Off-the-Shoulder Top Summer Fashion Style 2016-2017
Mention the phrase “business casual” at Vogue.com and you’ll likely be met with a dozen eye-rolls. One perk of the job is being free to wear (mostly) whatever we want—instead of “office attire” like button-downs and trousers, we can indulge a sudden craving for frilly vintage dresses, patchwork jeans, or even track pants.
Well, not anything. There are a few items you shouldn’t wear even in a fashion-friendly office like ours—and it’s safe to say if it doesn’t pass here, it certainly won’t pass at your law firm or investment bank. A few obvious examples: up-to-there denim skirts, skimpy tank tops, baggy sweatpants, or anything too revealing. But what about off-the-shoulder tops and dresses? The trendy-and-trendier look started to heat up in 2014 and reached a fever pitch at the Spring ’16 shows (see: Proenza Schouler’s oft-copied ruffled tops and dresses). Now, you can’t walk down Lafayette Street without spotting a few girls baring their clavicles. Usually, that kind of seen-it-everywhere saturation is enough to turn us off from a trend—remember when everyone wasn’t wearing culottes?—but we’re having a hard time denouncing off-the-shoulder everything. Maybe it’s because unlike most trends, it’s actually quite flattering; in the summer, shoulders are typically a bit sun-kissed, and if you don’t love exposing your arms, an off-the-shoulder silhouette takes care of that. Plus, in the middle of a heat wave—New York experienced 90-degree temps this week and what feels like 300 percent humidity right now—a shoulder-baring top is practical, too.
This writer managed to stay cool on a particularly muggy, 30-minute subway excursion from Midtown East down to the World Trade Center, thanks to a crisp white off-the-shoulder blouse (paired with navy cropped flares from J.Crew, for the record). With elbow-length sleeves, a slightly boxy shape, and a straight-across neckline, it felt just as understated as any other white shirt in my closet—and much breezier.