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, making everyone look like they had the smallest waist and most balanced hips. The only problem, 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 tops that will broaden your shoulders in a more modern way:

Bateau (Boat) Neckline
This type of neckline that is high and cuts straight across will make your narrow shoulders and chest seem broader. Horizontal stripes also create that visual width and so you get a double shot of looking more balanced up top 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 is an excellent example of that. The epaulets also help give your shoulders more authority and definition. An excellent 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 the wide ruffle has the same effect as a wide lapel. Also, the ruching at the shoulder adds volume and width up top. If you are choosing between a sleeveless top with skinny straps or 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 up top.Puff Sleeve
Puff sleeves will make your shoulders look broader. The only problem is many puff sleeve tops look rather junior on a mature woman. Try some on and ask yourself, “Does this look too little, girlish?” This one we’re showing by Halogen has a sophisticated print and might work for you.

Join the Conversation

15 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. To tell the truth – I am surprised you recommended cap sleeves?! I avoid both cap sleeves and puff sleeves (although I also have narrow shoulders), because I find both of them too youthful

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

  6. I wear a size 10w shoe. what are some good companies that carry them? Iwould 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 ever since pads went out decades ago! I wanted to add that nowadays I actually sew in small shoulder pads (obviously you can’t use the football-player pads of the 80’s), for garments where they won’t be very noticeable. Makes a world of difference – my figure gets better the minute I put on those garments. Pads are available at any fabric store, in all widths and thicknesses.

  8. Thankyou…I do wear these styles and my favourite neckline is rounded which are shown on several of the tops.

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

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