Off-the-shoulder tops are feminine, sassy, playful, and seductive. They can also be alluring and polished when paired with a sleek fabric and a flattering cut. The variety of styles, patterns, and designs is broad. In short? The off-the-shoulder top is a crowd-pleasing style that belongs in the wardrobe of all women.
Whether your aesthetic is more girlish or more rock ‘n’ roll, there is an off-the-shoulder top that will appeal to you and your sartorial sensibilities. Today, we will examine the cream of the crop, a selection that runs the gamut from elegant to edgy, and provide you with insight into styling and wearing an off-the-shoulder top.
How to Wear Off-the-Shoulder Tops: Contents
- 11 Cutest Off-the-Shoulder Tops to Buy in 2021
- How to Choose the Right Off-the-Shoulder Top
- How to Wear Off-the-Shoulder Tops: Tips For Styling
- Tips for Keeping Your Off-the-Shoulder Top in Place
Perfect for taking from day to night, these 11 off-the-shoulder tops are all the rage in the fashion world, so you won’t be mistaken buying into any of them!
1. Delicate Off-the-Shoulder Top with Split Sleeves
This elegant and evening-ready off-the-shoulder top is luxurious and opulent in its seductive simplicity. The split sleeves are alluring and quietly sexy. The keyholes are elegant and understated. No need to bare all to turn heads with this breezy off-the-shoulder top.
The semi-sheer fabric is delightfully wearable and super soft on the skin. The elasticized neckline ups the wearability and comfort factor. This is a bohemian choice for everyday wear when paired with denim shorts or mom jeans.
Hoop earrings and strappy sandals bring the top alive for a seductive evening look. Capitalize on the flowing silhouette of the shirt with undone mermaid waves and luminous makeup. It is available at Revolve!
2. Lace-Up Off-the-Shoulder Crop Top
Fairytale princess street cred is within reach with this charming and enchanting patterned off-the-shoulder delight. We love the precious lace-up front closure and the fetching bubble sleeves. The silhouette is daring and provocative in its unexpected cut.
We love the glamour factor of the puffy sleeves – it is luxurious hedonism and frivolity at its girlish best. This off-the-shoulder shirt will draw all eyes to you! We love it paired with jeans or a tight black skirt for a sultry and captivating evening look.
The back-baring style showcases your sun-kissed summer skin so take care of your complexion with moisturizer, self-tanner, and body shimmer. Pair with bold white and silver jewelry for a graphic and striking contrast. It is available at Forward.
3. Striped Off-the-Shoulder Top
Be a nautical goddess in this polished and playful off-the-shoulder top. The cut is current, while the mood is decidedly retro making this an effortlessly elegant choice for day and evening wear. The sweetheart-neck style cut is sultry and emphasizes a tanned and glowing décolletage.
The flowing long sleeves are sweet and imbue the shirt with an original silhouette. Delicate ocean blue stripes are fresh and youthful, and the front ribbon tie maintains the relaxed vibe of the shirt.
Pair with undone waves and gold jewelry for a graceful and romantic summer look or with high-waisted jeans for a timeless-with-a-twist appeal. Get it from at Revolve!
4. Floral Print Off-the-Shoulder Top
This sunflower yellow patterned off-the-shoulder top will satisfy the bohemian daydreams of gypsy hearts everywhere this season. The airy and ethereal chiffon fabric is elegant and feminine. It provides the black and white blooming flowers with a delicate canvas on which to unfurl.
The tier of ruffles creates a compelling and dainty silhouette. We love this off-the-shoulder shirt paired with relaxed denim for a dreamy and whimsical garden party outfit or with earthy jewels for a lovely date night look.
The loose fit is perfect for women with a more down-to-earth and precious style sensibility. Pair with a messy chignon bun for the ultimate in feminine flower child chic. You can get it at Revolve.
5. Romantic Cropped Off-the-Shoulder Top
The ultimate fantasy fairy off-the-shoulder shirt! This shirt is sheer bohemian decadence and proves that a gypsy-themed aesthetic can also be seductive and alluring. We love the intricacy and texture of this off-the-shoulder top – it is mesmerizing and enigmatic.
The ruched design is feminine and dainty. The cropped silhouette provides breathability and movement to the cut. The floral print design is seductive and alluring and makes this the ultimate in festival-ready style.
We love this off-the-shoulder top paired with relaxed mom jeans or a pair of worn-in overalls. Pair with sleek hair and a bare neckline to show off your sun-kissed skin and to allow the rich detailing of the shirt to shine. Pick it up from Shopbop!
