Clever cutouts, microscopic miniskirts, and hipbone-grazing leg slits — cumulatively, the dominant trends of spring 2022 serve as a love letter to the body. This new era of sultry fashion, however, is more than just putting flesh on display in the name of shock value. It heralds a more intuitive, thoughtful approach to celebrating the human form. Consider the onslaught of halter top outfits now gracing your Instagram feed as temperatures rise and the app’s beloved trendsetters revive their warm-weather styling skills. In a testament to the strategic art form of an elegant skin reveal, the industry’s in-crowd are now utilizing halter-style blouses to show off their shoulders, collarbones, and backs for all to see.
“For the past couple of years, we have been wearing comfort clothing,” says Sherri McMullen of the eponymous luxury retailer, referring to the all-encompassing loungewear craze of 2020 and beyond. “Now that the world [continues to] open up, people are interested in showing more skin this spring,” she details to TZR over email. McMullen invites you to consider the Spring/Summer 2022 season, too: Brands like STAUD, Balmain, and Victor Gelmaud debuted individualistic halter tops that wrapped around each models’ neck to create various sensual and playful silhouettes.
Alix Freireich, co-founder of indie label Maiden Name, echoes McMullen, saying halter tops possess an innate romantic quality that appeals to those keen on a sultry sartorial attitude. She postures the sleeveless blouse’s sensual spirit is due to its signature wrap-around neck design, which naturally draws focus to the wearer’s décolletage. “I definitely loved a dELiA*s halter top in middle school for this very reason,” jests the designer.
Furthermore, McMullen says nostalgia also plays an instrumental role in the halter top’s 2022 resurgence since the style was a signature of the ’90s and ’00s. Tyler McGillivary, founder of the eponymous, maximalist It label concurs with McMullen and says this cultural craving for familiarity makes sense given the turmoil of recent years. “People are reaching for the past right now, as the future seems very uncertain, scary, and unpredictable,” says McGillivary. “There’s a comfort in looking back to something assured and familiar,” offers the designer — and that includes the halter top styles from your youth.
Ahead, discover eight halter top outfits to try out this spring and summer. From tennis court-ready to soft and romantic, each ensemble below speaks to a different aesthetic and comes with a TZR-curated edit of pieces to shop.
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For A Friday Night Out
“I have always had a soft spot for a going-out top, even if that means something different these days,” says Maiden Name’s Freireich, referring to a halter-style blouse as a fabulous hero piece in a nighttime ensemble. A sharply tailored blazer, form-fitting trouser, and slingback heels make for excellent accompaniments to a party-ready strappy, sleeveless top.
“The Fiona top is based on a ‘70s vest paired with Sarah Jessica Parker’s style in the movie Mars Attacks because I wanted a piece that referenced both the past and imagined futures,” details McGillivary on the retrofuturistic influences behind her brand’s mega-viral Fiona Top. “The silhouette is inherently retro, but the fabric and colorways feel futuristic to me in a cartoon way. The fit inherently evokes a sort of disco-era feel for our customers, while the colors feel bold and interesting,” she describes to TZR.
For what appears to be the umpteenth time, Tyler McGillivary’s Fiona Top has, unfortunately, sold out in both its pink and blue colorways. Hope is not lost, however: You can achieve a comparable dopamine-boosting, throwback feel with a similar highly-saturated and collared vest — consider Moschino’s quirky cerulean halter top with teddy bear motif appliqués.
Whether you need a beach outfit for an upcoming getaway or are merely fantasizing about a sandy escape, a sleeveless halter top is the perfect element to complete your oceanic fantasy. Furthermore, a blouse in a sprightly tangerine shade, one of spring 2022’s leading color trends, will increase your ensemble’s sartorial sunshine. And, if you’re so inclined, perhaps dabble with fashion’s ongoing interest in body jewelry via a draped torso chain?
“We knew we wanted to make something beautiful and event worthy — something we’d want to wear when the world opened up again,” says Maiden Name’s Freireich on the brand’s bustier-style Masha Top. “I would love to imagine someone wearing [the Masha Top] somewhere special and them feeling beautiful in it.” As for styling the romantic blouse, the co-founder suggests exploring the pieces versatility, saying, “it could be styled with anything from jeans to a very elegant skirt.”
Call it an effect of 2022’s maximalist phenomenon, but whimsical, almost childlike outfits have become ever-popular amongst fashion’s in-crowd. For spring and summer, the eccentric attitude manifests via playful prints, extreme vibrance, and, as the McMullen founder points out, playful appliqués. “I personally am drawn to a halter style with a bit of embellishment to pair with a spectacular skirt — like Carolina Herrera’s Floral Appliqué Top,” she describes.
Yes, you have your moral formal halter tops, the ones detailed with intricate adornments or fabricated out of saccharine silk taffeta. But the sleeveless number is just as ubiquitous in the casual loungewear space, too — look to K.NGLSEY’s subversive cutout tank, which boasts a dedicated cult following on Insta. The surrealist-esque halter pairs well with muted and comfortable separates, like dark trousers and cozy slides.
A More Modest Mood
“If you are not as comfortable showing skin or if you are in a cooler climate, you can pair a layering piece underneath [a halter top], like a simple tee or a sheer bodysuit,” offers McMullen. The combo requires a bit of thoughtful styling execution — e.g., playing with proportions, materials, and colors — but the effect is undeniably chic. For a tongue-in-cheek take on suiting, pair a tailored halter vest with a mesh undershirt and pair of dark, tuxedo-style trousers.
A crisp white halter top makes for an ideal opportunity to play with a sporty tenniscore moment. Team a strappy, wrap-around blouse with a pleated white skirt, slip into a pair of stark white tennis sneakers, and channel your inner Naomi Osaka. You can, however, leave your racquet at home.