September 14, 2010

How to: Dress with Broad Shoulders 101

Hey everyone! This is my first Youtube video eva~so I hope you like and definitely know what you think :}


Also here are some extra tips that I did not include in the Youtube video:

PART 1: MORE "FORBIDDEN" CLOTHING
1.)  Although dolman, off-shoulder and V-necks tend to be the most universally flattering on broad shouldered chicks, don't let that stop you from trying on halter tops, ruffled tops and blazers. Halter tops such as these are perfectly flattering because of the deep V-neck balances out the shoulders.




Bad:
This is also an example of how NOT to wear ruffles.
Unfortunately, these probably wouldn't look too good since not only are these high-necked, they have all sorts of embellishments around just the shoulder and chest area.  Since the focal point is the shoulder area, these types of halters should be avoided.

2.) Wearing ruffles is totally fine but be sure they do not sit around the shoulder or too close to the neckline.  Ruffles should draw the eye down the body (visual elongation) and/or follow a deep V-neck shape.



Bad:

The large ruffles just sit right on the chest and shoulder area AND they are high collared, all which emphasize the upper body.

3.) I didn't have time to include blazers in the video but I want to say I actually think blazers look BEST on people with broad shoulders.  Albeit, make sure you take out the shoulder pads but since the structure of a blazer is meant to look competent, bold, and strong - I really, really think that blazers are pulled off the best by people who have the shoulders to pull it off.  Broad shouldered peeps should selected one-button blazers that cinch between the bust and your belly button.


Seriously...blazers on broad shouldered peeps are the shize.  Also if you leave the blazer open it basically slims your body line.  Generally darker or neutral toned blazers would probably work best.

Bad:

This is not so good cuz there is a horizontal seam right across the bust, a high neck and ruffles everywhere.  But the worst thing is really the general boxy cut of the jacket which would make almost anyone just look....boxy.

PART 2: SHOW YOUR BACK
Usually broad shouldered people have gorgeous backs.  Play it up!  Look for unusual back designs to draw attention :)  Plus there are few things sexier than being modest in the front then BAM sexy in the back :D


PART 3: SHOW YOUR CLAVICLE 
The same goes for strapless dresses. I've read everywhere that broad shouldered peeps should just forgo strapless dresses altogether. But, like spaghetti straps, just wear a cardigan or wear your hair down :)




Anyway, the focal point of a strapless dress is a beautiful clavicle and usually swimmer chicks with broad shoulders have a well-defined one. So show it off :D! 

PART 4: A few (ok a lot) more tips:
1.) Long necklaces are your friend, they act as a deep V-neck.
2.) Wear either long hair past your shoulders or roll it up in a high bun.  The latter style on only makes you seem taller but also visually lengthens your body.  Generally, hair that sits right at the shoulders aren't so good.
3.) Tops with gathers right underneath the breast are quite flattering because if you have small bust (like me *sigh*), it gives the illusion of boobage ;) and draws your eyes away from your shoulders. (*grrr* it sucks have wide shoulders and ribs yet a flat bust...such a cruel irony :\)
4.) Skirts that flare out balance the shoulders.
5.) Bad posture makes broad shoulders seem huge, not shapely, so stand up straight!
6.) There is one thing that I honestly think will never work with broad shoulders: Cap sleeves :P
7.) Explore the men's section!  Men's shirts are cut to "work with" broad shoulders and make them structured and dramatic, not huge.  Many of my favorite dress shirts and hoodies are from the men's section.
8.)  Fyi I'm hardly an authority on how to dress :} and as you can see my style can pretty much be summed up as simple and generally uncomplicated with minimal (or no) jewelry.  I'm all about complete wear-ability and comfort ;) (sans the heels, I have a weakness for those). Fashion is secondary to fit I think.  I'd say I'm a believer of "whatever looks good on YOU is the most fashionable thing to wear."  Basically, if you look good, your clothes will just look fashionable.....and this is my fashion philosophy in a nutshell. 

Love your shoulders and make them work for you not against you :)

And yes...for those curious, I am (was) a competitive swimmer for 10 years ;) My favorite stroke was bfly. I hope these helped :) Let me know if you have any questions!