6. Bachelorette Off-the-Shoulder Top
This seductive polka-dotted off-the-shoulder top is dreamy and intoxicatingly romantic. It feels mysterious and elusive – the kind of shirt that belongs on an art studio insider or a belle of the loft party charmer.
The sleek and provocative neckline is balanced with elbow-length sleeves for a look that effectively combines different proportions. The gathered and ruched sleeves and straight neckline are endlessly flattering and provide a perfect canvas for a glistening and shimmering collarbone.
Pair with tight cigarette pants or high-waisted black jeans for a polished and timeless evening look or with gaucho pants for the confidence and flawlessness of a street style maven. It is available at hip online retailer Net-a-Porter.
7. Dolly Off-the-Shoulder Top
Sweet and feminine, this pastel sky blue off-the-shoulder shirt is wearable and dainty for a relaxed everyday style. The ruched design is flattering and hugs the body in a comfortable way.
A subtle babydoll cut imbues the shirt with breezy and ethereal movement and volume. The smocked design and crinkled flouncy hem look youthful and relaxed. A slight flared sleeve flatters the arm and feels understatedly pretty.
Pair with denim, crocheted, or satin shorts for a relaxed yet sophisticated silhouette. Simple pearl earrings and braids will help you cultivate a refreshing and playful girl-next-door style. This cutie is available at Revolve.
8. White Off-the-Shoulder Top
Bohemian power players Free People have knocked it out of the park with this 1968 Summer of Love inspired beauty. We love the relaxed earth child vibes and the festival ready cut of the off-the-shoulder shirt.
The tassel-detail lace-up design is alluring without being showy or overtly provocative. The short sleeves are relaxed and dreamy and enhance the boho beautiful aura of the shirt.
Pair with a high-waisted denim skirt or cut-offs for a spirited and carefree warm weather aesthetic. Round the look off with Santa Fe-themed leather and turquoise jewelry and accoutrements. It is available on Free People’s website and in stores.
9. The Minimalist Off-the-Shoulder Top
This summer-ready off-the-shoulder shirt was designed with the luxe and opulent jetsetter in mind. The sumptuous shirt is perfect for glamorous brunch sessions or patio dinners in exotic locales. The white color is crisp and will enhance a sun-kissed complexion.
The slim-fitting top is enhanced with front buttons to create depth and a seductively feminine feel. The sweetheart neckline is flattering, while the smoked back design is functional and sweet.
Pair with tight denim and molten gold jewels for a dizzyingly well-appointed silhouette. A taupe or nude lipstick and manicure will pull the look together. It is available at sustainable retailer The Reformation.
10. Yellow Striped Off-the-Shoulder Shirt
This sexy striped number is equal parts sweetheart and seductress. The ruched silk fabric is elegant and detailed for a delicate and adorable feel. The long sleeves provide a compelling contrast with the off-the-shoulder V-neckline.
We like the slightly roomy design of the shirt. It is relaxed and flattering for a dreamy and girlish style. Pair with relaxed denim for a spirited and lively style or with a tight mini skirt for an unexpectedly playful evening look.
11. The Elegant Off-the-Shoulder Top
This crisp white off-the-shoulder shirt is intoxicatingly elegant and polished. It is the ultimate in sophisticated evening glamour. We love the sleek feel of the stretch cotton and the well-appointed cut, which is designed to flatter the female body.
The bow-bedecked back is bohemian and dainty. This luxe off-the-shoulder top is perfect when paired with satin pants and antique costume earrings. A satin or suit jacket will create a compellingly Parisian aesthetic.
This beauty is proof that off-the-shoulder tops don’t belong solely in the realm of the girlish and the playful – they can absolutely be mature and ladylike. It is available at My Theresa.
Off-the-shoulder tops are ultra flattering, feminine, and flirty. They are just the slightest bit provocative – albeit in the sweetest manner possible. Baring your shoulders allows you to showcase sun-kissed and glowing skin and provides a graceful canvas for radiant and flowing locks.
Let’s examine some best practice tips that will help you wear your off-the-shoulder top confidently and effectively.
Too Tight or Too Loose? No Go
Be discerning when choosing an off-the-shoulder top and play with a few different sizes. If the arms are too tight or the elasticized neckline feels constrictive, take a pass. This style will constantly ride up, and you’ll stop wearing it because it will be a hassle.
