• Joan Kosmachuk

Body Signature Series: Dressing the Sloped Shoulder


Previously, in this series, I shared how you can determine your overall body shape. But your Body shape is only part of your Body Signature. Many of us have other Body Particulars that need to be taken into account when we dress. Today I want to talk about one Body Particular (in particular), the sloped shoulder.


How do you know if you have sloped shoulders? Take a yardstick and hold it across the base of your neck. If your shoulder hits the stick, you have square shoulders. If your shoulder is 1-1.5" down from the yardstick, you have standard shoulders. If your shoulder is 2" below the yardstick, you have sloped shoulders.

Sloping shoulders are feminine, graceful and create a pretty decolletage. But if you aren't careful in how you dress them you'll end up looking frumpy. Drooping shoulders can give the impression you are drowning in your tops, so watch the placement of those shoulder seams.

Shoulder pads (a popular fashion in the 1980's) were great for women with sloped shoulders as they compensated for a sloped shoulder beautifully. Even though big shoulder pads are no longer the style, a smaller shoulder pad is definitely still a great accessory for the woman with sloped shoulders. Slip a removable shoulder pad under your bra strap for an instant shoulder lift.

Alternatively, look for styles that broaden your shoulder visually.


Structured jackets are a good choice. Choose detailing on the jacket shoulders such as an epaulet, flange, puffed sleeve or embroidery, as this will help to visually widen the shoulder.

A good tailor is the friend of the sloping shoulder so don't be afraid to use one to make sure the shoulders on your jackets are sitting in the right place.

Caplets, wraps or structured vests are also good options for adding definition to the shoulders.


In tops and dresses choose wide collars, shawl collars, boatnecks and wide V-neck designs.


Decorative detailing on your shoulders will help also. This adds dimension to the shoulders and helps to create the illusion that your shoulders are wider and less sloped.


If you want to highlight the slope of your shoulders, a halter top or off the shoulder neckline will do just that.

When dressing it's important not to focus on any one Body Particular to the exclusion of others so some of the above recommendations may need to be modified for your body. It's also important to choose those styles and fabrics that support your Seasonal Line-of-Design.

I would love to hear any tips you might have to add for dressing your sloped shoulders. Just leave them in the comments below.


Joan Kosmachuk

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