For the millions who now work from home, dressing from the waist up has become the solution for meetings that move from face-to-face to video platforms like Zoom. Its latest iteration? A return of the shoulder of power.
A detail most often associated with the power of clothing in the 1980s, or Alexis Carrington’s wardrobe from Dynasty, has been embraced by women in the public eye as a way to make a virtual impact. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a sharp-shouldered Alexander McQueen jacket in October for a video announcing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year ceremony.
Earlier this month, actress Priyanka Chopra spoke at the Virtual British Fashion Awards wearing a tailored serious shoulder jacket by designer Kaushik Velendra, and Michelle Pfeiffer wore Celine’s strong shoulders On Instagram.
And, long after Margaret Thatcher wore them in the 1980s, they are back in politics. Anneliese Dodds has worn a red jacket with shoulder pads to make a statement in the House of Commons. And for an appearance at a rally in Georgia, Melania Trump sported all sharp edges in a red leather coat.
With XXL shoulders recently on the runway at catwalks by brands like Balmain, Balenciaga, and Rick Owens, fashion connoisseurs have jumped on the trend. Vogue suggested that “personalization you can trust” is one of the five ways to upgrade work cabinets in 2021 and Net-a-porter report an increase in knits and shirts with strong shoulders. Jane Shepherdson, president of My Wardrobe HQ, wears a strong jacket at Zoom “if I need a sense of authority. I feel like I have no authority in a sweater. “She thinks the increased structured shoulders shows a shift in wardrobes for working from home.” You need something to get you out of the pretty sloppy mood you were in before, “she says. her. “You need something to help you a little.”
The strong shoulder is most associated with the ’80s, but it first had a heyday in the’ 30s and ’40s, with the rise of coffee society, which means that a waist-up approach to dressing made sense. The designer Elsa Schiaparelli was a pioneer, with her Bold shoulders inspired by the team used by football players .
In the 1980s, the shoulder pad began to work, as exemplified in 1988’s Working Girl. Fashion historian Tony Glenville says they provided an impact for either women just entering the workforce or for those who dress. powerfully. Now, he says, it’s no different: “We ended up relaxed, we did it at home, we made sweat pants, we made elastic waists. If we are going to look forward boldly, we may need a sharper attitude toward dressing. “
Away from the fashion leaders, the strong shoulder in 2020 is down a bit. Lizzie Edwards, a style consultant and author of Look Like the Leader You Are, says her clients, typically 40-year-old professional women, feel “overdressed” at Zoom in a jacket they would wear to the office. A softer, neckless shape is a compromise. “In the 1980s, the power suit was about women being a bit masculine,” he says. “I don’t think it’s like that now.” Libby Page, Net-a-Porter’s Senior Market Editor, says strong shoulders in casual forms are a commitment customers are buying now: “We have seen an increase in cotton, jersey and knit shoulder pads, providing the perfect combination of a statement with comfort “.
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