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Shoulder Pads: The Year’s Strangest Accessory Trend
Posted by amy | December 29, 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier should have known better than to attach quilted shoulder pads to bras in his new lingerie line for La Perla. Now everyone’s going to have them in their new collections. And we have to figure out how to wear the damn things.

Shoulder pads are the year’s goofiest and most perplexing trend in underwear/outerwear accessories. Assuming you can figure out how to wear them, the next question is when-and-where.

This would not be a problem if the occasion were, let’s say, your next Vogue cover shoot or perhaps a tryout for the Lingerie Football League. Otherwise, you’re likely to leave these pieces in your closet.

Of course we jest — but only slightly. Have a look at the images below featuring the shoulder pad contraption from Gaultier’s new Createur collection for La Perla. On the left, from Marie Claire UK, Posh looks sublime and you can imagine what this piece will do for her silhouette when worn under the right outfit. On the right, from a Marie Claire Italia spread, the stylist figures the pads work better on the outside. Clearly these things need to come with instructions.

Today’s shoulder pads go way, way beyond the puffy padded inserts that pumped up our wimpy frames back in the 80s, when it was fashionable to look like a linebacker under our oversized blazers.

The latest shoulder accessories demand to be seen, and many of the designs featured in the gallery below are outerwear accessories suitable for club and party wear. Some of these pieces work well with your foundation garments or a bodysuit, while some stand alone as statement pieces. Now, what exactly that statement might be is anyone’s guess.

Our advice? Think of the new breed of shoulder pads as decorative, not functional. Skip the overbuilt bras and wear these pieces like you would a big belt: not so great as office wear, but perfect for your next Ke$ha concert.

Huit Lingerie, Cupcake Magic Air Bra and Boxer Short. The French label is renowned for its architectural detailing, but this just looks uncomfortable — and heavy.

Una Burke, studded leather epaulets from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection Trans.Form. Must-have wear for your next medievalists’ fair.

Dimepiece Designs. This puffed piece shows up in the L.A. label’s new Save No Prayer collection but we can’t find it in their online store, so we don’t know what to tell you. L.A. fashion is all about being seen and remembered; this should do the trick.

Electric-Ibiza, Ruby Aztec pink fringe bodysuit. Why does this make us think of Sgt. Pepper? The attachable feathered shoulder piece in the main photo is also from Electric. Watch for our profile of this hot new label next week.

Rachel Friere, from the AW 2010 collection. Amplified shoulders are a common motif in the futuristic creations of this UK artist/designer. This militaristic outfit looks like it was made for one of those Alien/Predator movies, though for which monster we’re not sure.

Zana Bayne, 2- and 3-wing shoulderpieces. The ultra-buzzy NY leather artist takes shoulder accessorizing seriously and her Fall 2010 collection included these spiky epaulets. They fit under the arms with a connecting strap across the back. Just be careful you don’t poke someone’s eye out.

One Response to “Shoulder Pads: The Year’s Strangest Accessory Trend”

  1. Anna says:

    An incredible collection of clothes …

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