The Off-the-Shoulder Top Is Back, and Vaccine-Jab Ready

Alaina Demopoulos
·3-min read
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty

The vaccine selfie is both a flex and a work of art. While it’s disheartening to see, say, a SoulCycle instructor get to the front of the line under the guise of being a “teacher,” it remains endlessly warming to watch someone’s grandmother get her jab. A shot in the arm has become another social media rite of passage, and as access (slowly) trickles down to the rest of us, trends are born.

While sweatpants—the mac and cheese, comfort food of fashion—came to represent the need for comfort amid a crumbling society, we need a new piece of clothing to represent the impending promise of a brighter future. Enter: the off-the-shoulder top.

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As made clear in a viral tweet from this week, cold shoulders are the perfect mix of fashion and function when your appointment comes up. A nurse can easily get her syringe in place, and you can wear a wildly impractical piece of clothing that restricts any arm movement.

The sweater in the tweet comes from Paige Denim; it costs $259, which is suspicious for a garment that’s missing half a sleeve. It also has a turtleneck, for warmth I guess. Though I wouldn’t wear it in a blizzard because, again, the shoulder is uncovered. Good luck finding a bra to wear underneath it that doesn’t poke through the gigantic hole.

This isn’t just an internet joke, according to the U.K. lifestyle site Tyla, the fast fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing “confirmed that they’ve seen a spike in sales of off-the-shoulder outfits” by 29 percent between January and February.

Christian Siriano debuted his fall collection this week, which was basically shoulder-central. Many of the ball gowns and power suits—very much “going out” clothes—featured open sleeves. According to Vogue, the tulle-filled lineup “really did feel like a trip to a fantasy land.” And what is more make-believe than an orderly, fair vaccine rollout?

The off-the-shoulder top is the kind of crazy-making, rich person status-dressing that says, I don’t need to lift anything today, because I am rich! (Which makes sense, because if you’re under 65, a non-essential worker with no pre-existing conditions, and still manage to get the vaccine these days, you probably are rich.)

With the off-the-shoulder shirt, there is no need to fuss with rolling up pesky sleeves. Your naked arms are just there. It’s functional, with no fabric getting in the way of a needle. And then you can trot home, a tell-tale Band-Aid in full view of everyone you pass.

Some European politicians just went ahead and took off their entire shirts for the occasion. If you would like to follow suit because your beach vacation got cancelled due to COVID, I will give you this one thing. But I doubt the CVS pharmacist who will eventually shoot me full of antibodies would appreciate me going topless. So Bardot sleeves it is.

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As recent news stories have revealed, you never know when your local pharmacy or primary care doctor might have an extra Moderna or Pfizer dose that they must use now. You must be ready to go at any moment, and you would hate if your outfit got in the way of that opportunity. So to be on the safe side, maybe invest in a few bicep-bearing tops.

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