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Neck and neck: Off-the-shoulder is off the hook this summer

DesignAlison Baitz, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

From the maxi dress to Jackie-O sunglasses, retro-inspired fits are always a win for the pool-lounging, vacation-counting-down days of summertime. The latest look garnering plenty of ink and turning heads this season? The off-the-shoulder top (or dress...or jumper).

It's easy to see why this silhouette is enjoying a huge fashion moment this time around. It's as easy to wear as your everyday tee, but there's something extra special about it. In addition to a ruffled, elastic neckline, these pieces have an air of mysticism and romance, too. If any piece of clothing could make you look and feel like you're floating, an off-the-shoulder frock is probably it.

And it wins, hands down, for versatility. The tops play just as well with your favorite denim — skinny or flare — as they do with Mamma Mia-worthy printed maxi skirts and strappy heels. Dresses are even easier, carrying your summer look — think carefree hairdo and subtle jewelry — through a well-deserved weekend or vacation.

Here are the Gap, Inc. pieces that will keep you up-to-date with this retro-inspired silhouette.

First stop: Old Navy. The brand's Off-Shoulder Tie-Belt Dress for Women is so easy-wearing with subtle, summery details that elevate the piece: The light blue hue is perfect for warm weather, red-orange sunsets and easy, breezy evenings. Meanwhile, the floaty, ruffle overlay adds interest while the waist tie gives the dress all-important shape. If you're dying to rock this look with your favorite denim, try Old Navy's Lace-Trim Off-Shoulder Top for Women. Stark white is always an excellent choice for summer, and its floaty, delicate lace overlay against your décolletage easily uplevels the tried-and-true jeans-and-tee combination.

For an elevated everyday piece, Gap included the Tencel Off-Shoulder Top in its collection this season. With its trend-right washed denim coloring, boho embroidery and scalloped edging, it became an instant customer favorite that flew off the shelves.

While most off-the-shoulder tops feature elastic necklines all the way around, this Banana Republic piece — the Off-Shoulder Tie-Cuff Top — is slightly different in a really cool way. Only the shoulders are elasticized, while the front and back neckline fall straight. Plus, the button-down back and tie detailing at both sleeves — which hit at the three-quarter mark — put this top at the top of our style lists.

If you need a chic piece to take you from day to evening flawlessly, go with another Banana Republic pick — the Off-Shoulder Flounce Ponte Dress. This dress, in ponte, is a reimagined LBD. It's at new twist on a classic that's effortless to wear with style.

When it's time to pull out all the stops, pull out the Self-Portrait Off the Shoulder Jumper, available at INTERMIX. The bold red color is unexpected for the season, and its silhouette promises to turn heads: off-the-shoulder straps lead into a cut-out empire waistline and cropped, wide-leg pant bottoms. For an ultra-feminine take on an already feminine look, you'll love the Gabriella Off Shoulder Gingham Bustier Top by Caroline Constas, also available at INTERMIX. It's a little different from the usual off-shoulder silhouette, with bold, voluminous sleeves and a bustier shape. Got vacation on the mind? Tell us you're not mentally transported to the French Riviera just by looking at Nadia Tarr's Striped Off the Shoulder Crop Top; this new take on nautical is also at INTERMIX.

How will you interpret the clavicle craze this season?