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Why I Won’t Wear Drop Shoulders

We all have garment shapes that we’re attracted to and ones that don’t interest us in the least. It may be because it’s not a style we like or because we inherently know it looks unflattering on our body. I have an inverted triangle shape which means my shoulders are much wider than my hips. That’s one reason why I would never wear yesterday’s outfit.wide sleeved turquoise shirt on mannequin on A Well Styled Life

  • It doesn’t have set-in sleeves so there’s no armhole seam to draw a verticle line. The drop shoulder style creates deep armholes. Its stiff fabric combined with a folded cuff makes the short sleeves stick out, which extends the shoulder line. This is the last thing I want with my wide shoulders. It would make me look top-heavy.

A wide, full skirt or wide-legged pants could help balance the visual width of the shirt, but I still would never wear it.

  • The sleeve ends in the widest part of upper my arm, which accentuates its size.

If I unbuttoned the top few buttons it would lengthen the neckline and could help offset the sleeves sticking out, but it would not narrow them enough to be flattering on me.

I’m seldom a fan of self belts, but I like that this one resembles a sash. I’d tie the sash off-center to slim my torso and would only make one loop, then leave a long tail to draw the eye vertically.

This shirt would be wonderful on a woman with narrow shoulders. Be aware that your bra would likely show through the wide armholes so you might want to wear a cami underneath.

Do you know why this would or wouldn’t flatter your shape?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.



  1. So well explained and stated! As for my myself; as mentioned in an earlier comment I am just not fond of ‘short’ raglan (dolman/kimono) sleeves as personally prefer set-in ones as feel better suited for my (slender) column/rectangle body shape. That said; I do not mind such a style in a sweater or outwear though when ‘once upon a time’ I even use to belt them to accentuate my waist, but so so much now due to the curse of the midriff bulge that often comes with age … ☺. -Brenda-
    P.S.: Also shall add, just find such a sleeve does not work well with tailored overlays.

    1. Oops, that should have read; I do not mind such a style in a ‘long sleeved’ sweater or in outerwear etc………..

    2. I totally agree, Brenda. There are very few things that go over a dolman sleeve well.

  2. I have small round shoulders and wide hips .The drop shoulder , raglan sleeves definately make me look pear shaped . Back in the day ( way back ! ) I thought shoulder pads were the answer to my prayers.. finally I felt balanced ! Have I been wrong all these years ? Your advise is very helpful and I love your website . You are truly one of us , is what keeps this personal. Thank U !!

    1. You are not wrong! Shoulder pads are wonderful for women with small or rounded shoulders. I used to rip all mine out…I still do today:)

  3. I have an inverted triangle, too–sort of. Actually more like an egg, with the wider end on top, because I have a large middle. A sash like that would ride up, and make me look pregnant (at 59, that’s not going to happen!). I do better with a long-over-lean look.

  4. Lucretia Roletta says:

    I really like your analysis of yesterday’s post, so informative. I usually can see if something looks good or bad on me but I am not able to articulate it as you do. Please keep this up.

  5. I myself don’t feel like the raglan sleeves look good on most mature women. They make you look like u have rounded shoulders. I prefer more of a tailored shoulder. I feel it makes you look younger and makes your shoulders look like u are standing up nice and tall!

  6. Made me laugh! It could also be my junior high gym suit if it was red. I don’t like that much fabric but I could wear the top with my skinny arms.

  7. Just not for me for the same reasons as yours but I also don’t like sleeveless tops. I never have. On some women they are wonderful but they seem to draw attention to a big bust if you have no behind, no hips and skinny legs. That’s me. ?

  8. Jennifer, thank you for your comments about what doesn’t work for women with wide shoulders. Now I know what to look for in tops that will balance my look. No more raglan sleeves for me!

  9. I find your comment interesting because I have narrow shoulders with larger hips and I won’t wear the drop shoulder look either. I have never found one that looks good because the lack of a shoulder seam seems to make my shoulders disappear and alters the proportion of my body. They are very popular because it’s so much easier/cheaper to make a drop shoulder garment than to do the traditional style and insert the sleeve into a sleeve opening.

    1. This would work on narrow shoulders only because the stiff fabric stands away from the body and widens the shoulder line. Dropped shoulder in soft fabrics accentuate marrow shoulders and seldom flattering. You’re right. They’re less labor intensive so cheaper to make.

  10. Deborah Kerwin says:

    I don’t like anything about this shirt. It even makes the mannequin look broad across the chest. Fabric is way too stiff and would fade easily. The armholes are not flattering on anyone., reminds me of the ’80s. My oh my I guess I am not a fan.:)

  11. Diane Hand says:

    Make it into a romper and that was my Junior/Senior High gym suit. One suit for six years. I must have been a sight. I can’t imagine what I must have looked like at 17 versus 12. Yikes!

    1. Lol, we were all wearing similar things in school. It wasn’t our shining fashion moment. 🙂

  12. Thank you for defining why dropped shoulders do not look good on me. – lack of vertical lines. I find that shrugs and shawls/ruanas just do not look good on me either.

    1. I have a hard time with some capes for the same reason. If knee length or longer, or have seaming it helps.

  13. I do not like this top. I have broad shoulders with fuller hips than you, but I still would not wear it. the sleeves hit at just the wrong point if you have larger arms. Yuck. Plus, the material sticks out just like you mention. I do wear some drop shoulders if the material is softer and the sleeve is longer. Drop shoulders or dolman sleeves can help if you have larger arms (which I do) these types of sleeves help fit correctly. I have a difficult time with fitted blouses. I usually have to order a larger size just to fit my broad shoulders and bust.

    1. I feel the same as you about dolman sleeves. Thin fabrics help but not without balancing the bottom with wider or sturdier fabrics.

  14. I have never looked good in raglan sleeves or dropped shoulders, but I’ve never understood why. I think you’ve nailed it. 🙂

  15. I have always loved raglan sleeves,in my sewing days raglan sleeves were easy to make.Also you have helped me to understand why they are flattering to me.I would really love this shirt,and it defines the waist.I would add that the shoes that cover the foot could make your legs look shorter

  16. Deborah Broughton says:

    Good point! I have wide shoulders too! I always learn something from your posts!

  17. Jennifer, I’m with you on this subject. Dropped shoulders or raglan sleeves are not a good look for full figured gals. (At least on this old gal.)

    1. I wear them occasionally in some soft fabrics but usually avoid them.

  18. This top would totally work for me. My hips are my widest part, I have narrow shoulders, and a small waist. So, yes, I’d wear this. I wouldn’t button it all the way to the neck. And, I don’t wear shorts, so I’d probably style it with white ankle jeans and sandals. The color is very nice!

  19. As a pear shape, this would look good on me. The style I don’t like? Small pleated skirts and cold shoulder tops because of that pear shaping

    1. Thanks Marnell. I’ve never been a huge fan of pleated skirts on me.

    2. Marnell, as a fellow pear, I totally agree! Like Jennifer, I would unbutton one (or more) buttons and wear a cami underneath this outfit. Like you, no pleats on the bottom garment or cold shoulder tops.

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