What Women Can Wear to Downplay Broad Shoulders

Written by lauren tyree
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What Women Can Wear to Downplay Broad Shoulders
Avoid shoulder pads to disguise broad shoulders. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

If you are a woman who wants to minimise the appearance of broad shoulders and create the illusion of an hourglass shape, there are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for clothes. Smart fashion choices that create vertical lines, can go a long way toward downplaying broad shoulders.

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Plunging Necklines

Dresses and shirts with shallow necklines tend to underscore broad shoulders by drawing the eye upward. Reduce this effect by wearing deep crew necks and plunging V-necks, which direct the eye lower. This will de-emphasise the horizontal line of your collarbone and shoulders and focus attention on the vertical lines of your torso. This trick will also elongate your neck and make your upper body appear slimmer. Stay away from boat necks and anything off the shoulder, since these items will only make your shoulders appear wider than they are.

Low Waistlines

Cinched or snug waistlines only highlight the broadness of your shoulders. A very narrow waist draws attention to broad shoulders, so wear your skirts, trousers and dresses low on your hips to make your torso look longer. You can also experiment with asymmetrical designs and seams at the waist to draw attention to your midsection and away from the upper torso. This trick also adds height. Stay away from empire waistlines, which sit high on the torso, just below the chest. These only draw more attention to the area you want to downplay by adding bulk.

Subtle Sleeves

Too much bulk around your arms attracts the eye to your upper torso and creates the appearance of wider, bulkier shoulders. Stick with thin, lightweight material for sleeves, and avoid puffy or padded shoulders and sleeves at all costs. You can go completely sleeveless with your tops, choosing thin straps to keep the eye from focusing too much on the horizontal line of your shoulders.

Dramatic Bottoms

Emphasise your lower body with light trousers with dark, slimming tops. Enhance your curves below the waist with hip-hugging jeans and flared trousers. If your shoulders are very wide compared to your hips, you don't need to worry about concealing your hips or backside with dark colours or masculine cuts. Draw attention to the lower half of your body while keeping prints and colours simple at the top.

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