Naked shoulders: Celebrate 15 styles that flatter all ages and figures

At last, an erogenous zone we can ALL show off! As naked shoulders dominate the Golden Globes, LAURA CRAIK celebrates the 15 styles that can flatter all ages and figures

  • Many different ways of styling your shoulders were on show at Golden Globes
  • Shoulders are elegant and sculptural, regardless of whatever else is going on
  • No matter your age, figure or confidence, you are sure to find outfit inspiration

Red carpet events rarely offer practical fashion trends for those of an unconfident disposition. Yet, at last, it seems that has changed. For at Tuesday night’s Golden Globes, one of the most pervasive, persuasive themes of the evening was a shoulder-exposing gown.

Finally, the fashion gods have presented us with an erogenous zone we can all get behind, no matter how body-negative we may be feeling. Not every woman is confident about baring her knees, her hips, her midriff or her cleavage, but few baulk at showing their shoulders.

Shoulders, after all, are devoid of such concerns as sagging or crepey lines or muffin tops. Like a fine wine, they age well. By definition, they are elegant and sculptural, regardless of whatever else is going on elsewhere.

While many women of a certain age might fret about the tone of their upper arms, they are unlikely to fret about their actual shoulders. As Jennifer Coolidge, who won a Best Supporting Actress Globe for her role in The White Lotus, proves, a simple off-shoulder sleeved gown confers instant sex appeal whether the wearer is 16 or 61, as Coolidge is.

It also shows how those with more ample breasts needn’t be precluded from wearing the style. In fact, with the help of a supportive bra, a black, strapless top can even make larger cup sizes look smaller.

As I detail here, more than a dozen different ways of styling your shoulders were on show at the Golden Globes, meaning no matter your age, figure or confidence level, you are sure to find inspiration.

The red carpet is the last place most women would turn to for fashion trends that can be accommodated into their wardrobes. That A-listers have presented us with one so early in the year bodes well for 2023 — and for our bodies.

ALL ABOUT THE SLEEVES

Selena Gomez’s strapless Valentino gown argues the case for velvet, with the puff sleeves leaving her shoulders the stars of the show.

Selena Gomez’s strapless Valentino gown argues the case for velvet, with the puff sleeves leaving her shoulders the stars of the show

BOUDOIR ELEGANCE

Daisy Edgar Jones’s lace corset dress, by Gucci, takes its inspiration from the lingerie drawer, and means you can bare your shoulders while still feeling secure.

Daisy Edgar Jones’s lace corset dress, by Gucci, takes its inspiration from the lingerie drawer, and means you can bare your shoulders while still feeling secure

CURVED HIGH RISE

Jessica Chastain’s strapless spider web-effect gown is classic Oscar de la Renta. Rather than sitting straight across her chest, the bodice rose up in a curve, avoiding showing cleavage.

Jessica Chastain’s strapless spider web-effect gown is classic Oscar de la Renta. Rather than sitting straight across her chest, the bodice rose up in a curve, avoiding showing cleavage

TACTICAL HAIR PLACEMENT

The peplum detail on Michelle Yeoh’s strapless gown by Armani Prive makes for a striking silhouette. She has cleverly worn her hair to one side, so the gown seems to be one-shouldered.

The peplum detail on Michelle Yeoh’s strapless gown by Armani Prive makes for a striking silhouette. She has cleverly worn her hair to one side, so the gown seems to be one-shouldered

NARROW HALTERNECK

Margot Robbie’s gown took Chanel’s ateliers 750 hours to make — and it shows. The halterneck style features narrow straps that display her elegant neck, falling sharply away down the side of her breasts to show the edges of her chest.

Margot Robbie’s gown took Chanel’s ateliers 750 hours to make — and it shows. The halterneck style features narrow straps that display her elegant neck, falling sharply away down the side of her breasts to show the edges of her chest

BACKLESS AND STRAPLESS 

The simplicity of Lily James’s red Atelier Versace bandeau top is contrasted by her matching skirt featuring frills and volume.

The simplicity of Lily James’s red Atelier Versace bandeau top is contrasted by her matching skirt featuring frills and volume

SQUARE HIGH RISE 

With a panel of 3D sequins rising into a square neckline, Ana de Armas’s strapless Louis Vuitton gown is a bold choice that took 150 hours to make. 

With a panel of 3D sequins rising into a square neckline, Ana de Armas’s strapless Louis Vuitton gown is a bold choice that took 150 hours to make

CROSS BACK

The crossover strap detail on Claire Danes’s Giambattista Valli gown accentuates her toned back.

The crossover strap detail on Claire Danes’s Giambattista Valli gown accentuates her toned back

DARING DROP

Elizabeth Debicki’s strapless Dior gown is simply stunning. The top sits lower than many other strapless styles, but is great for anyone boasting exquisite collarbones and a smaller chest.

Elizabeth Debicki’s strapless Dior gown is simply stunning. The top sits lower than many other strapless styles, but is great for anyone boasting exquisite collarbones and a smaller chest

WIDE HALTERNECK 

Black Panther star Angela Bassett looks fabulous in her Pamella Roland sequin halterneck gown, a subtle way of baring her great shoulders and toned arms.

Black Panther star Angela Bassett looks fabulous in her Pamella Roland sequin halterneck gown, a subtle way of baring her great shoulders and toned arms

ONE-SHOULDER RUFFLES 

The ruffles on Michelle Williams’s Gucci gown make it daring, but its asymmetrical cut is perfect for those trying a shoulder-baring style for the first time.

The ruffles on Michelle Williams’s Gucci gown make it daring, but its asymmetrical cut is perfect for those trying a shoulder-baring style for the first time

SPAGHETTI STRAPS

The thin straps on the Valentino gown worn by Eddie Redmayne’s wife Hannah Bagshawe ensures her sideboob-baring dress stays in place, giving a focus to her shoulders. 

The thin straps on the Valentino gown worn by Eddie Redmayne’s wife Hannah Bagshawe ensures her sideboob-baring dress stays in place, giving a focus to her shoulders

SHEER GLAMOUR

Salma Hayek’s Gucci gown shows how effective sheer fabric can be in baring shoulders in a subtler way.

Salma Hayek’s Gucci gown shows how effective sheer fabric can be in baring shoulders in a subtler way

BANDEAU TOP

Anya Taylor-Joy pulls off a small, bright yellow Dior bandeau top with conviction, displaying shoulders and midriff.

Anya Taylor-Joy pulls off a small, bright yellow Dior bandeau top with conviction, displaying shoulders and midriff

UPPER-ARM COVERAGE

Jennifer Coolidge’s sequinned Dolce & Gabbana fishtail gown shows off her shoulders in a understated way and deserves the award of best supporting strap.

Jennifer Coolidge’s sequinned Dolce & Gabbana fishtail gown shows off her shoulders in a understated way and deserves the award of best supporting strap

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