31 comments

  1. Awesome video! :) I don't have broad shoulders but I wish I had broader ones. You look perfect, def not a linebacker :p Models all have broad shoulders too. I think it proportions the hips? I'm not sure but I really love broad shoulders :)

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  2. great tips ! i don't have broad shoulders but you are right about the fact that they have gorgeous backs !!

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  3. I'm just like you, a competitive swimmer and I've always had trouble looking for clothing that made me seem less wide! Thanks so much for the great tips!

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  4. fabulous tips!  i also have broad shoulders and i also follow alot of the fashion tips u mentioned!  so its great to hear that someone else in this world also follows them religiously too.  u rock! :D

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  5. Love it :) !!

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  6. This is great! I have broad shoulders, small bust, and I'm a competitive. Thanks;)

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  7. *competitive swimmer

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  8. Hooray, I have huge ribs & shoulder and small boobs - so good to hear that I'm not the only one, and to see some good guidelines for dressing!

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  9. I wear shorter necklaces - longer necklaces actually look worse on me. They make my look more "loose". Also, I've read everywhere that broad shouldered girls should never hide their shoulders (and I've found this to be true) as it makes the outfit look boxier. Showing off those shoulders does wonders.

    I have wider hips/thighs, too, so I have a weird version of an hourglass - so I can typically dress like an hourglass and I have to (peplums, a-line skirts, etc).

    Also, blazers make me look AMAZING! I think you need to differentiate the difference between broad shoulders with large or small boobs - broad shoulders with big boobs is an apple shape (so play that up), but broad shoulders with small boobs are triangle. If you have large shoulders and a larger lower half, it makes an hour glass. They call it the cello or something - so you gotta dress like that.

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  10. Where do you buy clothes for women with broad shoulders????

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    1. I don't think there is one particular brand that caters to women with broad shoulders. However, in general since I think fitted clothes that flare out at the hips (aka peplums, blazers etc) flatter me the most - I tend to favor brands that specialize in business/business casual clothing (aka sell lots of blazers/fitted, tailored style clothing). For example, The Limited is one of my favorite brands :) On the same note, I tend to stay away from brands that have a clingy, frill-y style that flatters more petite women like Ann Taylor and JCrew. That's not to say these brands don't ever sell something flattering on me, I just tend to gravitate towards brands I know sell stuff that are "my style."

      Overall, I think it is best to just figure out key styles that look good on you (aka v-necks or A-line skirts etc) and just pick clothes that have these features from any brand.

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  11. Hi, this was really helpful! I am only 5 ft 4inch tall and my shoulders are 40 inches wide. That is just my natural body structure.
    I actually found a piece of clothing with cap sleeves that works for me. It's a slim fitting blouse with horizontal white and dark blue stripes. The trick is that the sleeves are attached diagonally to the blouse and are in dark blue. So it optically narrows my shoulders!

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    1. I think that is called a raglan sleeve (not sure, and I mean the way it's stitched- I'm not contradicting you). Raglan sleeves are good for people who are broad up top!

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  12. Thank you SO much for this, this is the best tips i've found for broad shoulders during my internet raid on how to cover them up.

    Also, you have extremely nice legs. I could hardly focus on your shoulder.

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  13. I just wanted to say I love your tips! I have broad shoulders and a small bust as well :P.

    I'm going to a party soon, and I was thinking of buying a long-sleeve bodycon dress (http://store.americanapparel.net/product/?productId=rnt62p - It's open back <3). I love bandage skirts because that's really where my curves lie, but would the dress put more emphasis on my shoulders because the material doesn't hang?

    Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi! The dress is beautiful and the back...SEXY eheheh ^_~! To answer your question: Technically speaking, yes, I do think it would emphasize your shoulders since it would be clinging to every curve ^^ However, you could balance it out visually with a long necklace perhaps :) If you have long hair, you should definitely wear it down too!

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  14. Your Georgous Hawn. i havebroad sholders and ive always hated them but now i feel good about the advantages.

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  15. omg i've been looking everywhere for this. thank you for writing this up!

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  16. this is excellent!

    broad shoulders can be so difficult! Fitted shirts often are so weird at the arms :/
    Not only do I have boad shoulders, I also have out of proportion long arms, so almost all shirts look like they have 3/4 sleeves with the shoulder stiches at the wrong place.

