Necklines showing skin is nothing new, but baring it this way hasn’t been considered in centuries. Not kidding. The square neckline is so painfully dated that its style icon is Marie Antoinette. It’s been languishing in obscuring since the eighteenth century to only now be unearthed as de rigueur.
Like an extension of the summertime camisole, the square neck that’s burgeoning its way into a full-blown trend for autumn mimics the cut of a spaghetti strap top. It delicately highlights the shoulders and décolletage without being rude or lewd about it.
It hints at the ultra-cleavage of this summer’s corset fad, but without the uncomfortable boning. And, it has the brazen sensibility of the deep, plunging v-necks that are often found in celebrity realms.
Historically speaking, we have Renaissance women to thank for popularising square-necked bodices way-back-when. In the 1400s the fashion was for empire waistlines and geometric necklines, which retained their popularity right through to the Elizabethan reign when waists were rebound. However, by this point, they were worn over ruffled collars. They peaked in popularity in the French courts and other than a few moments in the spotlight, such as a brief stint in the 1960s with long-sleeves shift dresses - the square neckline has been neglected.
On the catwalks, it’s been enjoying a comeback in the hands of Molly Goddard, Calvin Klein, Zimmermann, Celine and Esteban Cortazar. With the help of Bella Hadid and Alexa Chung, it's gone from a mere notion to a covetable concept.
As Chung and Hadid can verify, this trend is as slutty (in a good way) as you want to make it. If you fancy riffing on the neckline’s intuitive feminine milkmaid vibe, then it’s yours for the taking. But, if you’re willing to turn up the heat, it doesn’t take much. Though it doesn’t seem it, a square neckline is as adaptable as you want to make it, just think like the Elizabethan’s and consider layering it over a polo neck or a fishnet top. The high street has plenty of options for you to experiment with.
If you’re still doubtful that the square neckline will catch on just do the maths. Catwalk real estate plus It girl multiplied by the power of the high street equals a surefire trend. Buy now, before everyone else clocks it!
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.