Here’s a trend that began its noticeable ascent at the 2011 awards shows, as certain fashion-savvy actresses donned gowns that – finally! – got away from the same old, same old strapless designs that have become so prevalent in recent years. To compensate for the addition of sleeves to an evening dress, it seemed almost inevitable that a flash of skin would need to appear elsewhere to add glamour to the look. For some, it was a long slit in the skirt, allowing for a peek at lovely legs. For others, the look was a focus on the décolletage of a deep vee neckline.
At the Academy Awards in February 2011, for instance, Celine Dion wore a long-sleeved dress with a deep vee and a pendant necklace. Claire Danes wore a long-sleeved, vee-cut-to-there dress without a necklace. Melissa Leo wore a short-sleeved dress with a deep vee and a stand-up collar, adorned with a small pendant necklace. Annette Bening wore a cap-sleeved gown with a more modest vee neck accompanied by a stunning pair of emerald earrings and no necklace.
Just in time for Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William, the April 2011 issue of InStyle magazine published this comment: “As vibrant as spring dresses are, we’re not having an overtly sexy moment. Skintight looks cheesy, mucho sparkle shrieks showgirl, and micro can easily go very wrong. . . . And yet a plummeting décolletage comes off more crisp than crass, particularly where straps are ample and the wide V narrows to a point at the waist that it grazes.
Indeed, the royal wedding dress seems to have been inspired by the elegant bridal gown of Princess Grace, a structured garment, not overly body conscious, and long-sleeved. The gown’s modest vee neckline served as a nod to current fashion. Maid of honor Pippa Middleton’s dress had a slightly wider vee neckline, but, like the bride’s, the vee dipped only to the bustline. Both dresses were accented with earrings and no necklace.
In the world of fashion, the vee necks are more daring. Actress Zooey Deschanel wears a flirty polka dot dress with a deep vee neckline as pictured on the cover of the April 2011 issue of Lucky magazine. With the dress, which is from Marc by Marc Jacobs, Deschanel wears 18k rose gold and carnelian earrings and matching ring from Van Cleef & Arpels, a gold-plated crystal and epoxy necklace from Swarovski, a pendant necklace from Dior Fine Jewelry, a gold-plated fox-adorned cuff from mossmills.com, multiple yellow gold, canary sapphire and diamond disc bracelets from Kara Ackerman Designs, and a pair of diamond eternity bands, one white, one pink, from Natacha Langerman along with her own engagement ring and wedding band.
An elaborate long-sleeved top from Chanel is pictured worn with a pendant necklace from Salvatore Ferragamo and a headband from Kokin in the April 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The pendant draws the eye down to the model’s bust.
Here’s a second low vee-neck look from April’s Bazaar: a softly draped dress from Ralph Lauren Collection worn with a pendant necklace from House of Lavande and a cuff bracelets from Dean Harris and Anton Heunis. The cross-body bag is from Alexander McQueen.
“Take a big plunge,” suggests the May 2011 issue of Glamour: “The extra-deep V-neck top is very sexy and very now—especially tucked into some flowy pants.” The wrap-style top and pants are from Diane von Furstenberg. The look is shown without a necklace or earrings but with the addition of a multi-strand bracelet from Mawi. The clutch is from Oscar de la Renta.
In the May 2011 issue of More, a short top from Callula Lillibelle is shown worn with silk pants from Calvin Klein Collection and adorned with a very long rose gold and jet pendant necklace from Vhernier. The pendant helps draw the eye down to the model’s waist.
The May 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar features a sleek jumpsuit slashed to the waist and belt from Akris, worn with a ring from Pilar Olaverri, a clutch from Stella McCartney and sandals from Reed Krakoff. The look has no necklace; the belt adds emphasis at the waist in lieu of a necklace.
Here are four examples of deep vee-neck designs pictured in the April 2011 issue of InStyle: Rachel McAdams in Suno, Julianne Moore in Tom Ford, Kristen Bell in Brian Reyes, and Leighton Meester in Louis Vuitton. Notice that none of the styles are adorned with a necklace except that worn by Moore. Her unidentified pendant necklace looks to be at an awkward length that adds nothing to her look.
The March 2011 issue of Glamour features a jumpsuit from Gucci worn with a necklace from Etro, bag from Anya Hindmarch and shoes from Jimmy Choo.
The March 2011 issue of InStyle features the exact same jumpsuit from Gucci, modeled by actress Vanessa Hudgens and worn with a long resin and tassel pendant necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane, a silk turban from Jennifer Behr and sandals from Donna Karan New York.
Notice how the necklaces in the two stylings of the Gucci jumpsuit create different visual effects. The long pendant necklace that Hudgens wears draws the eye down to her waist. Contrast that with the shape of the Etro necklace, which dominates the bare expanse of the model’s skin and draws the eye up toward her face while still giving a nod to the deep vee of the jumpsuit with the long hanging portion of the necklace. Both necklaces are bold choices.
Whether styled with a necklace or sans necklace, the one accessory not visible but almost certainly present in all the deep vee-neck looks: reliably strong tape.