The Tyranny of the Open Shoulder
Were you hoping that a change in season would signal the demise of the open shoulder? Me too, but we're out of luck. The exposed shoulder isn't going away, no matter how played out this trend may be. I've now seen winter coats with the shoulders cut out, the equivalent of open toed boots only stupider.
Who makes up these awkward trends? I wish we could blame just one designer. I'm guessing they all meet up in a top secret location to plot the fashion edicts of the coming season. Sometimes they kill themselves laughing, like when they came up with kick-flare jeans. "Let's create a length that will flatter no one and make every shoe look wrong! Or how about furry mules that look like bedroom slippers but cost ten times more and won't stay on the foot?"
I can hear them snickering about the exposed shoulder. I wonder if they knew how ubiquitous this trend would become, at least online if not in real life. I don't know a live person who caved into this look, but I have seen a few unhappy looking teenagers at the mall wearing off-the-shoulder blouses. Not with kick-flares though, because even teens aren't that gullible.
I don't want to see your shoulders and I don't want you to see mine, unless we're wearing something sleeveless. Is that too much to ask? If you're wearing sleeves, don't offer a peek of your shoulder. It isn't necessary. Your magazines may demand it but it's still silly. Likewise, the asymmetrical one sleeve look just suggests that either one of your arms is defective, or the garment is.
Why do designers gang up on us like this? Net-a-porter calls the look "cold-shoulder," as in "cold-shoulder metallic wool sweater." Never mind the oxymoronic sound of that phrase. Is the shoulder supposed to be a new erogenous one? What if your shoulders are bony? What if you forget to put sunscreen on your shoulders? I see nothing but problems. You don't have to be a pessimist to see these drawbacks. It's just instinctive knowledge, like knowing that too much rouge will make you look crazy, not seductive.
The open-shoulder looks especially bad with that other huge trend, the Statement Sleeve. Put them together and you will evoke images of vintage peasant women. Add the oversize element, and you have a kind of mental asylum peasant woman look that only Rihanna can pull off.
Some styles stick around for obvious reasons. It may be versatile, functional, flattering, or all three, like jeans or leather jackets. Others die a quick and well-earned death, like trucker hats or Ed Hardy shirts. And then we have anomalies, like the fucking open shoulder. It should be long gone. It should have lasted for one season of Glastonbury. It should have been a disposable fast-fashion craze.High-end designers have embraced the cold-shoulder look with as much enthusiasm as mass produced brands, if not more. Are they punking us? I need it to stop. I feel like exposed shoulders are stalking me all over the internet. My favorite shopping websites are replete with them, along with all the embroidered Gucci-esque tigers and floral sister-wife dresses. Maybe I should be thankful that these trends don't cross-breed. An open shoulder blouse with tigers on it would be more than I could handle.
As we brace ourselves for the avalanche of velvet that is just starting to hit the shops. We must shun cut-out shoulders like the virus they are. We should reward brands that move on, and save our money for those leopard print coats that will make us look like Kate Moss. If we squint, hard. To paraphrase someone, “The more covered the shoulder, the closer to God.”