Shoulder pads were first seen in womenswear during the 1930’s. During this period fashion was highly influenced by the economy and the war, therefore women’s clothing was inspired by military uniforms and masculine details. Shoulder pads were used in both suiting and dresses to give women a more assertive, powerful and masculine silhouette. With men fighting in the war, women were now entering the workforce and had big ‘shoulders to fill.’
Shoulder pads were seen again in the 1980’s. Always coming back into style when women begin to breakthrough a wall in the corporate (or political) world. Now, with so many female entrepreneurs leading some of today’s top startups it’s important for women to feel powerful. And dressing the part is vital.
Fashion has always been there as an advocate of confidence and strength for the modern woman. Much like back then, women are standing up for issues that have still yet to be resolved in society today. The return of the shoulder pad is symbolic and nostalgic for similar issues women faced back in the 1940’s.
Many designers displayed the power shoulder this season. We saw the return of the power suit from Celine and Balenciaga with oversized blazers. Saint Laurent and Jacquemus expressed their version of the oversized shoulder in feminine lace dresses and tops. Just about every collection down the runway represented that designers version of a woman of strength, which is exactly what we need at the moment.
Here are some pieces to try now!
Vetements leads the pack with overbearing shouldered tops like this one:
New comer Jacquemus is no stranger to an expressive shoulder either. Whether it be a poplin dress…
…or a midriff baring top.
Pair a bold shouldered blazer with an unexpected chain detail or belt…
Or try a sleek cape silhouette.
All photos for collages from Vogue.com.