Reader Beth e-mailed me this question:
I’ve started branching out into asymmetric pieces. Nothing too dramatic but I often find myself unsure of what to do with them. For instance, I have a dress that has an asymmetric neckline and I love it, it’s totally my style and it’s comfy/fun to wear. But when I start looking to add accessories or a cardigan or something else, I feel like I’m not doing a great job of making the best of the asymmetry. It looks… not right. Any tips on how to integrate asymmetrical pieces into your wardrobe?
Just like Beth, I ADORE asymmetric pieces and also find them challenging to style. There are many ways in which a garment can be designed with asymmetry, so I broke my answer down into three main categories.
In my experience, you’ve got four options here: Leave them alone, pick the perfect complement, pretend they don’t exist, or disguise them completely.
- If you leave an asymmetric neckline alone, you can feel free to add fun accents elsewhere: Big earrings, bracelets, interesting shoes, or a fun belt. The neckline itself is likely interesting enough that adding a necklace isn’t entirely necessary.
- Picking the perfect necklace to fit within an asymmetric neckline is extremely challenging … but it can be done. Pendants will likely work better than strands because they will come to a point – as many asymmetric necklines do – though in some cases strands will work. If you’re wearing a piece of jewelry that fits inside the neckline, make sure it hangs naturally within the exposed neck area and doesn’t fight the neckline.
- The “pretend they don’t exist” option boils down to wearing a much longer necklace or scarf that hangs well over the neckline itself and looks intentional. It can be tricky, for sure, but it can be done.
- And, finally, if other aspects of the garment are what appeal for a certain outfit, you can cover an asymmetric neckline with a large scarf or cardigan.
Throwing a regular cardigan over an asymmetric piece can be tricky. Picking something that complements the arty asymmetric aesthetic like a waterfall cardigan or moto jacket might work better. Even if the outer layer masks some of the detailing of the inner, the overal feel will be more harmonious. If you’ve got an asymmetric OUTER layer, I generally advise a very plain inner layer.
Asymmetric hemlines are the easiest to style. Mostly, you just want to avoid putting any other obvious breaks in their way. So bare legs and pumps, sandals, flats, or other low footwear work. Tights and low footwear will also work. Doing boots with asymmetric hemlines can look amazing, but can also backfire since tall boots often cut the leg where a hemline might fall. If an outfit with an asymmetric hemline seems off, try switching up your shoes to see if that helps.
Originally posted 2013-09-24 06:13:03.