WOMENS: How To Dress Broad Shoulders

WOMENS: How To Dress Broad Shoulders

How To Dress Broad Shoulders Header Image - Learning how to dress a strawberry shape figure

We’ve all got parts of our bodies that we struggle to dress. Sometimes it’s bigger hips, thick calves, a large or small bust but today we’re talking broad shoulders, particularly how to dress broad shoulders for when you just can’t get an outfit to work.

 

Despite popular belief, dressing broad shoulders is not always about covering them up. In fact, it’s a common myth that whatever body part you struggle to dress should be hidden away. That couldn’t be further from the truth, you’ve got a fabulous set of shoulders so you should learn how to work with them.

 

How To Dress Broad Shoulders – Fit Over Everything Else

 

Our biggest issues with clothing suiting us, more often than not, boils down to fit. When your clothes fit you well, they’ll look good on you and you can wear more shapes without feeling like certain styles of clothing are completely off the table. You should focus on ensuring that you never buy a bad fit in the shoulders, that means anything too tight or too loose in the upper back and upper arms.

 

A shoulder adjustment is an expensive trip to the tailors that can sometimes result in you spending more money on adjustments than the price of the garment when you purchased it.

 

Adopt the rule to fit your shoulders first, then alter the rest if needed. Never the other way around. Second, to the fit of your shoulders, you need to focus on those two other outfit trouble makers – boobs.

 

Your Bust Fit:

 

Bra’s are meant to support you, so it’s important you get a bra fitting, even if you think you know your size. If you haven’t been fitted in the last year, make a trip to a department store and get fitted. When you are wearing the right bra, it is surprising how much more of a waist you’ve got. Stand in front of the mirror with just your bra on and try pulling your bust up by the tops of the cups. If you can pull them up to a natural height and you look like you have a longer torso – it’s time for a new bra.

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HOW TO DRESS BROAD SHOULDERS – LAYERING YOUR OUTFITS

 

An instant outfit enhancer is the use of an extra layer of clothing, but layering should be done with two things in mind – length and fabric density – let me introduce you to my friend’s Structure and Flow.

 

STRUCTURE VS. FLOW

 

When dressing, you need to have a balance of structure and flow in your outfits. Structure refers to firm fabrics and garments (think of A-line skirts & tailored trousers) and flow refers to fluid fabrics (think of soft shouldered jackets, sheer fabrics and silk blouses).

 

When you can add a little of both into your outfit, it will look balanced. Too much structure can make you look blocky and stiff and too much flow can make you look like a blob – so aim to mix the two. You should aim to mix the flowy, soft pieces on the top of your body and the more structured pieces on the bottom half of your body.

 

HOW TO LAYER YOUR CLOTHING

 

When you layer your clothing you should be aiming to elongate your legs, so to do this you need to make sure your top layer (ie; jacket or cardigan) ends at a significantly different place to your underneath layer (ie: tee or top). You can do this by wearing a long jacket or coat with a short top underneath, or even your top tucked in. You can wear a long top untucked with a shorter jacket over it and you’ll have the same effect.

 

THE PENGUIN EFFECT

 

A great way to flatter your shoulders when layering with skinny jeans or slim pants is to pick darker colours to wear as your very top layer and a lighter colour under that. This will narrow your upper half and stop your legs looking overly thin in comparison to your shoulders.

Tops For Women With Broad Shoulders | What types of tops suit broad shoulders

PRINT & COLOUR

 

A natural thing for shoppers to do is buy more practical pants than tops. We tend to opt for black or navy pants and go wild in the top department. You need to do the opposite. Go wild when buying pants and try to avoid wearing skin-tight pants in dark colours. Add print, play with shapes and stick to plainer, darker shapes on top so that your legs not only look fabulously long, but your backside and waist become a bit more prominent.

 

SLEEVE SHAPE IS EVERYTHING

 

That’s a dramatic statement, I know but who doesn’t love a little DRAMA! When picking tops, you have more sleeve options than most. A dolman sleeve will look gorgeous on you and is perfect for casual days. This sleeve will soften your shoulder line and appear more relaxed. You can also look for tops with slit sleeves, raglan sleeves and summer tops with thick straps. If you’re trying to slim your shoulders; try to avoid sleeves that have a lot of detail on the very top or edge of your shoulder, this will add bulk and can shorten your neck while broadening your shoulders.

 

KEEP ACCESSORIES LONG

 

Once you’re up to the accessorising phase, pick longer style accessories. Long scarves and necklaces will lengthen your torso and cross body bags will add shape to your hips. If it’s really cold and you want to wrap your scarf around your neck, do it, but make sure you create a little v shape on your chest with it. This will stop the scarf from swallowing your neck and bring a touch more attention to your beautiful face.

 

How did you go with getting dressed up? Let me know some of your favourite things to wear if you’ve got this shape, in the comments below!

Alarna Hope

Alarna Hope is a fashion stylist and writer based in Sydney, she's considered an expert in her field as a personal stylist and is also quite good at writing about herself in the third person. She cries during movie makeover scenes, has a jar of Nutella under her bed for safety and can tell you the synopsis of every Kath and Kim episode ever. She currently resides in Sydney with her Oscar-worthy cat, Meryl Streep.

2 Comments
  • Caitlin Farley

    August 14, 2019 at 7:58 pm Reply

    This is me! Thank you for writing this. This body type is not so common for women and I have struggled all my life to feel ok about my V shaped body. I’m not even athletic and people ask “do you swim/row?” – awkward!

    To counterbalance my perceived ‘masculine shape’ I’ve worn garments that now I think highlighted it even further. Like wearing tight pencil skirts to skim the bum and thighs, skinny jeans, high-necked skivvy tops – you name it.

    Please keep writing, I love your advice.

    • Alarna Hope

      August 19, 2019 at 11:41 am Reply

      Hello Caitlin,

      Thank you for your comment! It’s precisely why I wrote the article, I get so many clients of mine who struggle with dressing their shape and your shape while uncommon does come with a lot of dressing options. Play around with lighter colours on your bottom half if you want to wear those pencil skirts – they can be great but giving them some contrast to your top half will make them even more flattering.

      Enjoy! xx

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