Clothes To Avoid If You Have
Broad Shoulders

Women with broad shoulders often feel very sensitive about them and want to de-emphasize them. The trick, like all other discussion on female body types, is to move the eye away from 'negative' features. At the same time creating balance.

We can rarely change our body shape but you may be amazed just how much you can change perception. There are many ways to 'trick' the mind's eye and reduce the impact.

I would ordinarily try to keep all comment on one page but it seems that there is insufficient advice readily available on this subject so I have divided this section into two.

This page features clothes you should avoid. Whilst this information is hopefully a help to you, it might be seen as being a little depressing but it is not meant to be! 

It is certainly not all doom and gloom. When you have read this page, please, please, please cheer yourself up by clicking the link for the 'sister' pages on flattering styles:

which will provide all sorts of positive advice - which is the real purpose of this site.

The Problem Is As Wide As It Is Broad.

There are a number of broad shouldered celebrities who certainly do not act as though they have a problem with it. Charlize Theron (above), Angelina Jolie, Sophia Bush, Megan Fox (above) and Cameron Diaz all come to mind.

That said, all these ladies are very slim. So perhaps we need to redefine our terms. These ladies have wide but not necessarily broad shoulders. It is a subtle difference but one that is worth keeping in mind as you read through this.

Of course the other issue is proportion. One's body shape is very much an issue. If you are a curvy hour shape, the hips will balance out the shoulders and they almost fade away. Apparently Jennifer Lopez is judged by some to have large shoulders but rarely hits the lists of broad shouldered celebrities and I suspect that is very much to do with her shape.

It will also explain why there is some dispute over certain 'rules'. For example straps.

There is a major dispute amongst knowledgeable women on this but I would say that you should normally avoid spaghetti, or any other thin straps, and opt for mid size straps

You do not necessarily want to go for wide straps because you do not want to be associated with anything wide in that body area. Equally your shoulders may dwarf thin spaghetti straps, so something in the middle is probably best. 

I think the main issue here is delicate one. Bulk. If you have big 'swimmers' shoulders you will think very differently to very slim ladies with wide shoulders.

I will therefore concentrate on the problems for ladies with big, as opposed to thin shoulders. The issues are similar but ladies with thinner profiles can 'get away' with a lot more.

The Worst Clothes If You Are
Broad Shouldered

Not so much clothes as such, but styles and clothing features to avoid. Some will come from the school of the screamingly obvious but some you may not have thought about. I discuss each in a little more detail below this list:

  • Strapless tops
  • Spaghetti straps
  • Halter necks
  • Shoulder pads
  • Off the shoulder
  • Square necklines
  • Horizontal lines
  • Sleeves
  • Skinny Jeans
  • Tight tops
  • Small waist
  • Bolero jackets

Some of these may seem obvious to you, some you may know instinctively but have never thought about the reason. Either way it is always good to 'know your enemy' and understand why things do not work for you. Remember always the point above about bulky as opposed to thin shoulders.

Having said that, rules are there to be broken. You can wear what you want. Style is personal. I always prefer to highlight the positive but these are styles that you at least need to know might be considered inappropriate. If you wish to add something else to this list or think something should not be on it, please see the tips below.

However with a well cut item and some style you can carry almost anything in the above list off if you want.

How to Dress Swimmers Shoulders
(or Not)

# Strapless tops. This is a real bone of contention. One camp will argue that that bare flesh will draw attention to your (allegedly) broad shoulders because they are on display. After all bare flesh draws the eye like nothing else.

The other camp argues that it is the rest of the bare flesh that draws the attention away from the shoulders. See the photos of Megan Fox and Charlize Theron further up the page  and judge for yourself. 

You can judge for yourself if strapless (or demi strapless) tops look good on Miss Jolie and Miss Diaz. For contrast, I have examples of both these ladies looking amazing on the sister page (wide shoulders), without a hint of shoulder. That means they certainly feel they can wear either style, flash the flesh or cover it. 

# Straps are good but not necessarily spaghetti straps, or indeed any thin straps, on broad shoulders. They can make things around them look big by comparison which is not a look we would want. This really is a judgement call for you alone. Do you feel it makes the sh.....rs stand out, or not?

As an aside, the picture on the right is the 'Meadow' dress worn by the character Padme in the Stars Wars movies. This is one of a series of dresses and outfits that Padme wears that are almost a master class in what not to wear for a broad shouldered women.

