Narrow shoulders / sloping shoulders...

NARROW SHOULDERS are a problem for many many women - but fortunately it's one of the easiest problems to correct.

Narrow or sloping shoulders spoil the way your clothes look and hang, it's ageing and it distorts the figure in general. 

Follow these style tips to disguise or correct this area and not only will you feel more comfortable but your overall silhouette will be much improved.

Everyone's favorite cook Mary Berry often wears a boat neckline that admirably suits her and flatters her narrow shoulders.

Narrow shoulders and how to flatter #narrow shoulders #Mary Berry

A firm shoulder line...

provides the best support on which to hang your clothes. Models tend to be tall and rectangular with broad shoulders because garments look better hanging from the top of the body - rather like on a clothes hanger!

Narrow shoulders usually go hand in hand with curvy hips and in particular a pear shaped body. If the hips are naturally wider then the top half of the body will be slight and the shoulders can be sloping.

When your shoulders are narrow or sloping your clothes will droop and cling to the curves of your figure which tends to shorten and widen your silhouette.

Lack of shoulder width makes the body look larger...

  • The eye hits the top of the body first then travels down and rests on the widest point
  • Narrow shoulders make your bottom half look wider shortening the look of your body
  • Instead of hanging from the shoulders, clothes will first settle on the bust making it look larger
  • Small shoulders mean that any weight that's gathered around the midriff will be accentuated
  • Sloping shoulders make a woman look 'droopy' and frumpy, and it's ageing
  • A petite woman with narrow shoulders will look shorter still - even 'dumpy'
  • Excess fabric will 'bag' around the shoulder line, it will look and feel uncomfortable
  • Avoid raglan sleeves they will make it look worse
Narrow shoulders and how to flatter #narrow shoulders #Mary Berry

Balance your figure by broadening the shoulder line...

  • Good posture is important, stand tall and proud and hold your head up high
  • Widening the shoulder line to draw the eye up the top of the body
  • More emphasis on the shoulders takes it away from the midriff and hips
  • Choose a neckline that will widen the look of the shoulders
  • Set in sleeves and structured tops help to emphasize shoulders
  • Design detail on the shoulders will draw the eye
  • Wear shoulder pads to give clothes the desired shape - they don't have to be 'Dynasty' size!

Choose flattering necklines and shoulder detail to add width...

  • Wear shirts and tops with an open collar or wide V neck
  • Boat and slash necklines create a horizontal line
  • A square neck works too
  • Choose a set-in sleeve that extends slightly past the natural shoulder line
  • Even a slightly puff sleeve top
  • A sundress looks best with wider straps or a dress that slightly over extends the shoulder line
  • Choose a jacket with structured shoulders, the tailoring doesn't have to be severe

Widening narrow shoulders instantly balances your figure...

What about shoulder pads? Cheap but magic!

I have narrow and sloping shoulders and my answer is a little bit of magic called Shoulder Pads! Now I know it's fashionable to avoid shoulder pads altogether these days and that's OK but if you're like me, they can be your salvation!

Slightly padded shoulders give a more balanced slimmer figure and a more youthful appearance. They don't have to be large, we're not talking 'Dallas' but once you realise what a difference they make to your overall silhouette you won't want to be without them.

There are several different types, go for what suits you or get a variety for different outfits.

A pair of shaped foam pads hug the shoulders and give a very natural outline under knitwear. Alternatively, you can choose a foam pad that fits in with a little bit of velcro to hold it in place.

Narrow shoulders and how to flatter #narrow shoulders #Mary Berry

Choose a rounded shape to sit over the edge of the shoulder or a squared off edge to sit comfortably into a set in sleeve top. It's trial and error to find which is best for you and they're very inexpensive so keep a set of both black and white.

If you are wearing a t-shirt and a shirt jacket over the top, you won't want to wear shoulder pads in both and the Velcro means you can whip them in and out at will!!

The way it was...

Right: This painting by artist Francesco Hayez epitomises the silhouette that was fashionable in America of the 1830's.

Sloping shoulders were said to be caused by 6-10 layers of thick heavy petticoats weighing over 10 pounds, attached to a corset with shoulder straps.

From early teens a girl had all that weight on her shoulders while the skeleton was still growing.

Narrow shoulders and how to flatter #narrow shoulders #Mary Berry


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