The neckline of a top or dress is one of those constructional details that can transform the entirety of an outfit's aesthetic. Take, for example, a Victorian-inspired ruffled neck — it instantly adds drama and elegance. Other silhouettes up top are more about modern romance: '90s-inspired square-neck, sweetheart, or strapless necklines. In fact, though notoriously tricky — especially when it comes to coordinating a bra — mastering how to style a strapless top or dress is an important skill for summer.
During the 1930s, strapless gowns emerged as a favorite sartorial option and since then, the neckline has evolved with each decade. The aughts were defined by tube top silhouettes, with pop stars like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears blowing up the trend (who can forget Spears's denim strapless dress worn alongside Justin Timberlake in a matching Canadian tuxedo?).
In 2020 the strapless neckline is making yet another comeback, but this time around, options aren't relegated to a single sensibility. Vacation-worthy scarf tops and swingy day dresses you could easily pair with sporty sandals have both become favorites on Instagram. "I love that strapless tops and dresses are back in such a major way," Shopbop Fashion Director Caroline Maguire tells TZR. "For a modern twist on this throwback trend, try layering a favorite tee under strapless styles.”
Further cementing the strapless look's must-try status, it has appeared on the red carpet when Natalie Portman opted for a Dior jumpsuit at an Oscars afterparty, and several key runways during fashion week including Valentino and Celine also featured the look.
For more ideas, continue ahead to see which fashion editors and influencers are test driving the silhouette in their own wardrobes and shop your favorites to bare a little shoulder this season.
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How To Style A Strapless Top: Evening With Edge
For your next evening event that requires something slightly more formal, consider a structured bustier top worn with trousers and sleek boots. As illustrated above, is surprisingly very wearable and chic. Add a statement neckless and coat slung off the shoulder for a polished finish.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Keep It Simple
Sometimes, it's just about keeping things simple. Style a floral bustier top with a simple pair of vintage-wash jeans for a look that's ideal for an easy weekend outfit. Add your favorite sunnies and you're good to go.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Pared-Down To Perfection
If you're not entirely sure how to make a strapless look work for you, try styling denim on denim, and if you so desire —add a white tee underneath.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Sporty And Sweet
A structured corset is ideal for a playful contrast against sneakers and a sweatshirt. Opt for this ensemble when you're hoping to dress up for daytime.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Layered Up
A strapless scarf-as-top makes for an idea top layer if you want to share off a bra underneath. Choose opposing colors to make what's underneath pop.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Cool Coordination
Try a playfully styled look layering a tube top or even a strapless swim bandeau with high-waisted bottoms that coordinate in a cool way. Though casual, the result still feels polished.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Take It To Nighttime
Don't be afraid to repurpose the fancier looks in your closet for daytime. Go for something unexpected and add flat sandals to your strapless top and coordinated skirt — the perfect date look.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Try Cool Cut Outs
Give yourself some '90s Kate Moss vibes by way of a strapless top with creative details like a neck cut out. Pair with throwback staples like funky printed pants and platform sandals.
How To Style A Strapless Top: Holiday In The Sun
If you're searching for a new vacation look that'll feel unique, consider a crafty take on the strapless top and tie a scarf around your body. Finish with low-slung jeans and your favorite sneakers.
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