How to Wear the Asymmetric Cold Shoulder Top

Woman wearing sunglasses and pinstriped, asymmetrical top

Tired of both your shoulders being cold? Then I’ve got good news for you — there’s a new shoulder game in town and it’s only exposing one of your shoulders. It’s called the asymmetric cold shoulder top, and the style is popping up in all your favorite stores. 

The one-sided cold shoulder is a nice change of pace. Frankly, I’m bored with the traditional cold-shoulder. Even with heavy knits or bell sleeves or ruffles, the bare-shoulder trend is starting to feel stale. 

So let’s welcome the asymmetrical alternative and its deconstructed, runway feel. It’s an advantage too that baring one shoulder is twice as practical in the winter months. When it’s cold outside, there’s a limit to what I can handle for the sake of style. Right now, one shoulder seems to be a nice place to draw that line. Finally, it’s nice to see this cut in many flavors, from the menswear-inspired work top to the upgraded tee shirt. Read on for my fav picks and tips on how to wear them. 

Styling the Asymmetric Cold Shoulder Top

Choosing the right companion pieces for your one-shoulder blouse will depend on the fabric, pattern and vibe of the top itself. A stiffer, striped top, for example, gets paired with straight-legged work trousers and loafers. While the flowy cotton top teams up with ankle booties to dress up your dark-wash denim.

What Bra to Wear

The more challenging question though, is what the heck does a girl wear underneath a one-shoulder top? A bra or cami strap running up and over your exposed shoulder doesn’t work. Even if the top style you choose has a partial shoulder, it’s tough to keep your bra tucked underneath the top. Personally, I’m not a fan of exposed undergarments — it just looks unfinished.

So that leaves us with some form of a strapless bra. I’ve never found a strapless option I absolutely love, but Health.com recommends the Maidenform Women’s Comfort Devotion Natural Boost Strapless Multi-Way. 

A second option is a one-shoulder sports bra. Note that the piece below sits close to the neck on one side, and will only work with a top that’s equally high-necked on the same side.

White one-shoulder sports bra

One Shoulder Solid Sports Bra, $13, Walmart

Top 5 Picks: One Shoulder Tops

Menswear-inspired for Work

If your office environment allows for a partially nude shoulder, this pinstriped piece makes a fashion-forward statement at work. It has the texture of a classic button-down, without the buttons. The foldover neckline and bold white cuffs add extra interest.

For Shopping with the Girls

Blue and white striped one-shoulder top with ruffle at neckline

Asymmetric Open Shoulder Ruffle Top, $16, Shein

When you’re tired of ruffle tops and cold shoulders, this blouse from Shein deconstructs both trends at the same time. For a smart look on a casual day, pair it with crop pants and mules.

For a Casual Date Night

Even if your next date night involves bowling or playing ski ball, you can still find something sexy to wear! This ruched Vince Camuto top in heather gray enhances both bust and waistline. And, the viscose fabric will be just clingy enough.

The New White T

Yes, this top is splurgy at $80. But it might be worth it — this is an outfit maker. Pair it with a nice jean and pumps for an easy, sophisticated look.

For the Club

Faux black leather. Need I say more? Pair this top up with a pencil skirt and heeled sandals. Oh, and practice your gracious “thank you” so you’re ready for all the compliments.

Are you adding any asymmetry to your top collection this season? Let us know in the comments.

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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