Dressing with your Corset: Playing with Necklines

Fashion magazines are always telling us to “dress for our body type”. They know that different cuts, styles, colours and shapes of clothing can give the illusion of a different silhouette. Today I investigate this phenomenon by experimenting with different necklines while wearing the exact same corset (thus, having the exact same silhouette with each shirt). A certain neckline can make your neck look longer or shorter, make your shoulders look broader or more narrow, make your bust look larger or smaller, and almost create completely different silhouettes, even if the corset itself doesn’t change. Ultimately, I wear what I want – whether it’s flattering or not to conventional fashion – because I like these shirts. If you’re looking to create a certain illusion of silhouette, this comparative guide may help. Feel free to watch the video where I explain in more detail, or refer to the quick guide below the video.

Neckline ScoopScoop neckline: accentuates the décolletage but doesn’t show too much cleavage. The scoop neckline makes the shoulders and bust look slightly more broad but may also make the torso look shorter in the process.
Neckline HalterHalter neckline: the eye follows the “swell” of the fabric which may emphasizes a slender neck, large bust, small waist and large hips. I’d recommend the halter for those who have a long neck and pronounced clavicle. The halter emphasizes the breadth of the shoulders by leaving them bare.
Neckline PlungeV-neck or plunge necklines can emphasize cleavage but also make the top look a bit slimmer and the shoulders look more feminine. The “downward arrow” of this neckline echoes the V shape created by the ribs tapering down to the waist, and the V cut of the bottom edge of the corset. The cap sleeves on this shirt also somewhat echo this effect, almost making my torso look longer.
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 12.57.05 PMSweetheart and Queen Anne necklines I consider to be universally flattering and feminine. The sweetheart cut emphasizes the roundness of the bust and draws the eye in and down like an “attention funnel”. The almost diamond-shape of the Queen Anne also draws the eye up to the neck and clavicle region and looks nice on people with both broad and narrow shoulders.
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 12.58.34 PMOff-the-shoulder necklines (what I consider to be a portrait neckline) typically show off the neck and clavicle area, and depending on how low it sits off your shoulders, may also draw attention to the décolletage. The wide band on this shirt, combined with the light colour make my shoulders appear very broad and creates contrast with the small waist (emphasized by being in a dark colour).
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 12.59.12 PMBoat necklines also go straight across horizontally, except they are typically cut across right at the clavicle line. This particular sweater dress further emphasizes the hourglass shape, as epaulettes on this piece create the illusion of broader shoulders (and can give definition to sloping shoulders), and the horizontal zipper at the widest part of the hip helps with the illusion of a fuller hip. The dress is belted at the waist with the corset underneath, which completes the hourglass effect.
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 12.59.56 PMSquare necklines are almost like scoop necklines but with more personality. I find that it shows off the décolletage while showing less cleavage than the scoop neckline; the horizontal line cutting across the bust makes the bust look full, while the vertical lines going up to the neck helps prevent a “squat” looking torso. I enjoy playing with geometry in my outfits and feel that the square neckline nicely contrasts the triangular or conical shape formed by the corset.
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 1.00.39 PMLet me preface this by saying I’m not a huge fan of turtlenecks in general; I have an issue with things wrapped too tightly around my neck. However, these thin microfibre pieces are generally fine as the neck is typically short and not too tight. I find that the turtleneck looks best on people who have broad shoulder and/or long necks. I find that it tends to minimize my bust (which is not necessarily a bad thing) yet accentuate my shoulders, and gives a nice “plain canvas” for my corset to be the center of attention.

What is your favourite neckline or type of shirt to wear, either over or under your clothing? Let me know in the comments below!

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6 comments on “Dressing with your Corset: Playing with Necklines

  1. From your description it looks like all but one type of neckline make the shoulders broader. Bad news for women 🙁 I like most necklines except the sweetheart, but the shape of the sleeves is more important than the neckline for me. I prefer sleeveless and sometimes off shoulder or cap sleeves regardless of the neckline. Turtlenecks are hideous though, especially the bulky ones that look like neck braces!
    For reference: my neck and shoulders are average, breasts are small with no cleavage and a deep gap in the sternum, small ribcage with wider ribs at the bottom.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi there Blackkitty, not all necklines make the shoulders look more broad. 🙂 The V-neck is the only one that I definitely said doesn’t do so, but the Queen Anne is also capable of staying “shoulder neutral”. Other necklines that I didn’t mention here like cowlnecks/ gathered necklines, especially sleeveless styles, can make the shoulders look less broad because the bulk of the gathered material partially conceals part of the trapezius and makes the distance from the collar to the end of the shoulder look smaller.

  2. I LOVE halternecks! Apparently my clavicles look great (that’s what guys say) and it makes my bust look bigger, though I plan on having that fixed in the future 😉

    Love these fashion-focused pieces, keep them coming!

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