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diou May 24

Michelle Obama proves there is a grown-up way to do the cold shoulder trend

The high street is now flooded with summer tops and one of the most popular incarnations being touted for 2017 is the off-the-shoulder style. Topshop has no less than 76 purse-friendly 'cold shoulder' options available right now, in poplin and jersey fabrics and dozens of holiday-ready colours.

But, as Michelle Obama proved over the weekend when on holiday in Italy, the off-shoulder top isn’t just for teenagers and trend addicts.

Wearing an oversized one-shouldered blouse by Finnish label Teija, the former First Lady was dining al fresco with friends in Montalcino and her look felt simultaneously classic and cool.

The key to its success was the shaping - the ruching around the bust and shoulder emphasised that this top was made for a woman, not a girl, and the pink pinstripe fabric balanced the authority and sophistication of a traditional workwear fabric, with a pretty off-duty pastel colour. In all respects, it suits Obama’s post-FLOTUS fashion strategy perfectly, as she seeks to switch up her public image, showing her personality beyond the White House.

Teija, a label likely introduced to Mrs Obama by her long-serving stylist Meredith Koop, is all about putting twists on shirts- literally, in that they pull them around and deconstruct them to create flattering new silhouettes.

Priced at £382, though, it’s an undoubtedly more expensive summer top than the aforementioned high street hits. But the point here is that it can be worth paying extra for something that is more cannily shaped, if you’re keen to show some shoulder in a sophisticated way.

In another look from her Italian jaunt, Obama proved that she's sticking with the shoulder-baring silhouette, opting for a white cotton design with delicate ties and flounce detailling across the chest.

The classic Bardot neckline, which is the shape dominating on the high street, exposes two full shoulders and a lot of chest which, depending on how much you’re keen to bare, might feel like trend overkill, or worse, flesh overspill. The most common (and cheapest) way to get that look is with a stitch-and-go elastic band to hold the top in place - a line that cuts right across the top of the bust and flatters very few.

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