If the elasticized neckline is too loose, then you will have the opposite problem – one that is no less menacing. The shirt will be constantly slipping downward, threatening to expose your bra. The result will be a sloppy style that looks unbecoming and, dare we say, tacky.
The right fit needs to be breathable while maintaining a firm grip on your shoulders.
Invest in a Supportive Strapless Bra
The most essential element of nailing the off-the-shoulder shirt look is to invest in a supportive and comfortable strapless bra. We are all for experimental fashion and innovation, however we caution against letting your bra straps show.
In all honesty, the result of an exposed bra strap is a look that feels accidental and slightly pedestrian. Exposed bras = bad. The goal is to create a flawless and covetable silhouette, and this necessitates an invisible bra.
Taking this advice a step further will lead you to the neutral aisle of the bra store. Neutral, nude bras will be more practical and customizable. They will enable you to dabble in pastel, white, and cream colored off-the-shoulder tops. Some of the best styles are sheer, and a nude bra won’t be an impediment to your style ambitions.
For backless or sheer designs, we recommend stick-on bras. These life-saving stickies are the most versatile varietal of bras and they help create a clean and flawless finish. Just like our pesky exposed bra straps, nothing can kill the sartorial quotient of an outfit faster than an exposed back bra strap. Honestly, nothing.
Keep Your Height in Mind
Keep your height in mind. If you are shorter and have a shorter torso, cropped off-the-shoulder shirts will be much more flattering. You can get away with a super cropped version, particularly when paired with a high-waisted pair of jeans or shorts.
Shorter women can still play around with waist-skimming crop tops but they should be balanced with either short shorts or a mini skirt or high waisted jeans. A longer off-the-shoulder top combined with a relaxed fit pair of jeans or trousers will overwhelm the frame and look unkempt.
Taller women with longer torsos can get away with longer off-the-shoulder tops – particularly ones that graze the waist or upper thighs. These can be paired with tight jeans or a gaucho style trouser for a relaxed and effortless silhouette.
Taller women can pair a cropped off-the-shoulder crop top with a high waisted bottom for a flattering look that takes a longer torso and longer legs into account.
Flatter Your Cup Size
Off-the-shoulder shirts are so popular because they flatter women with both small and larger breasts. The tight and form-fitting versions play up a smaller chest and highlight the collarbone, which is a seductive yet understated look.
Women who are insecure about their smaller breasts can opt for a flowy shirt. Alternately, women with larger breasts can also wear both form-fitting and flowing off-the-shoulder blouses depending on what parts of the body they want to play up, highlight, or conceal.
Women with larger breasts need to ensure that they are well-supported in order to maximize their off-the-shoulder look. A snugly fitting strapless bra with rubber strips along the inner band will provide support and a firm grip.
Boob glue is another tool to ensure that there is no bra slippage. Given the right undergarments, wearing an off-the-shoulder top is a breeze for women with larger breasts. The key factor is comfortable support.
An elasticized band will enhance the wearability of your off-the-shoulder top. The elastic lining serves to form fit your body and creates less room for the movement and migration of your shirt. An elastic band is more comfortable, as well, and will keep your shirt in place longer. The elastic band will also keep the shirt from riding down should it be a looser style.
Off-the-shoulder tops and shirts are so versatile you can easily style them for any occasion. Here are some cool ideas to try!
Dress Up or Down
If you want to dress your off-the-shoulder top down, you can pair it with relaxed mom jeans or a denim skirt and gladiator sandals. To dress it up, you can pair it with satin shorts or high-waisted skinny jeans and chunky heels. The versatility of the cut makes the off-the-shoulder top one of the most covetable and practical wardrobe pieces to own.
Enhance the Neckline
One of the most exciting elements of the off-the-shoulder cut is that it enhances the neckline and collarbone, lengthening the neck and creating a feminine and graceful appearance. Use this beautiful canvas to your advantage and invest in some stand-out antique jewelry and luxe chokers.
There is nothing more flattering and seductive than a brilliant necklace paired with a simple off-the-shoulder shirt. Long and delicate chain necklaces and chandelier earrings are a beautiful choice, as they play up the bohemian mood of the style. Opt for chandelier earrings that graze the shoulders for a sultry and hypnotic silhouette.
It pays to keep an eye on the length of your necklace, however. A standard necklace that sits just under the base of the neck can distract from the striking neckline of the top and can reduce the impact of the shirt. Chokers provide a more prominent and appealing contrast.
Graphic and Bold Accessories
We love the striking and often graphic silhouette of the off-the-shoulder top. Play up this cut by investing in larger than life accessories like a wide-brimmed hat and bug-eye sunglasses.
