How to dress if you have broad shoulders 

Dressing up broad shoulders can easily turn into hating the way you look in the mirror. I have gone through many sessions in my life not knowing what to do, and it was not until the past couple of years that I put all the pieces together. It took years to see myself in all sorts of styles to realise what garments I should rely on and avoid like the plague. 

This post is sponsored by The Uniform. Check out my high quality everyday outfits to elevate your life.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliates. Read full disclosure here.

Finding flattering designs to make me not look like a linebacker or Michael Phelps was something I constantly got picked on for. There were days when I hated the way I looked in school uniform or a backpack, simply because people thought I gained an extra fifteen pounds. Children are vicious and tore me apart specifically for my shoulders or calling me fat when I was underweight and secretly anorexic for nine years.

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Sometimes, I would wear a regular t-shirt in a common ‘classic cut’ that looked awful. Imagine not being able to don something you will always look good in. Some of it was in my head, while other times it definitely was the clothes. It is unfortunate that it is too easy to find an unflattering cut.

If I did not cinch in my waist with this oversized top, it would have swallowed me and made me look like a lego block shape.

Here are some tips to flatter your shoulders:

  1. Break up your shoulders
  2. Stay away from square necklines
  3. Crew necks only with a belt
  4. Belts are always your friend – don’t wear anything straight across that goes straight down 
  5. Plunges & deep Vs are your friend Cowl necks are soft yet forgiving 
  6. Avoid bottoms with lots of material at the sides 
  7. Avoid oversized tops
  8. Avoid layering short sleeve tops under cardigans – you can with structured coats 
The oversized look made me look like I gained forty pounds in person.

Flattering cuts to rely on

  1. A-line dresses / skirts
  2. Tie-front tops / sweaters
  3. Wrap tops & dresses
  4. Plunges & deep Vs
  5. Deep scoop necks
  6. Boatnecks 
This is a much more flattering cut breaking up my shoulder line.

Break up your shoulders

In the images in this post,  you will see me in some cuts more flattering than others. The first thing to remember is to break up your shoulders. If you are wearing a halter top or dress, you can add to the effect by distracting from the width of your shoulders by adding more detail. 

To breaks up your halter top’s illusion of your shoulders’ horizon line, wear something with a collar, or add a cardigan with spaces in between the halter top’s straps with parts of your clavicle showing. The same idea goes for a short person wearing a belt. It makes you look shorter, because it cuts you off where you need to look more streamlined.

Stay away from these necklines

This goes for anything high neck, square neck, straight across your shoulder line, or a cut that is not deep enough to make your entire look appear balanced. Plunges are your friends, and deep Vs. Making your shoulders not look as wide requires taking a step back. If your v-neck is too short, it can do the opposite effect, and make you look longer up top. 

Avoid too much material and oversized styles

Staying away from trends is important. Timelessness and classic style is your friend. When you wear what looks good on you, you will always look good! Simply said and done. 

I find so many wannabe influencers trying to associate themselves with the fast fashion hierarchy by wearing trends. They look hideous on them without realising, but they feel affiliated with the coolness of the trend. 

If your blink instinct does not like it, do not reach for it. It does not make sense on your wallet, your body, and your time. No matter how much the nineties trend is thriving, anything oversized will not only drown you, but will go straight down from the ends of your shoulders and disguise your waist to be not so visible.

Make friends with belts and good tailoring

Say you find a jacket you absolutely love, but the padding in the shoulders is too intense. You look like you are doing the monster mash as Frankentstein’s monster. Tailors can fix this. Tell them exactly what you want – that your shoulders should be more dainty and less structured. This is something they can absolutely do. Especially if they know what they are doing.

Recently, I found a tailor that did the job of a child sewing for the first time. I know, because I was one, and had to do alterations on my clothes and Mr. Dixon’s myself. If you have confidence in your skills and are practised, do not be afraid to learn how to save money and tailor your own clothes. You already know what you look good in. 

But if you happen to come across a tailor who does an excellent job, keep them, and make good friends with them.

Belts are key to life. Whether you are sporting a mid rise trouser, high waisted skirt, or a loosely smocked dress. The trick is to make sure you are not putting a rubber band over a paper bag. Make sure the material of the garment at least comes close to your body, and the style will look smart! 

Smaller belt widths for smaller individuals, and scale up wider belts for bigger people. If you do not follow the scaling rules, proportions will look out of balance and possibly will be unflattering. 

Do not be afraid to experiment, have fun, and try everything that works. At the end of your experience, you will come back to this post and correct me in the comments below or thank me in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you, and how wonderful you feel about knowing time, effort, and money has been saved.

If you loved this post, I would love for you to visit The Uniform. These are my actual outfits and a lookbook to look put together, polished, and never have to think when dressing up. You will always look good in these pieces. It is absolutely a no-brainer. Check them out here.

Thank you so much for taking time to read the end of this post. I hope you find some inspiration in this and feel free to share with your friends as a free way to help my blog grow. Your support is endlessly appreciated. 

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Gia G. Dixon
Gia G. Dixon

I’m Gia G. Dixon, an etiquette consultant certified under Royal Charter of King Charles III. Here is my guide to elegant style, high quality living, and little things that make your daily life glamorous.

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