Friday, April 16, 2010

a weight on your shoulders

Shoulder pads. Bringing horrific imagery of brightly colour power suits and feathered hair? Well think again. Usually slow to advocate re-emerging trends, I am quietly endorsing this one. Before you grab my discreetly adorned shoulders to shake some sense into me, let me explain why...


Recycled fashion is not about plucking the mode straight out of the age we last remember it and literally translating it into today’s runway fashion. There’s a great art to picking an element from yesteryear and using its best qualities to renew the style. Don’t worry about pastel green and yellow jackets slipping back into the stores anytime soon – the padded shoulder look of today is fresh without the fruity flavour!

It has only recently dawned on me that I have particularly broad shoulders. I have often wondered why some clothing silhouettes make me look like I’m twice as large as I really am and I have often maintained that if I could walk around barely clad my true size would be more apparent. It took a colleague saying to me, in the context of why jackets never fit me in the armpits properly, “well you are quite broad across the shoulder”. I am, aren’t I? I suddenly realised. And I think this is why the shoulder enhancing fashion is working for me. Why not take what I thought was a negative element of my body shape and turn it into something positive?

I think this is why women with “real” body shapes have and will embrace the look. Take Kim Kardashian for one, she’s often seen sporting large-shouldered dresses and jackets. Kim’s known for her curvy body, she’s got hips and boobs to work clothes around – dressing is not just about slipping something over a rake-thin frame for girls like this. The shoulder pad look enhances the hour glass shape most excellently. It gives her a bit of extra height through the body and it understates the wideness of her hips. Other real women like Rihanna and Beyonce are working the shoulder pads to their advantage aswell.

One of my favourite fashionistas (however removed from the “real girl” status she is) Victoria Beckham has also been rocking the look. It gives these shapes a bit more of a hard edge – although you must wonder if her edges could get much harder – but again it elongates the frame and takes the eye away from a lack of action in the hip area. Although I don't particularly like the look of it on her here... its all a bit "V" looking for me, another skinny minny Kate Moss does the style justice.
Good times all around.

I’ve purchased a couple of detailed shoulder pieces to get me into the swing of things before trying something as daring as these looks, but so far I like what I see. A ruffled or rouched shoulder and sleeve is a good way to start. I also recently bought a cute square-across-the-neck satin dress with little enhanced shoulder spikes of fabric. As “spiky” as satin gets – but it gives it a little lift in that area and makes for a nice contrast to the raised neckline. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues went to Melbourne about a month before me and apparently we went to the same shops because she informed me that she bought the exact same dress. Such good taste! But now I’m dubious about wearing it to work again. Bummer!

So whether or not you think you can pull this one off it’s already encroaching on the generic stores, let alone high fashion. Maybe give it a go, or at least don’t judge me until you see that it does actually work on real girls, not just on the runway.

1 comment:

  1. i bought a t shirt in Melbourne Central which is heaps like the dress in the 2nd picture. And yes it has shoulder pads, of the non intrusive variety. I like.

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