Fashion Friday: Dress to Flatter Narrow Shoulders

One of my most popular fashion posts is How To Downplay Broad Shoulders, and a friend recently asked me to write a follow-up post on how to dress narrow shoulders. Yeah, sure I can do that! With a little bit of help from my friend Google, anyway. Really, any fashion issue comes back finding the proper proportion — or at least fooling the eye into seeing proper proportion.

For example, cap sleeves are a fashion do when you have narrow or sloped shoulders.

Work Outfit for Narrow Shoulders


Also, boat-necklines and off-the-shoulder styles are great.

Dresses for Narrow Shoulders


I shared in that post on How to Downplay Broad Shoulders that halter tops are not a great look on someone with broad shoulders, so it stands to reason that halter tops would be a good look for someone with narrow or sloped shoulders. Besides the fact that it gives the illusion of a broader upper body, the straps tie behind your neck so you don’t have to worry about them sliding down. I realize a halter isn’t practical for every day (and certainly not for every season) but it’s a great look and if you can pull it off, you should wear one occasionally!

I mean, seriously. How cute is this!?? (Okay, this is not really a classic halter, I realize. But I like the outfit too much not to use it.)

Fun Animal Print Halter Outfit


Okay, I had WAY too much fun putting those outfits together. Just sayin’. Also? I did not pick these items with price in mind. Some are way out of my league. Still, it’s fun to dream, yes??

And if you like any of these looks, feel free to PIN IT! Here is my Style Pinboard for some more fashion inspiration. It’s getting full; I think I might need to divide it into subcategories this weekend.

A few more general tips for narrow shoulders:

1. Wear tops that fit your shoulders — the shoulder seams should be snug and lay right across the widest point of your shoulder.

2. Puffy sleeves give the illusion of broader shoulders, as do wide lapels or collars.

3. Raglan sleeves are flattering, and you don’t have to worry abou the seam of the shoulder laying in the right place.

4. Trade spaghetti straps for wide straps; they give the illusion of wider shoulders and are more likely to stay in place.

Do you have narrow shoulders? What are your best tips and tricks?

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10 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Dress to Flatter Narrow Shoulders

  1. I’d love to have either one of those outfits. But I really love the grey top in the second outfit – adorable! And I’ve always loved a good boatneck – such a sexy little peek when you wear the boatneck style. Gap actually has a cute striped boatneck out now that I’ve got my eye on when it goes on sale.

  2. I do have narrow shoulders, but I don’t have any tips. I do think cap sleeves are tricky. You have to have good arms for that sleeve, in my opinion. I don’t really like them on me, at least right now. That halter top is adorable. Narrow shoulders can be tricky too, if you have a bigger chest, unfortunately. I’m more proportional now, but there was a time when I was just busty and it was hard to find flattering tops.

  3. I have narrow shoulders and a large chest. One of the problems is that that some these will not work with both, puffy sleeves is a big no, no (do you have any idea how hard it was to find a wedding dress without puffy sleeves in 1990?). I love cap sleeves (even though I don’t have the arms for it *ahem*), but I also like the halter top. It really helps if you can find a cap sleeve with a v neck. The best of both worlds.

  4. My usual trick for ladies who are concerned w narrow shoulders or small upper body is to have more fabric on the top than bottom…as a general rule- So you are basically DEAD ON with the cap sleeves or anything with volume/fabric over the shoulder bust area- this usually works well for small busts too! What a great and informative post!
    So excited for this Chic Blog Network…should be alot of fun discovering some new faces/voices.

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