Ah, the one-shoulder look. I have a special place in my heart for this style, and it makes me want to take a trip down memory lane.
In high school, I was way into the one-shoulder thing. I remember my favorite formal dress for school dances was a one-shoulder, iridescent blue, floor length dress with rhinestones at the top. Ah the early 00’s. I might giggle at it now, but I remember loving that dress and feeling amazing in it back then.
These days, I probably wouldn’t don a one-shoulder dress that’s iridescent and covered in rhinestones — but I most certainly would wear a one-shoulder top that fits my neutral + minimal aesthetic now. Isn’t it fun when old styles come back around and you get to put your current spin on them?
So let’s jump in! Today I’ll be sharing three quick outfit ideas, from casual to fancy, all featuring a one-shoulder top.
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Top | Shorts (similar for less) | Sandals | Bag (similar for less) | Earrings
Let’s start out with the easiest look. I kept things simple here and went tone on tone with a black one-shoulder top tucked into black shorts. Even though black clothes can be hot in the summer, I still love wearing them because they never show any sweat spots. And now that we’re into July, well, there’s a lot of sweating going on. :)
Here are several other one-shoulder tank options:
To finish off the look, I kept things casual and playful with flat woven sandals, a slouchy tote, and fun wood beaded earrings.
Top | Jeans | Heels (same shoe in more sizes in black) | Bag (similar for less) | Earrings
Now for our second look — I love this one because it’s not too dressy, nor too casual. It lands somewhere right in the middle, ideal for those occasions when you don’t know whether to dress up or down.
Want to know my favorite trick to make denim look extra modern? Keep the hems unrolled. I’ve always been a hem roller, but that’s starting to change. To me, it makes a big difference in the overall look — and it’s a good reminder that sometimes all it takes is a simple styling switch up to make an old staple feel fresh again.
Let’s talk undergarments for a second. What do you wear underneath a one-shoulder top? Well, at first I tried a strapless bra, but honestly I’m feeling over strapless bras these days. I like to go braless whenever possible, but with this top, it didn’t feel right. I wanted a little bit of extra security, so I found a soft, comfortable, one-shoulder strapless bralette to go underneath. It works just as well as I’d hoped!
Top | Jeans | Heels (similar) | Bag (gifted) | Ring (gifted) | Vintage Belt
Here’s the final and dressiest look. There are several interesting shapes going on in this outfit (wide leg pants, one-shoulder tank, half moon mini bag), so I kept my color palette nice and neutral. It gives the overall look a calm vibe, even though there’s a lot going on.
Side note: I have no idea when I turned into a person who wears heels all the time, but these days, I keep reaching for heels. I mean, sensible heels — preferably just 1 or 2 inches tall, certainly no taller than 3 inches. But still — heels! I can’t believe it either. Please indulge me while it lasts. :)
Anyway, I’ll keep it short for this last one because this outfit really speaks for itself. I’ll just wrap up by saying I love the way a one-shoulder top frames the décolletage in a different and unexpected way. It shows a little skin, but I don’t have to worry about keeping a low cut top in check.
• • •
And there you have it!
Now I want to hear from you: Were you into the one-shoulder style in the early 00’s? If so, I’d LOVE to hear how you styled it back then. If not, what do you think about it today — would you wear it? How would you style it? Share away in the comments.
There’s lots of fun stuff coming to the blog later this month including my top 10 or so picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and a second installment of my summer collaboration with Everlane (here’s the first post in case you missed it).
Til then, browse my outfits on LikeToKnowIt. See you around!
Very cute outfits, but you definitely should have included a picture of the sequined one shoulder from high school!
Haha I should have! I need to dig it up — no idea where it is, but the minute I find it I’ll share. :)
I agree! Photo or it didn’t happen.
Your prom dress sounds amazing. I wore a very plain navy blue dress to prom. I would probably wear it now, at age 40. I regret skipping the rhinestones.
Sarah winton says
Agreed! I’ve now become obsessed with it!
I’m loving everything 90s inspired right now. My current favourite jeans are a pair of Levi’s…. I’m pretty sure I had the exact same pair when I was 15 or 16!
I can’t believe you are doing heels! Heels are definitely the 00s look for me, I wore them every day in high school to appear talked (I’m 5’1) I’ve since got over it and stick to flats. Apparently ballet flats are “coming back”. I never got the memo they were out….!!! Anyway this is really cute! Personally I’ve been waiting for cowboy boots to come back since 2006 and held on to my three pairs since then… And wore them every day this winter after waiting 10 years… Patience, babe. If you wanna bring the 00s back even more… Don’t roll your jeans hems and also don’t get them tailored and make sure your skinny jeans are too long and scrunch at your ankles. Early/late 00s combo with the one shoulder top! And say hi to my friends Tom while you are at it!
Love your comment, Louise! :) I’ve disliked overly dressy heels (for myself) for a long, long time — so to feel drawn to them now is a little funny, but I’m just going with it. :) And I’m with you — now I’m keeping anything that might come back around as vintage one day. It’ll be so fun to pull it out and know it already has my own personal stories behind it.
Yes!! We need a picture of the Blue High School dress! These are wonderful outfits!
Haha I’ll have to find it, but I’ll post it as soon as I do! :)
Oh the 00’s… You look amazing, as always!
One of the oldest pieces in my closet is a one-shoulder LBD I thrifted – I haven’t found myself reaching for it as much as I did when I first picked it up, but I can’t bring myself to let go of it yet, either.
I love that you styled all of your looks without necklaces to really let the neckline shine!
Cara Davis says
Loving these looks! Never looked twice at a one shoulder top but maybe I’ll try one on now. Thanks for the inspiration and love your blog!
Mary-Ellen Krull says
That last look is especially cute on you. The bag!!!!
I loved to wear jumpers “accidantilly” sliding down one shoulder :-D Unfortunately there is no way for me to wear such pieces likes yours cause I need a real bra, straps and all. Makes me feel resentful so often, especially when it comes to backless dresses …
Michele Ferguson says
Don’t care for a one-shoulder top/dress. They are very eccentric looking to me. Like someone started to make something and ran out of fabric.
I had a black one shoulder dress for a high school dance and loooved it. Years later I also bought the black one shoulder Madewell dress you featured on your blog here years ago (&!I still have it)! Love a one shoulder and all these looks! Especially the 2nd look. Those jeans look just like what I’ve been on the hunt for… mind sharing is you went for the short or regular inseam? I like a nice ankle length but don’t want to roll either…
Hi Kate! Ah, I still have and love that dress too! It was such a great find! I got the regular inseam in the jeans. :)
Hi Caroline! Loved this post…but random question- what nail color are you wearing on your toes? Such a perfect summer neutral!
Caroline, I have been following your blog for years. I have loved seeing how your taste has matured… you have really developed a very sophisticated style and your wardrobe is elegantly curated.
I think you were put on this earth to wear one shouldered tops! All these looks are stunning!