Trend Watch: The One-Shouldered Dress with a Choker-Length Necklace

July 8, 2010
Stewart Kuper

The trend-setters in the mainstream fashion media love to make pronouncements as to what is in and what is out, and then seemingly like nothing better than to break their own rules. A great example of disregarding a style taboo appeared recently and prominently in two American fashion magazines.

The taboo of which I speak is the rule that one should not wear a necklace with a one-shouldered dress. Back on August 31, 2009, I wrote about this rule, which had been so widely accepted as to be repeated in a consumer brand advertising montage included in a number of fashion magazines:

“I was intrigued, therefore, to see a four-page advertising spread from five consumer brands (CoverGirl, Secret, Pantene, Venus Embrace and Olay) in some of the September 2009 fashion magazines, including Vogue focusing upon one-shouldered garments and giving cautionary advice about how to style the look with jewelry.
“With these asymmetrical looks, “Shine On,” suggests the writer, adding: “Steer clear of necklaces, but don’t be afraid to sport earrings that make a big statement.”

“Generally I agree with the statement that one should avoid necklaces with one-shouldered looks. A diagonal neckline on a garment gives an illusion of height and flatters the neck and shoulders of the wearer. Keeping the neck bare and polishing the look with earrings is always an attractive approach. To add more sparkle, add a brooch or two on the shoulder or shoulder side of the asymmetrical garment.
“However, if one wishes to be a bit creative or contrarian, then, to adorn a one-shouldered dress, one might retain the earrings, perhaps dialing them down in size, and add a choker or very short necklace. When the necklace either surrounds a portion of the neck or sits high and close to the face at the base of the neck so as not to interfere with the neckline of the dress, the necklace can be an attractive addition. This styling works best for someone with a relatively long neck.”
Cynthia Nixon has worn this look effectively. Let’s look at the two new rule-breaking examples:

In the May 2010 issue of Elle magazine, the first page of the lead fashion story features a draped chiffon dress by Valentino Haute Couture paired with a yellow and white gold necklace with pearls and diamonds from Buccellati. The necklace lays over the edge of the gown.  I have no doubt that the necklace is finished so smoothly and beautifully that the back of the necklace feels like satin and poses no risk whatsoever to the dress.
Incidentally, this is the very dress that Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the premiere of Sex and the City 2 in New York City. Parker went the current but traditional route and wore stacked bracelets with the gown in lieu of a necklace.
And it is Sarah Jessica Parker herself who models the second new example of the necklace-with-one-shoulder-dress look. The June 2010 issue of Marie Claire, on one of its extra cover pages, features a photograph of Sarah Jessica Parker in a short Valentino dress with a one-shoulder effect created by one sheer panel of illusion black chiffon and a short necklace. In this case, notice that the chiffon lies over the necklace, which is a vintage piece from Seedhouse. I expect from its appearance that the necklace consists of prong-set rhinestones. Are you wincing? What do you suppose are the chances that the chiffon will catch on a prong?
When you wear Valentino, break rules or don’t break rules but in either case, please bring out your good jewelry.

-JCK Online  By Cynthia Sliwa