# Halter necks. Some (very learned people) advocate halter-necks for ladies with broad shoulder, I urge caution. Their logic is that the material, being near your neck, draws the eye vertically up to your face. I can see the logic but personally still feel the negative outweighs the positive. There is still too much emphasis on the sh... word.

However I stress it is different for thin but wide shoulders. I am talking specifically about broad (not thin and wide) shoulders.

The lady on the left does not have broad shoulders but it shows how much flesh is is on display. You could of course try and deflect attention by accessorizing with a feathered friend but that may not be practical in a work situation, so keep the bird for special occasions.

Now I appreciate the photo on the right is a shameless use of a photo to exaggerate my point, but I put this to you. The lady in question clearly wants to show off her muscular physique. She has chosen a halterneck. I rest my case Your Honour.

However, the halternecks right or wrong argument is still very open as you will see below.

How to dress swimmers shoulders? This is an area of contention. A halterneck clearly suits some but not others. There are countless pictures of allegedly broad shouldered ladies wearing them so you have the ability to judge for yourself.

In fact I sought out pictures of the current golden girl, Missy Frankin specifically for this issue. Now do not get me wrong, I mean no disrespect to this young lady, she is a phenomenal athlete and literally blew away the competition to win various swimming gold medals at the London Olympics. 

I show the picture on the left of her in a sweat shirt for comparison sake only. Now whilst I generally do not advocate halternecks I think the picture on the right, proves me wrong as it shows a halterneck works well on her.

Am I going to eat my words? Well I think one reason this dress works is that the torso area is floaty which widens it and so the shoulders look proportional.

I am always willing to admit a mistake but this is a seriously difficult issue. I do not want to wimp out but would say you have to try this style for yourself and possibly get some feedback from someone who you know will be honest. Colour, strap width, neckline depth, all will make a difference as to whether it works on you or not.

# Shoulder pads. Who on earth would want to add more bulk or width? Yes I know it is screamingly obvious but I still have to list it. Many jackets have inbuilt shoulder pads; ensure you only buy garments with minimal padding.

So who would wear them? - me actually, because I have narrow shoulders and big hips - and that sums up style; what is good for some female body types is awful for another and vice versa.

# Big Collars. You should generally be avoiding any large features up around the neck and shoulder area.

# Off the shoulder necklines. Not only does this bare an expanse of flesh, which will automatically draw the eye but it has a horizontal plane, which suggests wide. Not a word you want to be associated with. In fact almost any high necked style requires serious consideration as it may not suit you.

However, asymmetrical and one shoulder tops can work really well for broad shouldered ladies. (Sorry, the tops that work best for broad shoulders should be discussed on the sister page - wide shoulders, but I could not resist the above photo).

# Square necklines. You also might want to avoid square edged necklines and features as rounded necklines help negate the boxy look shoulders can give.

# Horizontal lines / patterns. These will draw the eye across the torso, as above, and emphasize width. I have written a whole page on this issue - see striped dresses.

# Sleeves. This is one that women often think little about but it is surprising how much effect it can have on your entire look. Take a look at sleeve width - a page I devote to this issue. But the overriding advice is to generally avoid cap sleeves, bulky or puffy sleeves or detail around the shoulders.

The lady below may be very pretty but a wide square neckline and skinny jeans. Ooops. Fine if you have the confidence. The other picture I love because it is almost the epitome of what not to wear if you have broad shoulders.

# Skinny jeans. Drain pipe or any narrow fitting pants (trousers) or skirts. You may well have a small ass (bottom) and / or slim or shapely legs and have liked to flaunt them but these styles emphasize that inverted V shape that spreads up and out towards those shoulders.

# Tight tops. These will only accentuate the exact nature of your figure. This is of course true for all female body types and one of the more obvious warning flags.

# Small waist. Normally this would be considered a good thing on a woman but it can accentuate the inverted V shape which flows up and out from that point. I am not saying get fat or even hide it. I am merely saying do not cinch it in or over-emphasize it with a feature if you do not have a 'wide' feature below to balance it out. 

# Bolero jackets. Not all bad but some can look like American footballers shoulder pads.

When you see a long list like that it is a tad depressing but cheer yourself up with this thought, the list of flattering clothes for athletic shoulders is actually longer - See either of the 2 links below.

As I keep stating throughout this site, 'know thine enemy'. If you know what does not work on your body shape, you are far better placed to dress to maximise your style.

There is nothing sadder in fashion than seeing women wearing clothes that clearly do not suit them and they are oblivious to the fact. It takes a seriously good friend to break the news, or sites like this, which are something you can read and digest privately.

