A bare shoulder makes a woman look glamorous and sexy. One is left with a sense of anticipation that a surprise is yet to come.
Well, you can anticipate seeing a lot of bare shoulders this spring based on the recent New York Fashion Week shows, where asymmetrical dresses with uneven hemlines and mismatched sleeve lengths ruled the runway.
While you're probably busy hunting for a new winter coat, here's a look at some of the other big trends for spring '09:
Photo Essay: New York Fashion Week
Bondage: The most arresting trend to come down the runway this season was the reference to “bondage." Dresses had criss-cross bands of black ribbon with cut-outs around the midriff. These S&M elements were seen in day dresses and evening gowns.
Short Skirts: Expect a sliding scale of 5 inches above the knee to mid-knee.
Harem Pants: Women who are uncomfortable with the short hemlines have options. The newest trend to hit runways was the “harem” pant. These pants are loose on top and tie at the ankle. Shorter versions appeared in clam-digger length.
Sock Hop Time: Many designers referenced the '50s prom dress with beautifully crafted corset tops that gave shape to the waistline and flared out at the hips. The good girl-bad girl apron dress was also fresh, decorated with layers of ruffles in the front and MIA in the back.
Greek Goddesses: Greek goddess dresses were close to the body and came with plunging necklines that exposed bandeau bras. Others were backless and exposed thongs.
Romance: The overall mood for spring '09 is romantic, with lots of great feminine clothes embellished with ruffles, bows, embroidery and appliqués. Flowy fabrics such as the lightest silks and ethereal layers of chiffon and georgette drive the message home.
Metallics: Shimmer and shine for day and night, featuring metallic discs, beads and crystal studs.
'Tulip' Skirts: Skirts were full and cinched at the waist, layered with ruffles, twisted to the side with a sarong closure or — most popular — featured natural folds at the hips that narrowed a bit at the hem to create deep pockets.
The 'Boyfriend' Jacket: Many designers gave a wink to the '80s by resurrecting the “boyfriend” jacket. This oversized structured piece was the most masculine element in a very romantic, feminine season.
Jumpsuits: Speaking of blasts from the past, a respectful homage was paid to Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away this year. In the '70s, YSL took the utilitarian jumpsuit out of the factory and raised it to black-tie status. Many designers incorporated this silhouette into their collections.
Chunky shoes: Shoes were the antithesis to the airy, lightweight collections. High strappy platforms, gladiator booties and big leather straps around the ankles marched down the catwalk.
Whips and Chains: Chunky long and short chains adorned many a frock. Belts varied from thin to wide, decorated with beading or just plain obi style, and were seen on the waist or hung low on the hip.
Athletic References: Bike shorts, racer-back bras, baseball jackets, anoraks and scuba suits hit the catwalk.
Cheat Sheet: The Must-Haves for Spring '09
Anything with one shoulder
A Grecian dress
A tulip skirt with big pockets
A slouchy top
A blouse with ruffles
A boyfriend jacket
A harem pant
A clunky shoe