‘The shoulder looks good no matter your age or body type’ – Donna Karan

I’m loving the return of the versatile off-the-shoulder top which is the perfect vacation statement for strolling through the streets of Portfino or for cool urban style.

Many celebrities over the years have worn the style well such as Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe including modern day style-stars such as Olivia Palermo, Elle MacPherson and even a royal, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge.

Make the look your own bearing in mind a few simple style tips:

  • Think ‘effortless elegance’ when styling your off-the-shoulder top – apply the KISS rule and don’t over-style.
  • Opt for a style with a little volume – avoid anything too tight.  Balance is key also – pair with a fitted or semi-fitted pant.
  • Avoid a style that sits too low – leave those for the 20-somethings.  A few inches from the top of your shoulder is best.
  • Pair with classic style pant styles such as a great jean, sateen pants or cotton chino – beware anything too fussy or with too much detail.
  • Minimise jewellery  – the best look for off-the-shoulder is simple and effortless.
  • Make like a French woman and wear a silk scarf knotted at the neck.
  • A monochromatic ensemble of black-on-black is polished, chic and timeless.
  • Choose fit over form.  A well fitting top is essential to avoid riding up – or quelle horreur down.  Elastised versions often work best.
  • A well-fitting and secure strapless bra is essential.
  • Your décolletage is on show so a lovely glow provided by your favourite bronzer or tanner is essential.
Style note:  An off-the-shoulder top is a great option for those lucky Balance readers who are winging their way to France to join Deborah Hutton on her Food, Wine and Relaxtion river cruise.

Style info, clockwise left to right:  Sussan bell-sleeve top $99.95,; Sportsgirl textured top $79.95,; Seed Heritage flare top $59.95,; Country Road t-shirt top $79.95,; Forever New ‘Avery’ top $59.99,; Forever New ‘Vienna’ top $69.99, as before.

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