings is you don’t want your earrings to overpower. The scale is important. They need to work with your size and bone structure.



mob Jessica Wilen, Cathy Schaffner

For example, if you are petite and fine-featured, then large, heavy chandelier earrings could ruin the balance.  On the other hand, a tiny stud or button earring could look too uptight and businesslike for a party dress like this.  A small to medium drop or chandelier earring, on the fine side, would work best in this case.

So the bottom line is when you have an unusual neckline like one shoulder it should be your fashion focal point. Don’t ruin the effect with too much jewelry! A pair of earrings and/or a bracelet worn on the wrist opposite the shoulder strap would look perfect.

mob Ashley Mouton, Alsion Bookheimer

Here are some other one-shoulder dresses in stores right now:





This purple one-shoulder dress (Sangria) with the beaded gunmetal brooch at the waist is one of my favorites. In this case, the brooch is the accessory. Don’t take away from this focal point by also wearing a necklace. A lovely pair of earrings would be just enough.

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4 thoughts on “How to Style a One Shoulder Dress For a Formal Event

  1. I’m going to be the “mother of the bride” later this year – enjoyed reading your article and love the lady in the blue dress…what a gorgeous dress.

  2. For those who are a bit more adventurous try a long drop earring over the bear shoulder and a decent size stud style earring on the strap side. This is very sexy with long hair.

    Alan Sklut
    Royal Jewelry Design

xo, Deb

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