Saturday, April 7, 2012

Be Careful About Wearing Large-Shouldered Tops

Tops, dresses or jackets that make your shoulders look larger do two things: they diminish your waist and broaden your shoulders. You should always be cautious about wearing them because broad shoulders are unattractive on a woman. It is true that a small waist is attractive; but in the same way that wearing short hair to compliment your face shape is offset by the side-effect of making you look masculine, attempting to make your waist look thin by wearing tops with wider shoulders does more harm than good when it comes to attracting men.

Large-shouldered tops were popular in the United States in the 1980s because by that time the effects of feminism had trickled into professional environments, and women wanted clothes (specifically, suits) that made them look more commanding, more assertive - more traditionally masculine. Towards that end, I am sure they were successful; but I am equally sure that they did and still do make women much less attractive. And now, partially out of nostalgia for the fashions of a former generation, and partially due to social inertia, contemporary style calls tops with "puffy" or accentuated shoulders acceptable, "fun" or even attractive. Don't be sucked into the lie. The truth is that they are always risky, usually ugly and almost never a good idea.

If you think any of the women on the left look attractive, read the post titled "Because Of" vs. "In Spite Of". (All three are in good shape and their clothes fit well in all places but the shoulders.)

Clothes that slightly accentuate the shoulders might be mildly attractive on a girl that does not have a small waist-to-hip ratio; but in general, large shoulders make you look like a man and should be avoided.

Remember: whether consciously or subconsciously, men notice.

23 comments:

  1. I'm glad this came up!

    I have on black blazer I recently bought because I felt it was a wardrobe 'must' - not for work, but for school presentations. It's also popular to wear as a jacket with a dress in the evening or just during the day. Although I often see it on girls, looking good, I sometimes feel a bit masculine wearing it.
    These are the types of outfits I would wear:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NZc2BrxuKbY/TV3MENWTURI/AAAAAAAAAFg/KjPLpt5yl3o/s640/OliviaPalermo-blazer.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_X7xCHk4hcOI/S9Z5DvB4ZJI/AAAAAAAAAcM/I_YMxWjZnbA/s1600/White+blazer.JPG

    I still get attention when wearing it, but I'm quite girly-looking with long blonde hair. Would you say the attention I get is always in spite of the blazer, if I'm wearing it? Do men actually hate blazers?

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    1. I wouldn't say blazers are categorically a bad idea, but usually they are. The picture you linked to of Olivia Palermo is a good example of how a "blazer" can work. It is in quotation marks because, in my mind, the jacket she is wearing is hardly a blazer in the traditional sense of the word. Notice how well it fits her slender (i.e. feminine) arms. The waist is very trim and her shoulders are not too prounounced. I think other jackets might flatter her more than that one, but it definitely doesn't look bad on her.

      The one of Sarah Jessica Parker is a much better example of why a blazer usually doesn't work: baggy sleeves rolled up (looks sloppy and ill-fit), squared off and long bottom, wide and very "boxed" shoulders - all very squared, authoritarian, masculine: ugly. It clashes strongly with (i.e. ruins) the form-fitting, lace-lined dress and heels - both very feminine.

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    2. The type of jacket Olivia is wearing is sometimes difficult to find - even from designer shops. The fashion industry tend to favour regular blazers.
      What do you think of this look (Olivia as well)
      http://fauxnoir.tumblr.com/post/16894171750

      Most girls think that's a good look. I think she makes it work even though it might be MORE flattering with a jacket with smaller shoulders. Like you say "in spite of" perhaps.

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  2. Hey, this is random but can you explain this:

    My friend has been dating a guy who claims he wants to keep things casual for now ... but yet he's asked her to move into his new house with him! She is considering (for HER convenience) and he seems excited about it. I don't get it.

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    1. Sounds like a typical case of a guy wanting to have his cake and eat it too - and I don't blame him: if your friend is going to let him have all the benefits of a serious relationship without making any of the commitments, that is her problem, not his. There is no question in my mind that she is making a bad decision. I am not saying it can't work out, but give the few facts you've stated, the probability is very low.

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    2. Thanks, I'll slap some sense into her! But wow, I'm just surprised guys would be willing to keep a girl that close for the fun of it ... would that not make it difficult for him to date other girls etc ...?

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    3. It isn't necessarily that he wants to date other girls - in fact, if he is asking her to move in I doubt that is the case. It is that he wants the option of breaking up with her eventually. In my mind, this is much worse of a situation, because she will get roped in emotionally, then dumped, which is a lot harder to recover from than being cheated on by a player who never connected with her personally anyway.

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  3. In terms of style, how do most men feel about jewelry?
    Real diamonds
    http://www.millionlooks.com/images/nicole_kidman-nicole-kidman.jpg
    Costume jewelry
    http://www.msturman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/gg-diorissimo-lily-mic.jpg

    By 'costume jewelry' I mean non-precious stones. They have become more popular, and it's the type of jewelry they often wear in series like Gossip Girl.
    I've often had the impression that men can find big necklaces or bracelets a bit 'much' and prefer a cleaner look, do you think so? Although I know big earrings are allowed, as you mentioned in a post.

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    1. I think jewelry can be very attractive when it compliments your look and your outfit. Some men are into a less "done-up" look than others, but the women that men routinely oogle over (celebrities, models, etc.) are often wearing jewelry. The right necklace draped across attractive cleavage is sexy as fuck. Large earrings are almost always attractive. Bracelets can also be sexy, and large ones will make your wrists look smaller (more feminine). I think the thing to be careful about is matching your jewerly to your overall look and the occasion, rather than wearing it or not wearing it.

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  4. I enjoy reading you blog very much, it has lot of very useful insight, but I have a question regarding this:

    Wouldn't women with very narrow shoulders benefit from this? I don't know exactly how it is percieved by men, but at least I've heard by some peers that narrow shoulder women look like lolipops, with a head to big in proportion to their shoulders.

