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The one shoulder silhouette is a versatile choice that stands out from the crowd because of its asymmetry. This silhouette perfectly complements any kind of dress, whether it’s a ball gown or a cocktail dress, making it a great choice for both formal and semi-formal events. 

One Shoulder Dresses: How to Find Your Dream Dress 

If you’ve never shopped for a one shoulder dress before, you may be stumped on where to start. Before we dive into today’s one shoulder dress trends, let’s take a look at the things to think about when you’re shopping for one of these dresses. 

Think About the Event’s Dress Code

The event dress code is going to give you search guidelines for your outfit, so it’s a great place to start. A formal dress code is going to call for longer dresses, whereas cocktail attire allows for shorter, more playful looks. 

The time of year will help steer you toward fabric choices, though if your event is indoors, this will become less of an issue. Also, if you know that there will be lots of dancing, you’ll want to choose fabrics that are lighter and allow you to move. 

One shoulder dresses come in all sorts of silhouettes, colors, and formality levels, so no matter what, you’ll be covered. 

Decide on Long Sleeve vs Short Sleeve

One shoulder dresses will either have a long sleeve or a short sleeve (similar to a tank top.) Both styles can invoke formality as well as playfulness so you can’t go wrong with either, but here are some things to think about while you’re deciding. 

Long-sleeved one shoulder dresses bring the drama, whereas a short sleeve has a bit more subtlety. If you want the focus to be on the one-shoulder neckline, a long sleeve may be the way to go. If you prefer to make the skirt of your dress, your accessories, or your shoes the star of the show, you’ll likely want to opt for a short sleeve. 

Choose Which Shoulder to Show

The shoulder you choose to expose is a simple matter of preference. While you’re doing your research, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind because of this silhouette’s asymmetry. 

Consider Your Hair Style 

If you have an asymmetrical haircut or are planning on parting your hair to one side, you may want to take note of this and think about the desired effect with your dress. 

If you’re doing dramatic asymmetry with your hair, you may want to match your covered shoulder with where a majority of your hair will be. This way, your hair will be less likely to compete with your dress.

Consider Current and Planned Tattoos 

One shoulder dresses are great choices for both showing off and covering up tattoos. 

Even if you don’t have tattoos, a formal dress tends to stay in your closet for a few years. So, if you have a little upper back or collarbone tattoo planned, you may want to choose a dress that will frame it well. 

Alternatively, if you have an arm tattoo that you don’t want in event photos, a one shoulder dress can keep you covered while still maintaining a playful flair. 

Accessorizing One Shoulder Dresses 

When you’re accessorizing, you’ll want to keep it simple. Long sleeves tend to play best with a bracelet on the opposite wrist of the sleeve or with sparkly earrings. With a short sleeve, a dainty short necklace or choker could also work, but make sure you don’t distract from your neckline. 

While they’re not accessories, you’ll also want to be conscious of whatever you plan on wearing underneath your dress. Try on your planned undergarments with your dress to avoid unwanted lines. For one shoulder silhouettes especially, you’ll want to invest in a strapless bra if you don’t have one already to keep your neckline free of distractions. 

One Shoulder Dress Trends 2024 

Now that you know what to think about when you go dress shopping, you can experiment with styles! Here are some of our favorite one shoulder dress trends for 2024. 

High Slit One Shoulder Dresses 

A high slit one shoulder dress is a long dress that features a slit up one side of the skirt that reaches the thigh, though the actual size of the slit may vary depending on style. Typically, high slit dresses are figure-hugging gowns, but you may see a high slit on a ball gown or an A-line dress. 

One shoulder dresses featuring a high slit are a great compromise if there’s an event with dancing that you want to wear a longer dress to. The slit ensures that you can move more freely and, as a bonus, lets you show off some cute shoes! 

A high slit on the opposite side as your sleeve creates a balanced look, as the sleeve gives you coverage but the slit shows more skin. On the other hand, a slit on the same side as your sleeve plays with the asymmetry of the one shoulder silhouette 

One Shoulder Dresses With Side Capes

Side capes are long strips of fabric that hang down from a fixed point on the dress. Side capes add an extra dimension of movement to the dress, making them great choices for events that feature a lot of dancing. The most common places for side capes are on the shoulder or on the hip. 

A side cape on the hip is a fabulous addition to a high slit, adding a bit of drama to the silhouette of the slit. A side cape on the shoulder may balance a high slit in addition to adding length to a shorter dress and catching attention from both the front and the back. 

Short One Shoulder Dresses 

2023 is all about the flirty, fun vibe, and short one shoulder dresses fit the bill perfectly. Short one shoulder dresses fall above the knee, making them well-suited for a cocktail dress code. 

These dresses may be figure-hugging like sheath dresses, or they may have an A-line silhouette, making them reminiscent of glamorous ice skaters. A long sleeve will bring extra drama with this shortened hemline. 

Both long and short sleeve looks will pair well with a killer pair of shoes. Go with shoes that match your dress for a sleek look or contrasting shoes for an eclectic vibe. 

Metallic One Shoulder Dresses 

This year is all about bringing an extra dose of glitz and glam with sparkling metallics! Metallics may come in the form of shiny fabric, all-over sequins, or bigger embellishments like cut glass for a more dramatic aesthetic. 

Silver and gold may be the most popular colors, but metallics don’t have to be restricted to that; you can have metallic blue, purple, or even pink. 

When you’re picking out shoes to go with your metallic dress, opt for neutral tones, like black or something close to your skin tone. Try to avoid embellishments on your shoes to avoid taking away from your dress. 

One Shoulder Dresses With Cutouts 

These dresses have a one shoulder silhouette but also feature additional flashes of skin. Most commonly, cutouts will fall around the waist, but you may see cutouts on the chest or back of the dress. One shoulder dresses with cutouts are longer gowns for the most part, but a short dress featuring a cutout design isn’t unheard of. 

Cutouts take the flirtiness of the one shoulder silhouette and dial it up to ten. This is the perfect trend if you’re heading to a semi-formal summer event with lots of dancing or if you’re someone who wants to show a little more skin. 

Before investing in one of these dresses, double-check your school or event venue's dress code just to be safe. Then, you can dance the night away like a red carpet fashionista! 

Finding Your Perfect One Shoulder Dress 

Shopping for any dress for an event can be stressful, but it’s important to remember to have fun during your search. With these tips in mind, as well as some trends to get you started, you can more easily find the dress of your dreams!