Shoulder Pads: Love Them or Hate Them

Date Posted:10 March 2015 

Shoulder pads:  you either love them or hate them. Of course, you hate them, right?  Do you really like shoulder pads?  You love them?  I’m sorry… I just thought we all agreed.

Sure, shoulder pads were created to express feeling of power and confidence! However, in reality, shoulder pads most often represent unflattering style, clunky appearance and are considered to be totally ’80s.  To most people shoulder pads are a terrible fashion blunder but believe it or not, shoulder pads have something of a feminist history. Throughout history, shoulder pads have been used to help women keep up with men. 

In 1931, fashionable shoulder pads came to life thanks to designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Marcel Rochas. A year later, Joan Crawford wore a shoulder-centric dress while playing in the movie Letty Lynton, this made shoulder pads the new everything. How many of you remember that movie?

At the end of World War II, shoulder pads turned into more than just a fashion statement.  Shoulder pads became a symbol of confidence and suddenly it was hipper than ever to dress boldly and courageously.

Shoulder pads went out of style for a couple of decades, and when they made a comeback, it was once again used to help women keep up with men. The ’80s power suit was a fashion statement for the “dress for success” era. In the ’80s, dressing for success in the business world meant dressing like one of the guys. Women could now convey a message of power and incharge-ness,  right?

Shoulder pads were no longer confined to business suits. Shoulder pads could be found on swimsuits, blouses, and dresses making everyone in the ’80s look a bit more broad-shouldered.

Post-’80s, shoulder pads are back in style and today the trend is making a third comeback. Stars like Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian have all adopted the powerful silhouette of decorated shoulders. Shoulder pads now appear on many runways, fashion designer collections and continue to be a mainstream fashion among many popular artists.

Why now? This time around, shoulder pads are not a symbol of confidence or masculinity. The shoulder pads of right now have been completely revamped to add style to any wardrobe.  Until now, shoulder pads have embodied women’s fears, aspirations, and futures. But now shoulder pads represent unique style for women of all ages. 

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