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How to Rock the One-Shoulder Trend


Have you ever loved the idea of wearing a certain trend but didn’t know how to pull it off or what to wear it with? Read on! In this weekly column, I’ll highlight some of the year’s biggest trends and show you how to wear them with your existing wardrobe!

How to rock the one-shoulder trend
Photos From Left: Alexander Wang, Marchesa, Doo.Ri, and Michael Kors –

2009 is truly the year of the single shoulder. Ever since first lady Michelle Obama debuted her white, floral, one-shoulder-wonder gown to the inaugural ball back in January, the trend has been hotter than ever.

If you’re looking for a different, dramatic look, you can’t go wrong with a single shoulder – they provide a coquettish glimpse of skin, but cover enough to keep you comfortable. It’s the perfect mix of edgy, sexy, and sophisticated.

If you’ve never worn a top or dress with a single shoulder, now is the perfect time to try the trend. Keep reading to learn how to rock it this season!

How to Wear the One-Shoulder Trend:

Here are some tips on how to make this trend work for you.

* Start with a solid. Whether it’s trendy magenta or classic black, choose a solid-colored one-shoulder piece if you’re feeling nervous about the style. You can still look for chic accents, such as beading or ruffles, to give your solid color some punch, but don’t be afraid to go basic at first.

* Belt it! Celebrities have been rocking one-shoulder dresses with hot belts to showcase their waists and keep their styles far from frumpy. Take a cue from Blake Lively and Kendra Wilkinson and put a belt over your dress!

* Keep the rest of your look simple. A fabulous pair of shoes and a great bag are all you need with a one-shouldered dress.  If you’re going to wear jewelry, try a cocktail ring or glitzy earrings – you don’t want a necklace competing with your neckline!

* Don’t cover it up! This is a style that is made to be seen, not layered over. Shoulders are pretty universally attractive, so show it off, sister! If you need to keep warm, try an open blazer, cardigan, or bomber jacket so your cute threads can still be seen.

* Mix and match. Pair a slouchy one-shoulder top with tight pants or a pencil skirt for a boho chic look. If you choose a tight top, wear baggy bottoms! Wearing pieces of different proportions will keep your look fresh and  sophisticated.

* It’s all in the fit. Like most items of clothing, all one-shoulder tops fit differently, so you’re going to want to try on a variety of options before making your pick. Sometimes the necklines can hit at the wrong places or fit uncomfortably. There are lots of options within this look, from the traditional grecian style to one full sleeve or even a solo spaghetti strap. Pick what speaks to you and go from there!

* Consider the underwear. Pick your bra wisely! One-shoulder styles demand a strapless bra. Those colorful bandeau bras you might have in your closet from last spring also work well under one-shoulder tops. Your bare shoulder provides the beauty of this look – don’t clutter it with a bra strap!

Cute One-Shoulder Tops & Dresses:


Product Information:

Tops: XOXO One-Shoulder Chiffon Top, Dillard’s. One Shoulder Stripe Dolman Tunic, Arden B. One-Shoulder Flutter Top, Charlotte Russe. Ella Moss ‘Odessa’ One Shoulder Top, Nordstrom.

Dresses: T by Alexander Wang One-Shoulder Stretch Dress, Saks FIfth Avenue. Speechless One Shoulder Magenta Dress, Windsor. BCBGMAXAZRIA One Shoulder Tiered Dress with Belt and Free People “A Night’s Party” One-Shoulder Black Dress, Bloomingdales.

Outfit Inspiration:

Now that you’ve seen my tips for how to wear this trend, as well as a few cute & affordable options, let’s put it all together into an outfit! Here are some sample outfits incorporating one-shouldered pieces to get your inspiration going.

Party Night:


The belted one-shoulder top in this set gives the outfit a sexy and sophisticated edge. The black belt will define your waist and match your cigarette pants. Flat, studded gladiators are not only adorable, but will get you across campus (or across town!) blister free! Gold jewelry will bring out the rich color of your top.

Product Information:  Super Skinny Jeans in Midnight, American Eagle. One Shoulder Tiered Top, TopShop. Studded Gladiator Sandals, Steve Madden. Leather Studded Mixed Bangles, Miss Selfridge. Imperial Palace Earrings, ModCloth.

Girl’s Night Out:


Channel your inner Sex & the City leading lady in a hot pink one-shoulder dress and leopard print pumps. You know your girls will appreciate your style, so go all out and take some risks! Notice the beaded choker in this set – if you want to wear a necklace with an asymmetrical top or dress, make sure it’s a short one!

Product Information: Dellilah One Shoulder Dress, Forever 21. BCBG Generation ‘Tinas’ Platform Pump, Nordstrom. Black leather sequin clutch, Dorothy Perkins. Striking Anna Lou of London black jade Necklace,

Lounging Around On Campus:


This outfit provides the ultimate in stylish comfort for those lazy days in the library or dorm. Keep your cardigan open to show off the top’s cute ruffles, and complete your lazy-day attire with a wristlet and rainbows should you need to venture out of your room.

Product Information: Top, Old Navy. Destroyed cutoff denim shorts and Aerie cardigan, American Eagle. Rainbow sandals, Amazon. Sitting Pretty wristlet, Nine West at Zappos.

Your Thoughts?

Do any of you have suggestions on how to wear single shoulders? Is it a look you like? Let us know in the comments section!

Also, let me know if there any other trends you’re wondering how to wear! I’m always looking for ideas for new articles and am happy to help solve your fashion dilemmas.

