Getting Out Of (Neck) Line

January 19, 2008 • Magazine

Getting Out Of (Neck) Line

Getting Out Of (Neck) Line

Sun, 2008-01-20 05:00

Jaqueline Zenn

Turtlenecks are cozy, v-necks are flattering, and bateau necklines have an Audrey Hepburn sort of elegance. However, sometimes even the classics get a little…boring. There is nothing inherently wrong with yet another strapless dress, really, but why stick with the same silhouettes when you can mix it up with portrait collars, key-holes, and other attention-grabbing styles?

Sculptural necklines that place your face front and center are glamorous and slightly theatrical, while still being easy to wear. Portrait collars will frame your face, accentuate a graceful neck and highlight your cheekbones; while shawl collars and cowl-necks (their more casual cousins) add a cozy feeling to sweaters and jackets. Try a slim sheath with a portrait collar for a tailored vintage look with plenty of sex appeal, like this dove gray Ports 1961 dress with its alluring plunging v-back.

Another unusual choice is a neckline adorned with cascades of ruffles. Although it is possible for this look to a get a little too “costumey”, done well it can be elegant and modern. The trick is to keep the rest of your outfit simple and sleek – this Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress would work well. Pair it with classic slingbacks and a pretty clutch, and you won’t resemble a gypsy or flamenco dancer in the least.

Keyhole detailing is another distinctive option, whether it located at the front or the back of garment, and whether it is small and subtle or big and bold. For instance, this simple little black cashmere dress by Karoo Mark Eisen is made much interesting with the addition of a small cutout; while this charcoal T-Bags tunic dress is demure from the front and downright sexy from the back, thanks to a dramatic teardrop-shaped keyhole.

Last but not least is the asymmetrical neckline. When done well, it has a Grecian or an avant-garde feel; when done poorly, it is more “Jane in the Jungle” (this is one of the few times you should just say no to animal prints). Try it with a chic little cocktail dress, such as this artfully draped black velvet Anna Sui number.

Clearly, there is way too much variety out there to stick to the same basic silhouettes, and besides, switching up necklines is one of the safest ways to experiment. So next time you are reaching for yet another v-neck, break out of the rut and go for something that is just a little (or a lot, if you are feeling brave) out of the ordinary.

pictured top to bottom
• Ports 1961 Wool Portrait Collar Dress $525,
• Diane von Furstenberg ‘Malloricita’ Dress was $425, Now $254,
• Karoo Mark Eisen Cashmere Sleeveless Keyhole Dress $319,
• T-Bags Teri Open Back Sweater Dress $242 now $169.40,
• Anna Sui Washed Velvet Dress in Black $407,

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