Finding the Right Support for That Off-The-Shoulder Holiday Look

Photo: Pool/Samir Hussein/Wire Image/Getty Images

Blame it on the Duchess of Sussex (that’s Meghan to you and me). That peek of shoulder she chose as part of the design of her wedding dress was understated and elegant, but it has also served to propel the off-the-shoulder fashion trend of the past few seasons to new heights – right into the holidays, and all those shoulder-baring looks.

If, however, you’re a student of fashion like me, you’ll recall the designer Donna Karan espousing the shoulders as “the new erogenous zone.” Her “cold-shoulder” dresses – worn by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Demi Moore – some one-shoulder asymmetrical, some with cut-outs and some simply draped to suggestively reveal or expose completely the shoulders and the décolleté, worked a new sexiness that continues to be ageless, timeless. That was the early ’90s. Plus ça change …

Hillary Clinton in a black off-the-shoulder dress sitting on a desk smiling.
Hillary Clinton (Photo: Suzanne Dechillo/New York Times Via Redux

The Markle effect, however, and the trend, bring another underlying – or underpinning, rather – conundrum. What do you wear in support? You still want your best silhouette, of course, but showy straps are not always appropriate or sophisticated.

Luckily, lingerie designers have been engineering strapless and convertible bras that work with this look and that also stay put (meaning the undergarment won’t slide southward as you wear it – my biggest complaint).

A strapless black wonder bra.
The Multi-Tasker WonderBra
5-in-1 Wear Your Way convertible bra (34B-40D), Hudson’s Bay; wonderbra.ca

WonderBra, the brand first developed in Canada more than 50 years ago, introduces the eight-in-one convertible bra, which features “eyelets,” or multiple zones where you can customize the straps’ positions or remove them to suit almost any top.

A peach Wacoal strapless bra.
The Celebrity: Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Full Busted Underwire (30B-42H), Hudson’s Bay; Simons; www.wacoal.ca

Wacoal has also worked hard to eliminate slippage. The Red Carpet Strapless Full-Busted Underwire just about says it all. It’s also seamless, for no show-through and, according to the company, it’s the No. 1 strapless on the market.

La Vie en Rose's floral strapless bra.
The T-Shirt classic:  La Vie en Rose’s My Memory 4-way convertible (32B-40DD), La Vie en Rose; lavieenrose.com

Memory foam and breathable fabric helps La Vie en Rose’s strapless bra to remember your natural shape, which maximizes a good fit. Tip: the company also features Sleekback styles that are engineered to help eliminate the dreaded back fat and underarm folds. And leave it to the French to create a beautiful and functional strapless.

A Simone Péréle black strapless bra.
The Romantic: Simone Péréle Eden Zen (32B-40E), www.simone-perele.com

Paris-based Simone Péréle celebrates 70 years of uplifting our silhouettes, and this season introduces an embroidered satin jacquard strapless plunge called Wish that goes to an F cup, along with a smooth-lace combo called Eden Zen for a European take on elegant simplicity. Just like the Duchess.

Skin Care Tip: Treatment Time

The décolleté and the neck are getting special attention, so they deserve a little special attention in their own right.

A cult favourite, Strivectin’s neck cream has been given an added boost. The TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus has been formulated with lifting, strengthening and brightening ingredients that also work to soften vertical lines on the neck and to even out the skin’s texture and tone on the décolleté. Shoppers Drug Mart

Canadian physician-created Di Morelli Skin Care combines medical
grade and active natural ingredients. The Vitamin C Serum for Face and Eye
helps to stimulate collagen and elastin in the neck area to firm skin, prevent sagging and minimize lines and wrinkles. Pharmasave; www.dimorelli.com