Style

Do or Don’t: Square Neck Shirts

Doen Floral Shirt

This summer, I keep spotting women around town wearing clothes with something in common…

…a square neckline. It feels straight out of the movie Emma, in which Gwyneth Paltrow wore square-necked dresses. So beautiful and timeless, don’t you think?

Thoughts? Would you wear one? I also love this pretty jumpsuit.

P.S. A French bra trick, and the $10 beauty product I swear by.

(Top photo and shirt by Döen.)

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  2. K8 says...

    As a woman with a larger bust size, wide shoulders, and a small waist, I really love a square neck line. Crew neck after crew neck… I just C A N ‘T… they are NOT good for my figure and make me look way too top heavy. I have been buying up the square neckline tops up all summer long to wear during the next square neckline draught! YES!

  3. Cwmilton says...

    Exclusively wore square necklines for a few years in middle school because I was obsessed with the movie Emma and in love with Mr. Knightley. :) Glad to see the movie get it’s due as a a critical 90’s fashion plate!

  4. JB says...

    A truly universally unflattering look.

  5. Dani says...

    I’ve noticed them too but they don’t look good on me (maybe cause I am petite w/ big bust or something?) I’ve tried to make it work too. I can probably do the black/white polka dot and that’s it.

  6. Jessie says...

    Jo, do you know where the top is from in the first picture? The one on top of the Emma pictures? It’s the only one not labeled of where you can purchase it. It’s very stylish.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh yes! The link is in the photo verify at the bottom of the post — it’s from Doen! Xoxo

  7. I hadn’t noticed this trend until you pointed it out! It really is a flattering neckline for all body types. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled to try and add this style to my own closet!

  8. Kate says...

    I bought a dress at Loft this spring that I refer to as my Lisa Loeb dress because it reminds me so much of the square neck dress she wore in the Stay video. That dress and that video clearly imprinted on my little 12 year old soul.

  9. The square-neck “going out top” that Rachel wore in a blind date episode of Friends will forever be on the list of fashion items I’m searching for, but never seem to find. I don’t want the actual shirt, per se, but the specific neck line is just so good…it’d be amazing on the right dress. Sigh…off to search some more, and wear the other square necks that I’m also loving….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UEVEzJp560

    • Aoife says...

      I loved watching that clip! 😊

  10. Ann-Marie says...

    I was trying to google this style a while back — I remember loving a black fitted t-shirt I wore circa ’96 (8th grade!). The square neckline is really flattering, but agree that I’d want it to not be so wide as to flash bra straps. Some demi or balconette type bras have straps on the outer edges, that would play well with these cuts.

  11. Liz says...

    I’ve been all about the square neckline too!! Love that it shows my collarbone without being overtly sexy.

  12. Claire says...

    Such pretty stuff! I’ve always loved a square neckline- it frames the neck and face so well. That Doen blouse and some of the others remind me of so many blouses I wore all the time as a teenager in the 70’s. The prices are surprising- they were not considered fancy back in the day. They were just pretty cotton tops that everyone wore with their jeans.

  13. Kelly Libby says...

    I’m 42 and immediately reminded of the early/mid 1990’s with these clothes. I love the flowers and flow of the clothes but I just cannot do the neckline or the mismatched “style” i see around the city (Boston). But daily, i’m reminded of a happy time in my life: Friday nights My best friend and I browsing the Gap sale rack in the Enfield Square Mall followed by Friendly’s or slices of pizza then waiting for one of our parents to pick us up. And, the best part: we are still friends. :) Thanks for this, Cup of Jo. I needed that to start my day after an unpleasant “conversation” with my sister. hmph.

    • Flo says...

      From a fellow 42 yo, and also going through a less than ideal status with my sister, I’m sending you a hug. I hope you can patch things up!

  14. Oh my gosh, yes! I love a good square neckline. Just bought a top from Madewell with it that I love!

    xoxo
    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  15. Jane says...

    I have one square neckline top, but it kind of drives me crazy because it falls off my shoulders constantly. Its pretty flowy, so maybe one with a more fitted, or at least less flowy, bodice would solve the problem. I love the look!

  16. Genevieve M says...

    This is lovely! Great trend. That blue dress is absolutely gorgeous

    • Sasha L says...

      Love a square neckline, but what I really really love is a boat or bateaux neckline, especially with three quarter sleeves and a scooped low back.