    I also found that intentionally not hiding my unusual shapes looks very flattering.
    So basically I wear 3/4 sleeves all year round and look fab if I say so myself ^_^

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  17. wow, that's such a cool video and so helpful - THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. Hello,
    I enjoyed reading your tips! I am 5'7, with broad shoulders and a big bust. The rest of me is pretty small. I getting married next month and am starting to second guess my wedding dress. (paloma blanca 4165) It is a sweetheart neckline with a longer waist and full A line skirt. The reason I am having doubts is a pic of me in it makes me look very broad. Good, but I think I look bigger than I really am. Any suggestions for how to remedy this? I did get a long necklace, which I didn't have on. I would also like to wear some hair down, but I am afraid it won't last because it is naturally curly. I would appreciate any help!

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    1. Congrats on your marriage!!

      I looked up your dress (it's gorgeous btw!) and while I think the cinched waist and flared out skirt bit are perfect, I admit that I can see why the neckline might look you look wider in pix - the neckline draws a horizontal line right across your chest....

      My thoughts: I think your best bet is to actually flare out the skirt part a little more with a tulle skirt slip or something? You should definitely try to leave a little bit of hair down, esp if you have long hair. Maybe a half up/half down look? If you are going to change into something else for the reception, then you don't have to worry about the hair style lasting all day. But if you are, I am sure a good hairstylist should be able to create a style that lasts. If you are really worried, instead doing the traditional curls, you could even do long braids, which are a totally trendy but easier to maintain ^_^

      For pictures, you could also make sure your veil is always arranged so that covers your shoulders a bit as well.

      Overall, I really wouldn't worry too much about it. I am sure you look fine in person (for me, I look bigger in pix :\) and for pictures, a good photographer, some long hair, and strategic use of your veil should be more than enough.

      Just enjoy the day and have an awesome wedding :) :)!!!

      Hope this helps a bit :]

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  19. I too would love any info that ladies have about specific places to find tops. I can never find jackets and shirts that will even fit my shoulders!

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  20. i do have broad shoulders and i hate it.
    i don't look good in anything :(
    And am short to, have small boobs and everything just..dosn't make sense -.-'

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  21. I have broad shoulders and big boobs and small hips, so I guess I'm an apple shape. I think I got the broad shoulders from swimming and gymnastics, but now it's hard because I have a hard time shirt shopping. I find V necks usually do wonders and hoodies are always a nice comfy retreat once in a while. I'm worried about wearing dresses because my upper arms look fat from working out and my shoulders are so broad. Anyone find any good dressed or bathing suits for broad shoulders? Thanks :)

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    1. Hi Grace! Re: your question above - my new fashion obsession right now is actually BIG POOFY FLARED SLEEVES!! For example, go to ASOS and search "River Island Bell Sleeve Dress." This dress looks amazing on me (if I say so myself ^^;;) because the sleeves draw all the attention down towards the hips and flares out creating a pseudo peplum effect! I've been obsessively hunting down bell sleeved tops ever since because it's a really subtle way to create a "flare" around your hips/lower part of your body. Plus they cover up upper arms ^_^ As for bathing suits, no way to cover up arms with those, so I usually just try to go with bathing suits that create a subtle V (aka no bandeaus or strapless bikini tops) and have high-cut bottoms (my idea was that it'd make my legs like a hair longer and maybe balance out my top bit a little ^^). Check out the SeaFolly swimsuit line, they have some really gorgeous pieces this year!

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  22. I have to agree on the blazers. We broad shouldered ladies are often told not to go there, but I have found that I am quite flattered by a well-fitted, dark blazer paired with a bright skirt. Streamlines the top, brings attention to the bottom!

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  23. thanks a lot! this was helpful :)

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  24. What brands do jackets with broad shoulders and narrow waists? I'm 43 and until about 10 years ago in Australia, you could buy jackets like that in Target! Now, everything is straight up and down with very little tailoring at the waist. If it fits the shoulders, it is very boxy and mannish through the waist! If anyone knows of a brand that is well tailored and can be bought in Australia, please tell me...

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    1. The Limited ships to Australia now and this brand has been my go to place for work clothes! I love their blazers and they are all nipped at the waist. They also carry quite a range of sizes :)

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