    Don't you think that to some extent having proportionatelly broad shoulders conveys elegance and good posture? Grecian sculpture style? I would like to hear your input.

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    1. I think you missed this part:

      "Clothes that slightly accentuate the shoulders might be mildly attractive on a girl that does not have a small waist-to-hip ratio"

      Small waist to hip ratio means a waist that is wide relative to (not wider than) your shoulders shoulders, OR, shoulders that are thin relative to (not thinner than) your waist.

      So yes, I do think it can be attractive in some instances, but they are few and far between. The point of the post is that you shouldn't be too ready to count yourself one of the exceptions to the general rule against wearing big-shouldered clothes; but that doesn't mean there aren't exceptions.

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    2. "small waist to hip ratio" has nothing to do with shoulders. I think you're talking about hourglass vs. pear shapes. I have a pear shape, with wide hips relative to my shoulders, and often wear blazers or tops with puffed sleeves to balance out my figure. The tops/blazers still have darts and are shaped well (meaning feminine), though.

      I think your posts are great, but sometimes they miss the mark. Like this one- the girl in the black dress would look too bottom-heavy with that pleated skirt were it not for the puffed shoulders. The girl in the white blazer and grey dress (hot as hell btw... I wish I could wear that to the office, haha) almost certainly has more of a pear-shaped figure and the blazer balances it out. The girl in the middle, I see your point with though.

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    3. Good point. I meant to write "small waist to shoulder ratio."

      The post isn't titled "Don't Wear Large-Shouldered Tops," it's called "Be Careful About Wearing...." You might be one of the exceptions. But I have seen way too many women wearing them that shouldn't.

      The while blazer look is horrible - easily my least favorite of the three. Blazers were designed for men and look too boxy/straight-edged on women. The girl is Kim Kardashian, so you are right about being bottom-heavy.

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    4. That's so interesting that you find the white blazer look horrible, when it was something that I wished I could pull off, haha. Shows you just how differently men and women think...

      On closer inspection, though, maybe a shorter, more fitted blazer would work better. You've got to look professional somehow. ;)

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    5. Did you see the comment above with this link?

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NZc2BrxuKbY/TV3MENWTURI/AAAAAAAAAFg/KjPLpt5yl3o/s640/OliviaPalermo-blazer.jpg


      It is an example of a "blazer" looking good, but as I said above, at this point it is hardly a traditional blazer anymore.

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  5. What about a dress like this?

    http://topten.lokoi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Miranda-wore-a-plunging-black-dress-which-clung-to-her-outstanding-figure-Victoria-Secret-Fashion-Show-After-Party.jpg

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    1. Thats a perfect example of large shoulders looking bad. Don't be confused by the face that she looks hot in spite of the shoulders.

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  6. I just found this website and have been going through your posts. Some of your advice is interesting, especially things dealing specifically with dating/hookup interactions.

    But with fashion, I'm not sure whether you just don't care about or are totally oblivious to the fact that [most] women don't dress to attract men, they dress to impress their female friends/coworkers/acquaintances (except when we go out at night or on dates). I mean, it's not like men really know about current trends or typically compliment women on their clothing and shoes. Usually, it's other women who compliment us. Just thought I'd mention that.

    I forget who, but someone once said "Women don't dress for men, they dress for other women. If women dressed for men, they'd just walk around naked."

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    1. It is precisely BECAUSE I am aware of this phenomenon that I write posts about fashion. Women who continue to ignore men's taste in women's clothing will fail to attract men. I am not saying that women have to follow my advice, but I am saying that there are consequences if they don't. At least after reading these posts they can make an educated decision to dress one way or the other (i.e. for women or for men).

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    2. More than being failing to attract men, I think that women who dress fashionably/stylishly actually intimidate men. I think though, that most women who do this are, in fact, making an educated decision about what they are wearing. It's pretty hard to be oblivious to the fact that men probably aren't particularly attracted to colored tights or peplums. What's interesting is that this leads to the situation you talk about of men thinking a woman is attractive "in spite of" and not "because of" what she is wearing. So only the most physically attractive of women who make this decision and are still seen as attractive "in spite of" their outfits are hit on. Also, the guys that hit on them are usually the most confident/cocky because the clothes don't intimidate them.

      I generally agree with you on this, I'm just commenting about my observations. Specifically being a fashion design major--I find it intriguing. My friends are some of the most attractive, confident women that I know and they purposefully make that educated decision to dress the way they like instead of wearing what would easily attract men. They definitely have less guys hitting on them than if they were wearing more conventional guy-friendly clothing, but I don't think they care. Maintaining their personal identity is much more important to them.

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    3. While you are correct in that often SOME women dress for other women and not for men, a blog like this is useful in helping to explain to some women what their friends and guys are too polite to tell them. The same women who love fashion but after years of dating still wonder "why am I still single?" or "I am wearing my new $500 dress, why is SHE getting all the attention?" This blog serves to illustrate what is going on in men's minds. As for blazers, even the demure one on Olivia Polermo, save that stuff for nights out with the girls where you couldn't care less about meeting a guy. For a date or when trying to meet a great guy, being bare shouldered or perhaps a tight thin sweater, rather than a boxy jacket is best. (assuming your arms aren't fat in which case you've got other things to work on)

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  7. Its all to do with that old signage...Bodylanguage...when it speaks to you...when you look at its shape,you are meant to answer...how do you answer..is what happens....meaning...some women dress to speak,some dress to attract general attention,some just want to impress others...in my opinion...when a woman dresses in a flirtious manner,she actually may..."want it"....?...but not in direct fashion,simply because she wants something to last....and last...

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    ReplyDelete