Here we have Princess Diana’s entry for Jungle January!
We have looked at a number of clothes that emphasise slim hips (most trousers) the legs (the shift), a curvy body (sheath). Now it is time for the shoulders and back. Nothing celebrates the shoulders and back like a halter top, dress, swim suit or gown.
What is a halter? A top that exposes the shoulders and back, often fastening at the back neck with a tie or other fastening. Because it is fastened in this way it can allow the creation of backless evening gowns and swim wear. However not everyone looks great in a halter neck as the style lines resemble a Raglan sleeve, exposing and emphasising the shoulders.
It is assumed that this style of top was invented by Vionette as it worked especially well with a bias cut evening gown. The 1920s and 1930s were the eras when a more obvious but natural body shape was allowed to emerge with close-fitting bias, jersey and swimwear designs being offered. It is essentially a sexy, revealing item and fun to use in evening wear designs. A halter neck blouse can be worn with a suit to work but it would still be quite shocking to take off the jacket and reveal a bare back.
Halter necks have the effect of narrowing or slimming the shoulders so can work well for women with large shoulders, and are best for women who with a straightish body. One of the best halter neck wearers was Princess Diana. The style had the effect of giving some emphasis to her very slim hips and minimising the strong shoulder line. In these three evening dresses there is some gathering or draping in the skirt to balance out the shoulders – to very good effect.