On The Runway
For his final Jil Sander collection, designer Raf Simons created the Techno Double Crepe Dress ($5157), a decidedly feminine take on today's shoulder-centered look. The soignee, full-skirted frock with a keyhole cutout has plenty of modern charm and an Elizabeth Taylor vibe we love! While the Jil Sander low-shoulder dress has a wonderfully prim and retro feel, the look can be quite dramatic and romantically modern too. Take, for example, the futuristic, flower-adorned frock from Look 26 at the Alexander McQueen F/W 12 show, or the dark green, floor-grazing gown from Look 38 at Gucci, which looks like something Stevie Nicks might wear to a midnight gala. Either way, the results are consistently chic and interesting.
On The Red Carpet/At Events
WHO: Chloe Moretz
WHAT: Arriving at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards in Beverly Hills early last month.
WEAR: Max Mara Fiandra Off-The-Shoulder Cocktail Dress ($1150, 212.879.6100); Rupert Sanderson heels.
WHY: Ruffled sleeves lend an element of playfulness to a sophisticated, low-shoulder dress.
WHO: Leighton Meester
WHAT: Feting the Salvatore Ferragamo Resort 13 collection in Paris last month.
WEAR: Salvatore Ferragamo Red Silk Beaded Off The Shoulder Blouse ($2270, 800.628.8916) and Red Silk Beaded Skirt ($8200, 800.628.8916).
WHY: A sleek updo keeps the focus on your shoulders for a chic and polished result.
WHO: January Jones
WHAT: Hosting a special screening of La Revolution Bleue for the Christie's art auction in New York two months ago.
WEAR: Mary Katrantzou Dress ($5950); Sergio Rossi heels.
WHY: The combination of a shoulder-baring neckline with modern cuts and an abstract print makes for a visually-intriguing, fashion-forward result.
WHO: Hanneli Mustaparta
WHAT: Celebrating the Owen New York boutique opening last month.
WEAR: Jen Kao Kara Darama Dress ($1325, 212.524.9770); Valentino bag; 3.1 Phillip Lim shoes.
WHY: A summer-ready white hue and above-the-knee hemline make this skater dress with shoulder cutouts perfectly flirtatious.
WHO: Karolina Kurkova
WHAT: Spotted before the Salvatore Ferragamo Resort 13 show in Paris last month.
WEAR: Salvatore Ferragamo Black Silk Woven Off The Shoulder Blouse ($4950, 800.628.8916) and Black Velvet Skirt ($570, 800.628.8916).
WHY: An off-the-shoulder blouse in a sheer fabric offers a modern update to a romantic gypsy look.
Get The Look/Dresses
If you're suddenly eager to try this trend, you'll be happy to know we've taken a huge weight off your shoulders by rounding up some of the market's best items. Dress-wise, you have a couple of options. You can go for something on the ladylike side a la Jil Sander with Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania Pannier Cotton Dress ($490), or reach for a more bohemian-inspired version, like French Connection's Off Shoulder Silk Smock Dress ($57). There is also Nicole Miller's Pleated Jersey Off Shoulder Dress ($216), which is a flattering choice for a cocktail soiree, and Forever 21's Ruffled Off-The Shoulder Dress ($24), a fitting frock for a summery daytime fete.
Get The Look/Tops
There are plenty of stylish off-the-shoulder tops too! Right now, we love the look of a fitted style, especially Pins and Needles' Lace Off the Shoulder Tee ($34), which is the perfect blend of sweet and sultry. Additionally, Miss Selfridge's Floral Bardot Top ($32) is in perfect keeping with this season's bold botanical trend, while Red Valentino's Off-The-Shoulder Stretch-Jersey Bow Top ($225) would look killer with a bright pencil skirt. As for the shoulder-baring peasant blouses we saw at the Ferragamo Resort 13 show, we think Patterson J. Kincaid's Off-The-Shoulder Blouse ($128) is a must-have alternative, along with Alexander McQueen's investment-worthy Off-The-Shoulder Printed Silk Chiffon Blouse ($1520). However you decide to address this trend, we assure you that giving your shoulders the bare treatment has never been more stylish!--Jessica Baker
Photos of Leighton Meester and Karolina Kurkova, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photos of Hanneli Mustaparta and Chloe Moretz, courtesy of Getty Images.