However, as I keep repeating, style is personal and you can wear what you like. This list is only for ladies who are self conscious and want to know how to de-emphasize a feature.

Many readers also enjoy the following two pages:

Broad shoulders Women

The best styles for wide shoulders

Your other choices:

  • If you wish to return to the section on what to wear, or what not to wear, for the various body shape, click the link.
  • If you would like to see more discussion on clothes for big breasts, head over to the home page.
  • Come On ladies. Many of you will be very knowledgeable on this subject - provide a tip yourself. Share a thought or recommendation to help other ladies - see the section below.
  • Plus, I am always grateful if you would be so kind as to 'Like' this page / site on Facebook

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Did you like this page, did you learn something, maybe it reinforced you own views? I want to give as much (hopefully helpful) advice to the busty sisterhood as I can.

Please remember, we are all different. You may like to wear certain clothes and styles which I am suggesting that you should not. That is your absolute right. Do what makes you feel good. This site undeniably goes for the more modest approach because I feel all busty ladies already know how to be more racy if they wish.

It would really help me improve the site profile if you would click the Facebook 'Like' button. Pretty please! Susan

Please share this page

Ever felt like this?

Do not worry, you are not alone. The fact that most super models and almost any female athlete worth a jot also have broad shoulders too is not going to wash with you.


You Maybe Different but  you are
Still Gorgeous

If you have no problem with this issue - good. However many ladies do have concerns and this page is primarily for them.

Is there any point in telling you that you are probably gorgeous and that most people probably will not even notice your shoulders?

This is scant comfort for ladies who consider this a 'problem'. However this site is not about the rights and wrongs.

It is about offering solutions and making women feel better about themselves by offering positive advice.

If you have real experience of this and can share any clothing tips for other women with broad shoulders I would love to hear from you.

This page is devoted to clothes for athletic shoulders and what not to wear but if you have other tips, please share them.


I have broad shoulders and hate them

That may seem excessive to women who do not have this issue but is not uncommon with ladies that do.

Personally I have fairly 'thin' shoulders but was struck by how strong the feelings ran amongst those women of all female body types that have wider shoulders. Hence the need for this page.

Personally I actually use some of the issues I suggest you guard against, to do the opposite and build my shoulder area up to balance my hips.


Click on the advert to go to the Bounteous website

I am an Athlete Will My Figure Change?

You will probably never be a ditzy little girl, but it is almost certain that your figure will change once you stop training.

You only have to look at ladies like Chris Evert the tennis player to see how the muscular physique drops away and the figure 'normalises' once the hard graft stops.

That said I respect any woman that plays sport at a high level. The commitment and training is immense.



Amazon Perfection?

The Amazons were apparently a tribe of fiercesome warlike women that outfought their male counterparts. Do you think they were a bunch of ditzy cuties? I think not.

When we watch the athletes at events like the Olympic games we admire their athletic frames, fitness and stamina. I for one certainly wish I was half as fit. Almost every one of these women will have slightly larger shoulders than their sisters in the shopping malls. Why is that a bad thing?

Being athletic does not mean unattractive. In fact almost the complete opposite. There is an enormously successful US magazine called Sports Illustrated that features sportswomen that men habitually drool over.

This whole issue therefore needs perspective.


Flattering Necklines - The Book!

A perfect Summer read, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee in one of those flashy coffee bars

I have been overwhelmed by the interest and kind words of so many readers on this issue that I decided to write a Quick Guide, Kindle book on the subject (see above).

This has allowed me to write a concise guide on the most flattering neckline styles and expand a little on others.

I will try and create it in different formats but currently it is in kindle ebooks format only.


Velkommen danskere
(Welcome Danes)

Delighted to get a mention on a Danish forum. 

'Jeg fandt dette link, som skriver noget om, hvad der klæder kvinder med brede skuldre: 

Sweetheart-udskæringen fremhæver din barm på en feminin og sød måde, og hvis du nu fx har hængehår, så kan det jo dække dine skuldre lidt, hvis du er til det (ellers kan et slør nok også).'

Sweetheart-neckline accentuates your breasts in a feminine and sweet way, and if you now have eg hængehår, then it may well cover your shoulders a little, if you're into it (otherwise a veil works well enough too).

(Sorry - I could not translate what hængehår means)


Please Spread the Word

If you are particularly interested in fashion; clothes for big breasts; or simply have a top heavy friend that you know might appreciate the site; please help me reach others by tweeting or sharing through any social media you use.

Nothing helps a site like this more than 'normal' people (not clever marketeers) simply sharing a page or two.

Susan


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