Halter Dresses

When halter dresses were first introduced by the fashion industry in the 1940’s, they were considered scandalous, too sexy and were only accepted as evening dresses or summer beach wear. Since then they have become a fashion basic for many of us. The dress' speciality is to be backless or have some strategically placed straps to support your bust line, or both. It exposes your skin in an unexpected way and highlights your shoulders as well as your collarbones. V-neck styles, especially those with a deep v accentuate your bust dramatically. It is these qualities that makes them all the more alluring and they are excellent choices for most body types including petite. Named after livestock halters, halter top dresses are typically fastened around the waist and at the back of the neck. Not only is the style used to create backless shirts and dresses, but it is also used for swimwear, intimate lingerie, and many costumes. When used for swimsuits, it minimizes tan lines as well as maximizes sun tan exposure on your back. Read below on how to style these dress types...

How to Style a Halter Dress 

For this styling exercise we’ve chosen a black halter dress with a cross back style (modelled by Breanna) because it offers a clean canvas with a flattering design. It also makes you appear more slender and gives you the illusion of being taller. In our experience the most sought after colors are black, red and white followed by pink, blue and gold.  

black halter dress

The style draws attention to your shoulders and frames your face. It wraps around your neck like a lovers arms and so creates a subtle and unconscious sexual tension that most of us cannot explain. Don’t believe us? Pay close attention to where your eyes land when speaking to someone in this style again.

Where to wear?

This more formal look is best reserved for upscale events including, a date night, prom or homecoming, movie premiers, parties, cocktails with clients or an evening wedding. Halter styles can also be easily dressed down and worn more casually.   

What hairstyle to choose? 

Usually this style requires an updo. A simple straight ponytail is acceptable as well as full curls pulled away from your face and off your neck. If you wear a shorter hairstyle such as a short bob or an undercut consider using hairpins to pull your hair out of your face or pin it up if needed. The key is to keep your hair away from your face exposing your neckline and collarbones. 

Babble compiled a list of pretty ponytails ideas. Remember that not all ponytails are created equal so choose one you think works best for your unique style and event.

What makeup works best?

The makeup for this look is something in between natural and smoky. You want to wear just enough makeup without it overtaking your natural beauty. We recommend contouring rather than heavy eyeshadow and bold lipstick.

What shoes should I wear with a halter dress?

Choosing shoes is easier said than done and will depend on three factors: how much walking you plan on doing, where you are going, and the length of the dress. Anytime you want to give your overall look a more polished and formal style go for strappy heels. Thinner and minimal straps are a bit more challenging to walk in for longer periods while styles with wider straps make walking a bit easier. The number of straps largely depends on your comfort and preferences.

Straps that wrap around your ankles and simply hold your toes in place are elegant and sophisticated. These styles work well for shorter length dresses. Heels with straps that reach your ankles tend to provide more support and are ideal if you plan to do a bit of walking. They also work well for longer length dresses.

Some fashionistas recommend the very opposite: shorter dresses should be paired with more straps while longer dresses should be paired with minimal straps. Shoes are a matter of preference and style palettes but strappy is certainly the way to go for more formal styles. 

What are the best undergarments for halter dresses?

With these dresses you need to consider straps, lift, and support. Your back is prominently displayed so traditional bras with wings and bands are difficult to wear, even standard halter bras will probably not work. Adhesive bras are realistic options and come in various styles.

Full cup support - these adhesive bra cups cover the entire breast. Most of these styles are similar to an underwired bra. Many feature a front clasp giving the illusion and feel of more support for your breast.

Nipple concealers - nipple concealers are viable options if you have smaller breasts (no bigger than C cups). These concealers are available in a variety of styles and options that include silicon, polyester blends, and more.

Each halter dress in this collection is made of 90 percent rayon and a 10 percent blend of spandex and nylon. They are halter bodycon or bandage dresses with a sheath like fit. Rayon is durable fabric that won't snag or tear and is strong enough to support your feminine proportions. The blend of spandex and nylon make the dresses easy to wear for extended periods of time without a loss of shape and support.  

Halter necklines are also available in more conservative styles (a high neck cut that covers most of your bust is a good example). This allows for more versatility at the hemline and back. Balance a conservative neckline with a short a-line hem or more of an open back to raise the sexy quotient. Other design options include maxi, criss cross, sequin, shift, lace, scalloped, midi and mermaid to name a few, and so go to prove just how versatile these dresses can be.

Of course the most iconic halter in the film industry was worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. The white pleated, low cut dress impeccably complimented Marilyn Monroe’s cute and flirty nature. The look left a legacy behind and many of us try to emulate it even today.


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