Body Type

Best Necklines For Narrow Shoulders

Narrow shoulders may have been no problem when shoulder pads were in style, but since they are not used so much now, what tops and jackets can you wear to make your body look more balanced?

Ah, those shoulder pads. They worked wonders, didn’t they? It made everyone look like they had the most petite waist and balanced hips. The only problem is if you wore shoulder pads today, you’d look pretty silly (unless you were trying to make a dramatic high fashion statement)

If you are narrower on the top and wider on the bottom (pear-shaped) and want to balance your figure, then here are some tips that will broaden your shoulders in a more modern way:

Bateau (Boat) Neckline

This high neckline that cuts straight across will make your narrow shoulders and chest seem broader. Horizontal stripes also create that visual width, giving you a double shot of looking more flat with this cute stretch top by Michael Kors.

Shirts that sit Right on the Shoulder

Shirts with collars will also make you look broader up top, but be sure the shoulder seams sit right at your Shoulder for a crisp fitted look. This Tory Burch Military shirt is an excellent example of that. The epaulets also help give your shoulders more authority and definition—a perfect choice.

Cap Sleeves

Remember, the goal is to extend the line of the Shoulder, and a cap sleeve does just that. This Patterson J Kincaid lace top with its raw edge is a pretty, relaxed look.

Wide Lapels, collars, straps

If you buy a jacket, choose one with a broader lapel to make you look more prominent through the chest and shoulders. The same idea applies to tops. This feminine teal blouse with a wide ruffle has the same effect as a wide lapel. Also, the ruching at the Shoulder adds volume and width up top. If you choose between a sleeveless top with skinny straps or a sleeveless top with wide straps, always go with wide straps to beef up your shoulders.

Flutter Sleeves

Tops like this Halogen Flutter sleeve top with its voluminous sleeves and a banded waist give the illusion of broader shoulders by creating an inverted triangle shape. There are lots of these types of heads out there now. See which ones work best for you. Hint- A patterned top or embellishment at the neckline also helps draw the eye up to make you look more proportioned.

Puff Sleeves

Puff sleeves will make your shoulders look broader. The only problem is many puff sleeve tops look relatively junior on a mature woman. Try some on and ask yourself, “Does this look too little, girlish?” This one has a sophisticated print and might work for you.

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13 thoughts on “Best Necklines For Narrow Shoulders

  1. If you have narrow shoulders like me, wide neckline/ boat necklines are useless as they show bra straps or fall off the shoulder.

  2. Thanks, Marilyn. I was wondering where I could find shoulder pads. I’ve been looking on the Web, trying to find that out.

  3. All perfect! I love that I can send people to you because we don’t contradict! The epaulets are good! (I also think you can add padding to things, and it doesn’t have to look like “shoulder pads.” Though as soon as I click send, they will probably be next spring’s biggest must-have.

  4. I am surprised you recommended cap sleeves?! I avoid cap and puff sleeves (although I also have narrow shoulders) because I find both too youthful.

  5. Big shoulder pads aren’t in style, but smaller foam rubber pads that cling to knits are indispensable in my view. They make garments hang better and balance out the hips.

  6. I wear a size 10w shoe. what are some good companies that carry them? I would prefer a 3-inch heel. Thank you. Dara

  7. I constantly have to buy with shoulder-broadening in mind, so I’ve used the tips you mentioned since pads went out decades ago! I wanted to add that nowadays, I sew in small shoulder pads (obviously, you can’t use the football-player pads of the 80s) for garments where they won’t be very noticeable. It makes a difference – my figure gets better the minute I put on those garments. Pads are available at any fabric store in all widths and thicknesses.

    1. Hi Budget Chic,
      Broad shoulders? No problem. Look for that next week. I always welcome your suggestions, so please write and tell us what you would like me to post about.

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