Give spring the cold shoulder

Skin is in

The northern hemisphere has already had its spring and that gives South Africans our cue to what’s hot on the fashion scene: cold-shoulder tops are the buzz for summer.

Whether they come with a slash, cut-out, slit or peekaboo, off-the-shoulder or one-shoulder, skin is in.

And, as always with fashion, it is a question of extremes as this trend goes hand in hand with a move towards extra-long sleeves, sometimes even on the same garment.

Vera Wang was one who managed to merge the trend for longer sleeves with the cold shoulder.

Blouse designer Johanna Ortiz launched her Frida top – an off-the-shoulder style with ruched, puff sleeves – and already it has been a hit, with stylish celebs like Olivia Palermo spotted in it.

“The off-the-shoulder look is a great way of revealing some skin without showing too much,” says the designer and her spring/summer look for 2017 is full of drop shoulders, delicate prints and over-the-top ruffle details.

The cold-shoulder top has the bonus of being able to both hide and reveal skin – often allowing a full bra to be worn, unlike the off-the-shoulder top. This makes the trend more accessible, depending on the size and design of the cut-outs.

It’s a fresh and breezy silhouette, perfect for the warmer months.


The super-size trend is also hot this summer, where sleeves extend below the wrist to cover the hands. It’s part of the “go big or go home” movement with fabrics designed further away from the body. Think Oxford bag pants, shift and blouson dresses and oversize jackets.

You might also blame Kanye West, who apparently made an “airport sweater” in 2013 with extra-long sleeves to keep his hands warm during flights.

It may be gimmicky and impractical, but several mainstream designers have cottoned on to this slouchy, rebellious teen look. Chloe, Gucci, Vera Wang, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler and Yeezy (of course) all have focused on the extra-long sleeve look.

Take care to wear preferably with tailored pants or fitted garments, or run the risk of looking like a kid in dress-up.

This summer expect to see the two together: extra-long sleeves, worn off-the-shoulder style.

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