shoulder pads

Shoulder Pads

80's Accessories Jan 02, 2014

During the 1980’s shoulder pads became very popular, and gave the wearer the bigger and broader looking shoulders. Pop stars, movie stars and soap stars helped this iconic accessory become a worldwide phenomenon, so much so shoulder pads were usually sewn into garments, and there would be little or no need to buy them separately.
Both men and women wore shoulder pads, and they were usually worn in jackets, suits, coats, t-shirts shirts and blouses, to name but a few. Shoulder pads were traditionally sewn into the interior of the garment, just above the shoulder, in-between the outer layer of fabric and the lining. This meant there was no need for the wearer to purchase shoulder pads, unless the garments they purchased didn’t come with any.
When They Originated
Shoulder pads did not originate in the 1980’s as some people would think, they were originally created in the early 1940’s, and were used in female evening wear. For a while, shoulder pads lost their way in the fashion world a little, as more popular designs and accessories hit the market. But, in the 1980’s they came back, and they came back with a vengeance, which meant almost everyone started to wear these unique additions to the world of fashion, and look and feel more confident.

It was during this decade that British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher was seen to be sporting a pair of this very fashionable accessory. The fact that such a high-powered woman had adopted shoulder pads began to ricochet around the world, so much so that other women decided to follow suit. It was then popular for those who were very career-minded to wear shoulder pads whenever they were in the office.

shoulder pads

The 1980’s television series ‘Dynasty’ also popularized shoulder pads, as almost every male and female character could be seen wearing some. But it was the women in this series who made more of an impact, as they were determined, successful women who wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.
If you wanted status in the 1980’s, you wore shoulder pads, and the desired perception would be thrust upon you. But, there were more ways to gain even better status, and that was by wearing even bigger shoulder pads than ever before. The bigger your shoulder pads were, the more successful you were thought to be, and soon shoulder pads everywhere started to grow and grow. What’s more is shoulder pads started to appear in just about every item of clothing, so those who had to go out and buy some, no longer needed to, unless they wanted to add another pair. By the end of the 1980’s, it was common for people to add another pair, so much so that some manufacturers added Velcro to theirs so the wearer could have as many shoulder pads as they wanted.
Although shoulder pads were hugely successful during the 1980’s, in the early 90’s they became almost extinct as other fashions took over. The great news is that shoulder pads are back, and set to be hugely popular once more.


  1. Tanya says:

    I love your blog because I’ve always love all the fashion of vintage, I love to watch an old show from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s too. The vintage are beautiful and chic at the same time. thanks for your lovely comment on my blog:).

  2. admin says:

    Yes I agree Tanya, Vintage fashion is awesome, and yes just not the 80s but other decades as well (though we still think the 80s is best)! Thanks again for your kind words 🙂

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