  17. Katrin says...

    I like it! As a small-busted woman, I‘ve always found this neckline pretty flattering, at least on looser tops. A not-too-low square neckline looks feminine while not requiring much cleavage, I think, and it makes any top look a bit more interesting and special than a simple round neckline.

  18. Laura C. says...

    I’m not sure whether I like this trend back or not… Sure those shirts are nice but I prefer V necks.

    • Katie says...

      Thank you! Same!

  19. K says...

    I had so many shirts in the early – mid 2000s like this! Very elegant.

  20. Amy says...

    I feel like it is a very flattering neckline on many body types and shapes! Also, thanks for including a variety in your pictures for the post!

  21. Owl says...

    I LOVE square necklines. They are so classy and frame the face beautifully. I am so happy they are back and I must say that this post has inspired me to go buy a few new tops- with a square neckline, of course!

  22. Sarah says...

    Ha! I saw the lead photo and instantly thought the trend would just be: “Doen. That is all.” Truly, that brand is errrywhere right now.

    • K says...

      Hah, I sort of thought it was gonna be Christy Dawn! Although in my head I group both of them together

    • Tania says...

      Ha! I had that same thought. Their clothes always look so beautiful and whimsical, but I have to keep reminding myself it is not my style (nor budget!) because it does seem to be everywhere!

  23. celeste says...

    No, too 90s Brenda Walsh. Which is returning tonight!

    • Kelly Libby says...

      YES!!! So 90210.

  24. Yes, the necklace looks great. I’d add a necklace!

  25. robin says...

    Just a funny aside, but this reminds me of when I went to the Fashion Museum in Bath years ago. There was an exhibit on of costumes from period Jane Austen film/TV adaptations. “Emma” was included but the curators made a big deal about how it is the LEAST historically accurate. They used it to contrast the really romanticized costumes with more accurate ones. LOL kinda petty.
    Still love the costumes and have probably seen the movie a hundred times!!

    • Em says...

      omg how funny!

    • Katie says...

      Um, kinda perfect lol

  26. Lindsay says...

    Yes I love square necks so much! A lot of my peasant style blouses over the last few years have been square necked and it’s just so flattering and pretty. I like that so much of my chest shows yet without the cleavage.

  27. Katherine says...

    I’m 80% through sewing myself a shirt with a square neckline but it’s in a light wool -still mid winter here and heading for a real cold snap. It’s harder to get the fit right, but it’s a really nice difference from round and v necks in my wardrobe.

    • rose says...

      where is your pattern from? would love to sew one myself!

    • Bec says...

      So fun seeing another sewist pop up in the comments! There are some great indie pattern companies out there right now Rose and I know “Friday Pattern Company” have a gorgeous top with a square neckline and some gorgeous sleeves…

  28. Colleen S says...

    I love this neckline, but as a larger-busted woman, the idea of wearing a strapless (because of course the ones I like in this post would show bra straps) isn’t pleasing.

    • Sarz says...

      Colleen, you read my mind! I’ve loved the style when I’ve seen photos online, but in reality? The bra situation is real! It seems to lessen the look to have visible straps; which is exactly what my experience was. Is the only solution to shop for an accompanying strapless bra? I wonder how others have gotten around this.

    • C says...

      would one possibility be to have a bra with lacy straps and let them show?

    • SB says...

      I just bought a bathing suit with this neckline, and (I’ve never said this about a bathing suit before)–I LOVE IT! It circumvents the whole bra issue, so it might be a good way for you to try out the neckline.
      I think it’s more flattering than the typical sweetheart neckline on bust-supporting suit because it acknowledges the cleavage without accentuating it.

    • Mouse says...

      Yes, no strapless bra for this 32DD woman.
      I think square necklines are for smaller-busted people….also, I feel too mature to want to present myself this way. Maybe they are for younger people too?
      I say all of this while firmly in the camp of, to paraphrase, You Wear You. :)

    • Hilary says...

      I’m in the same camp – 34DDD and this neckline isn’t for me. There are just some styles that look amazing on smaller busts, but that makes we bigger gals look immediately, to use an Emma term, like trollops!

  29. Nectar says...

    i love that this trend is back. It’s so flattering.

  30. My wedding dress had a simple square neckline. I love seeing the trend come back into every day blouses. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds beautiful, amy!

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Any, mine too!