Off-the-Shoulder Dressing: Three Easy Ways To Wear Spring's Trickiest Trend

From appropriate workwear to directional weekend looks

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The fashion gods have shone upon those of us less fond of the gym this summer: crop tops begone, the new erogenous zone is the humble shoulder.

And exhale.

A preview of the look at Céline and Givenchy last season paved the way for Peter Pilotto, Ellery and Simone Rocha to run with it, showing shoulder-revealing cut-outs and slashed half-sleeves.

The hype has already begun: fashion e-commerce site Lyst reported searches for 'off shoulder' increased by 108% during London Fashion Week, while Leandra Medine and Pernille Teisbaek have become the unofficial spokeswomen for the look after instagramming themselves in Rosie Assoulin and Cecilie Copenhagen's contributions to the trend.

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But how do you actually wear off-the-shoulder pieces? Working at a place like ELLE, sartorial inspiration can strike anywhere from the fashion cupboard to the photocopier.

On a single day this week, there were three members of staff all working the off-the-shoulder trend in their own inimitable ways. Angelina Cordova-Todd, our Fashion Cupboard Manager, had paired her white and blue striped number with a pair of classic pinstripe trousers; our Culture Director, Lena de Casparis, showcased hers over a polo neck; and Fashion Intern, Lulu Cooper, wore a cream one under a black slip dress.

For once, this is a trend that can transcend the boundaries between appropriate workwear, directional weekend looks and chic going-out-out outfits.

Here's how to weave off-the-shoulder pieces seamlessly into your existence:

FOR WORK

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When you work in fashion, you can begin to take lax dress codes for granted. Tracksuits? Sure (as long as they're Vetements). Flashing as much flesh as possible? We could if we really wanted. Exiting the ELLE bubble, things are (probably) slightly different. To make off-the-shoulder pieces truly office-appropriate, you may have to reconsider your definition of 'off-the-shoulder'. Cut-outs are an excellent compromise, and when worked into something as classic as a black polo neck, chicer still. You can be slightly more experimental with a matching top and trousers, but keep the palette low-key and the print subtle. 

FOR WEEKEND

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While your boss may not accomodate your ambitions to be a Street Style Star, there's always the weekend for that kind of thing. Like any other shirt, off-the-shoulder tops look great with jeans and ankle boots. As for the look you'll ultimately be channelling, there are two main contenders: directional and horizontal. For a directional look, we'd recommend off-the-shoulder via slashed sleeves worn with statement shoes and accessories. For horizontal? Just keep everything - most notably yourself - as relaxed as possible. The point here is to give the impression that you've been wearing off-the-shoulder tops since 2003, and are one of the last bastions of Boho as it once was.

FOR EVENING

And so we've come to the topic of night. A dress may be the obvious pathway to nailing the look for night, but that's because it works. Make the right purchase (we'd recommend Isa Arfen) and you could be resembling a young Brigitte Bardot in no time. 

Ready to grace the world with your cold shoulders?

Shop our favourite tops to pull off the look right here

Photos: IMAXTREE

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