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What to wear to flatter square shoulders

by Sarah Horrocks Published on 16 April 2008

It’s often said that it’s difficult to feel feminine when you have square shoulders. Not true! You just need to play to your strengths and soften the look of your shoulders. Follow our tips and learn to love your body.

It’s often said that it’s difficult to feel feminine when you have square shoulders. Not true! you just need to play to your strengths and soften the look of your shoulders. Follow our tips and learn to love your body.

Celebs with square shoulders

These women aren't thin and tapered but they have beautiful bods they love to flaunt! Take tips from:

Penelope Cruz

The Madrid beauty is a former dancer and has a muscular body with square shoulders, yet she's still one of the sexiest women on the planet, ambassador for Spanish label Mango and the epitome of Mediterranean beauty.

Ellen Pompeo
Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy is quite slim and has petite but very square shoulders, but they don't stop her from dazzling in strapless dresses that show them off to perfection.

Hilary Swank

This Oscar-winning actress possesses a svelte and ultra muscular body as well as a square chin. As a boxer in ‘Million Dollar Baby’ Hilary has to play up her slightly masculine profile, but we know her better as a glamorous beauty and the face of Insolence perfume by Guerlain.


Here are all the pitfalls to avoid looking too masculine.

- Vests. They will make you look like a big, square truck! Always go for spaghetti strap tops.

- Shoulder pads. Too geometric! They make your shoulders look bigger and are a throwback from the Eighties that need to be consigned to the fashion archives for good.

- Horizontal stripes. They make you look bigger, so bin them and wear feminine prints like checks, spots or...anything but horizontal stripes.

- Boat necks. They're too square and follow the shape of your shoulders instead of breaking them up. Round necks are much more forgiving.

- Polo neck. Too skintight. Banish them from your wardrobe. Even black polos do nothing for you, and long-sleeved ones make your shoulders look bigger.


- Oversized V neck jumpers. Here again, you need to turn attention away from your shoulders and break up the vertical impression. A V neck highlights your neckline. If you have slim legs wear with black or grey jeans (and even red or white ones).

- ¾ length sleeves. ¾ length tops are very casual and only show off your forearms. Don’t wear them if you're flat chested, as they can make you look too boyish. To make them more girly, wear with skirts in light materials or denim shorts.

Also try:

- Puff sleeves. Only if you have slim arms, though. They're dead girly and look great on pretty tops and dresses.

- Vests with thin straps. Sexy but revealing! They're perfect for summer and for casual outfits. They break up your shoulders without attracting too much attention to them.

- Round neck tees. Round shapes are very feminine and not as revealing as strappy tops. If you have quite a classic look, wear with a pencil skirt and little heels. If you're more into the trends, wear with high-waisted jeans.

Dare to wear

- Backless tops. If your back is muscular, play to your strengths and show it off! In summer, wear a pretty backless dress over a triangular bikini top. This shape suits big and small chests, and enhances your shoulders like a dream.

- Strapless/bustier dresses. Ideal for a night out and incontestably glamorous, strapless dresses show off your neck, shoulders and top of the chest. Accessorise with a big necklace and fine earrings. Black always works, and go for length so that you don’t show off too much.

Good accessories

- Long necklaces. Metal or pearl necklaces, and the longer the better to lengthen and soften the strong horizontal lines of your shoulders.

- Elegant earrings. Wear gold earrings with bright stones that are as feminine as possible, to enhance your neck. You’re trying to make your neck and shoulders look slimmer, so don’t wear anything that's too heavy.

The right colours

Dark equals chic. Elegance often lies in simplicity, so go for dark colours on top and lighter colours on the bottom if you are slim.

by Sarah Horrocks

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