How To Style A Strapless Top Or Dress For Those Summer Days When It's All You Want To Wear


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 2019 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.

Evening With Edge


For your next evening event that requires something slightly more formal, consider a structured bustier top worn with a skirt and sleek boots. The combination may sound odd, but as illustrated above, is surprisingly very wearable and chic. Add a statement neckless and coat slung off the shoulder for a polished finish.

Pared-Down To Perfection

If you're not entirely sure how to make a strapless look work for you, try styling a tank or tee underneath a tube top. The combination makes it easy to layer a bra underneath sans-slippage and is a cool excuse to pile on your favorite tops.

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 pair of strappy sandals.

Something Splashy

If you're attending a black-tie wedding, a strapless dress is an elegant choice. For a party where you want to stand out, look for a metallic style in a midi length and style with colorful accessories.

Chill Color Palette

If you're going the printed scarf route, why not add in a pair of brightly-hued trousers for a 70s-inspired ensemble? Add a straw bag and PVC sandals for a look that's thoroughly interesting.

Exquisitely Eccentric

Though a strapless top and chartreuse-colored bike shorts may sound too adventurous, as you can see above, it looks not only cool but delightfully comfortable. Since spandex shorts are a must-try trend for summer, this combo is an easy, trend-forward look for a hot day.

Cool Co-Ords

Try a coordinated look by styling a tube top or even a strapless swim bandeau with a high-waisted bottom in the same (or similar) print. Though casual, the result still feels polished.

Back To Basics

Sometimes, it's just about keeping things simple. Tuck a tube top into jeans or your favorite shorts for an easy weekend outfit. Add your favorite sunnies and you're good to go.

Relaxed Accessories


Don't be afraid to repurpose the fancier looks in your closet for daytime. Go for something unexpected and add a belt and flat sandals to your strapless evening dress — the perfect date look.


Give yourself some '90s Kate Moss vibes by way of a strapless corset worn with relaxed trousers (all in black, of course). Though not ideal for an extra-toasty day, this polished combo is a great choice for lunch or dinner on vacation.