That (suffocatingly hot) morning as I pulled on the dress and rushed to catch the subway, I never once second guessed my decision to walk around in bare shoulders. It is a classic black, white and khaki Theory dress that I bought specifically to wear to work. But later that night, when I met my friend who works in finance, she looked at me and said, "You seriously wore that to the office."
Now, I'm pretty sure that I've seen plenty of young girls wearing strapless this summer. But I needed assurance, so I turned to New York Stylist Lisa Bradkin for affirmation. Bradkin is a fan of the strapless when worn with style and sophistication. "Wear that adorable summer dress, but don't forget a cute cardi for the office. It's probably freezing in there anyway!" After the jump, she tells us how to navigate the fine line between classic but trendy and tacky and inappropriate.
1. Do Go Long
Length is the most important feature. Bradkin says, "There's an inverse-proportionate equation when it comes to baring skin at the office: if you're showing more neckline, show less leg, and vice versa. In this case, you're already making a non-conformist choice up top, so stick to a more conservative length."
2. Don't Try Slinky Or Skin-tight
Pay close attention to the fabric of your summer strapless. Bradkin tells us, "The more body a fabric has to it-crisp cotton, heavy jersey-the more modest, and therefore work-appropriate, it generally is. A floaty chiffon can also work, though, styled right: pair it with a sharp blazer or cardigan and shoes with a little heft, like round-toed pumps or thick-strapped sandals."
3. Do Accessorize With Simplicity
Accessories are essential to pull the outfit together and make it work appropriate. Bradkin says, "If you opt for the cardigan, cinch a belt over both sweater and dress for structure. And in any case, keep jewelry simple: hoop earrings, a couple of thin gold bangles and a watch say "business."
4. Do Know Your Body
"Strapless is challenging," says Bradkin. "The same dress can look fresh and girly, powerful, or uncomfortably revealing on three different bodies. It's unfair, but true, that a young woman can generally pull off this look with greater success than someone more mature."
Should I have covered up or be proud to bare arms? I got enough compliments from my coworkers to give me the confidence to rock the strapless. But what do you think?