On Shoulder Pads (& Feminism)

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Shoulder pads. What many people see as an 80s trend (and a rapidly returning one in recent years) can indeed be much much more. A symbol of progression in women’s rights, perhaps? Why, yes. And to examine why that is, we need to look at the western beauty norms that I’m sure everybody is familiar with.

Think about how everybody from the media to our mothers are constantly telling women to be smaller, slimmer, size zero, to make this “vanish” or make that “disappear.” These sentiments have one big thing in common: the message to women that it is desirable to take up as little space as possible.

Though many people argue that the trend of shoulder pads simply exists to create a smaller waistline (which it also does), it is hard to ignore the much more noticeable effect of wearing them, which is obviously the broad-shouldered look that it creates on a woman. And this was a large step for modern fashion in the 80s as well as today with its return, simply because it allows women to fashionably take up more space.

This trend says to women, “do not disappear. Take up the space you deserve. Not just as a woman, but as a person- as no person should be told that invisibility is preferable.”

Shoulder pads are make a powerful statement with a retro-vintage look. Whether it be a blazer with a cute dress, a blouse-and-skirt outfit, or the full pantsuit, anybody can rock them! I can personally say that they always have me feeling like a stylish and badass lady.

This post was written by Jamie Kahn.  She loves mustard yellow, vintage clothing and creative writing. You can follow her on Twitter @jams_pixie, as well as seeing her photo shoot pictures with us on The Attic’s Instagram: @atticclothes.

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