A bulky and ornate cuff bracelet will enhance the dainty appearance of your arm and wrist. A sleek and oversized clutch is another elegant way of playing with proportions to create a sculptural and well-appointed look.
Cropped Off-the-Shoulder + High Waisted Denim Bottom = Perfection
Cropped off-the-shoulder shirts are a match made in heaven with a high-waisted pair of jeans or a denim skirt. The result is a fresh yet retro-inspired look that is elegantly bohemian and effortlessly wearable.
Denim endows the off-the-shoulder top with a relaxed and down-to-earth energy that feels calm, cool, and collected. Up the retro feel with an oversized denim jacket and Ray-Bans.
Off-the-shoulder tops are not the exclusive domain of the bohemian and the gypsy. The current generation of off-the-shoulder tops is architectural, minimalist and striking. The silhouette can be all clean lines and sculptural forms.
A creative way of wearing the trend is to invest in a curated asymmetrical style. This unexpected touch infuses your style with a heady dose of sartorial potency. Pair with cigarette pants for a luxe and timeless look.
One of the most sophisticated looks of the moment? Pairing a cropped off-the-shoulder shirt with matching pants, shorts, or a skirt. The result is an elegant and downtown cool look perfect for evening cocktail parties and after-work dinner dates.
If you are struggling to find a cute and sophisticated two-piece set, invest in a romper or playsuit for a similarly elegant and sleek silhouette. While rompers have traditionally felt youthful and playful, the new generation includes crisp rompers with structured designs and sleek lines for a grown-up and elegant finish.
Play with an Innovative Cut Combination
A lengthy off-the-shoulder top is an original way of playing with texture and cut. We love a lengthy, slightly boxy shirt paired with wide-legged, spacious trousers. This silhouette is unexpected and packs a minimalist and sophisticated sartorial punch. The combination of the different shapes feels fresh and innovative.
The aptly named cold shoulder varietal of the off-the-shoulder top infuses the style with a flirty and feminine layer of practicality. Cold shoulder tops feature a strap that helps keep the top in place. The vibe is sweet and charming when the strap is thin and discreet and statement-making with a bulky and detailed strap.
The cold shoulder detail can add a dimension of innovative and architectural dynamism to the off-the-shoulder shirt and can help you cultivate a striking silhouette. There is something effortlessly alluring about the way the shoulder peeks through the sectionals or fabric. This style is particularly exciting when paired with loose bubble sleeves or baggy wrist-grazing designs.
An added bonus? A neutral cold shoulder top can be appropriate and polished for work, meetings, or formal dinners. The shape is flattering without exposing too much skin making this the perfect happy medium addition to your wardrobe.
For a sleek and polished finish that is ultra-flattering, go for a bodysuit style. Bodysuits are sensual and alluring by their very nature. They hug the curves and provide an enhanced level of stability.
We love how off-the-shoulder bodysuits enable a crisp and neat appearance when paired with a high-waisted skirt or jeans. You never have to worry about constantly tucking your top in to get a cohesive style. Bodysuits are perfect for evening wear and feel of-the-moment and seductive for a date or a night at the bar.
One of the caveats of the off-the-shoulder look? They are not the most forgiving of basic physical movements. Raising your arms is going to be a lot less seamless and a lot more annoying so keep that in mind and move, or dance, accordingly.
That being said there are definitely some strategies that keep the off-the-shoulder shirts from riding up and covering the shoulders throughout the day.
Our favorite DIY tip is a breezy and foolproof solution that any woman can nail in a pinch. All it requires is two elastic bands and four safety pins. We like to call it the bungee cord method.
• First stretch the elastic bands out so they are looser and less, well, elastic. We suggest softer elastic bands without a metal element to increase comfort.
• Loop two safety pins on opposite ends of one elastic band. It will look like a bungee cord with two safety pins holding a suspended elastic band in the middle.
• One safety pin will be secured to the front of the shirt in the inside seam in the underarm section of the shirt. One safety pin will be secured to the back underarm section of the shirt.
• When holding the shirt the elastic bands should look like two mini dress straps. Once worn, however, they will not be visible.
• Place the safety-pinned elastic bands under your arms. When you raise your hand or move your arms the elastic bands will keep the off-the-shoulder top firmly in place and secured.
We hope that we provided you with some insight and some inspiration into nailing this dreamy and desirable trend with ease. Go forth and go off-the-shoulder in style!
Photos via Instagram