What Dresses Are Good for Broad Shoulders?

A plunging neckline and soft embellishments suit your broad shoulders.

Photo: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

If you have broad shoulders, it's about time you learned about the inverted triangle. It's not some yoga move -- it's your body type, when you're wider at the top and narrower around the waist. While your broad shoulders may make you feel self-conscious, don't worry -- understanding how the inverted triangle works is the key to choosing the best dress. A good dress for broad shoulders adheres to a few simple fashion rules.

Look Strapping

Straps are one of your best friends when you have broad shoulders, so forget about the strapless look. That said, not all straps are alike, and some can do more harm than good -- so choose carefully. For example, don't pick a dress with spaghetti straps. Thin straps like these accentuate the width of your shoulders. Instead, go with a wider straps, and try to get ones that lay closer to your neck -- a halter top is perfect.

Ditch the Pads

You've seen stars rocking the shoulder pad look on the red carpet, but before you try to replicate it, remember -- they weren't blessed with shoulders like yours. Pads are just their way of faking it. You don't need shoulder pads in your dresses, and in fact, wearing dresses with pads makes your broad shoulders look exaggerated and unnatural. It would be like wearing stiletto heels when you're already 7 feet tall -- you just don't need the help. The best dress for you is one without any unnecessary padding.

Guide the Eyes

Don't let your shoulders be the center of attention -- the best dresses guide people's eyes wherever you want them to go. Color and prints can accomplish this task; try a dress that has a print on the lower half to guide eyes down. Your other strategy is to guide eyes up from the shoulder. Do this by going with a dress that has a deep V-neck -- it not only showcases your cleavage, but it pulls the eyes up to your face.

Be a Softie

Broad shoulders also can create harsh angles in your body shape and your clothing. Even if your body type is the inverted triangle, you don't want to look like an actual triangle, so choose a dress that softens your angular features. This could include raglan sleeves, a loose collar or soft embellishments like ruffles -- the extra fabric takes the edge off and balances you out.

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