Posted on on September 8, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , ,

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26 Responses to “How to Rock the One-Shoulder Trend”

  1. 1
    September 8th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Loveeeee the trend and all the outfits you put together I would def. wear.

    GREAT article :)

  2. 2
    September 8th, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I LOVE the one-shoulder trend. I have a solid brown one-shoulder top and a black one-shoulder dress with a ruffle that I can’t wait to wear this fall. I really want to buy that last top from Old Navy that you pictured! So cute. I also really like the top in the first outfit but I couldn’t find it on the Topshop website for some reason.

    Anyway, this was GREAT. I love the trend and I adore the outfits. I wouldn’t wear number two myself, but I do really like one and three. You really showed how to wear the trend in different ways, both dressy and casual. Really good job!!

  3. 3
    September 8th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Wow, these are actually really cute! I always thought the one-shoulder was too hard, but these are great ideas.

    I also love the idea of doing articles on how to wear trends, you think you could do one on harem pants.

  4. 4
    September 8th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I like the outfits you made, but I just don’t see this trend working for me. It’s not really in my style, and when it’s done wrong- it’s WRONG. And I go to high school, so very few people do it right!

    I think one-shoulder tops look best done formally in rich materials and colour- in a dressy top of beautiful dress. The casual ones just look kind of sloppy to me.

  5. 5
    September 8th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I really didnt think too much about the one-shoulder trend. I liked it and was going to try it eventually this season but it wasn’t one of my favorite trends until I read this post. Now that I saw a few more styles that I like better and the cute outfits on here I’ll probably try the one-shoulder while it’s still warm. Great post!

  6. 6
    September 8th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Anyone have any advice on the best one shoulder tops to work with big boobs (i’m talking D or DD).
    I find it difficult to find a good strapless bra that can work with my girls. provide support, and that can be worn under tight tops.

    Anyway, excellent post!! I’d wear any one of those outfits with a smile from ear to ear.

  7. 7
    September 8th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    whats the point of wearing a one-shouldered top if you put a cardigan over it? good article though. i like this look

  8. 8
    September 8th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    LOVE the party night outfit. I’m ready to buy that outfit head-to-toe right now! Ha- great post =) xoxo

  9. 9
    September 8th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I loved the “lounging around on campus” look!! :D
    But, again… really fat legs :( I cant wear it :'(
    Anyway I adored the idea of posting a tutorial on how to wear trends! :D Good job!

  10. 10
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    #3 is super gorgeous! I used to hate light denim but it’s so casual California cool to me now.

  11. 11
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Oh my god I love the blue top in the second picture in the top picture series! So freaking cute! The last outfit is my favorite. Definitely fits in with my personal style:)

    I’m loving CF now that there’s more writers. I love that I can visit the archives on any given day and see at least 3 or 4 new articles. Keep it up! Great work.

  12. 12
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I personally don’t like this trend; I think it looks sort of trashy. I usually don’t do trends, though, I stick very much to classic styles. I can definitely see someone who loves all things trendy to be into this.

    Also, the very first picture in this article isn’t a one shoulder top.

  13. 13
    September 9th, 2009 at 12:49 am

    I love this trend! But I think it shows off a bit too much skin for my personal taste :)

  14. 14
    September 9th, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I love all the outfits. I like the school one, it gave me some ideas on what to wear to school.

  15. 15
    September 9th, 2009 at 1:23 am

    i love this!! :) thanks so much!
    but it’s a bit sad since the weather is getting colder now….
    so less chance to wear one-shoulder :S
    I’m not sure if I should spend money on an one-shoulder piece….
    what’s your suggestion?

  16. 16
    September 9th, 2009 at 6:39 am

    I remember back when I was about 10 I had a white top with 1 long sleeve and my Dad teased me as to why I had only brought half a top. Needless to say, this is one trend I won’t be trying out again due to the painful memories it may bring.
    If only I knew how big the trend would be in 8 years time!

  17. 17
    September 9th, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Great post !! All the outfits are very nice.. we can take chance to wear in winter too but with some nice stole .. wht say ??

  18. 18
    September 9th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Jessica – Love that top too! It’s Marchesa.. forgot to put the designer names in there!

  19. 19
    September 9th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Great outfits!
    I especially love the top in the lounging around campus look!

  20. 20
    September 9th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I love how this style keeps making its way back! Its classic! I like how you can dress it down or up :)

  21. 21
    September 9th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    how to wear and tie scarves?!

  22. 22
    September 10th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I love the classic simplicity and elegance of these pieces/ this look. Also, I am in love with the pink dress from Forever21. My friends all call me Carrie, anyway, due to my SJP-like shoe fetish, so why not go all the way?

  23. 23
    September 11th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    This trend is definately a favorite of mine

  24. 24
    September 14th, 2009 at 2:31 am

    oooh the alexander wang outfit is super chic and dark, i love it. i really want to try this trend out. must go shopping!

  25. 25
    October 1st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    hi, im not sure if its classed as one shouldered but in bruno mars ‘just the way you are’ official video, the girl is wearing a top i really like any idea were to get one from? hopefully somwhere that supplies to the uk

    thanks so much xx

  26. 26
    February 7th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I can’t wear a one shouldered dress normally due to religious reasons, which is quite depressing as it does look amazing. I was thinking of alternative ways to do so, I was wondering if wearing a full sleeved lace top [Only lace nothing under] under it would look alright? I tried it out at a friend’s birthday, some people really liked it, others found it alright, I don’t know.


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