The Evolution Of Fashion Shoulder Pads

By Kellar Ellsworth
Grace Jones rocked one of most iconic uses of 80s shoulder pads. crfashionbook

Perhaps more than any decade the 1980s defined strange fads, headlined by the Koosh ball, Cabbage Patch Kids, and of course, shoulder pads. While the origins of the scapular raising fashion statements began in the 1930s, they really rose to prominence during the era of excess. Shoulder pads represented equality and a women’s desire to move beyond the confines of “homemaker.”

Women entering male-dominated workplaces looked to fit in amongst their male counterparts, who sported suits the size of circus tents. At a time when a woman's desire to work still received criticism, “power suits” helped them fit in. Somehow that understandable desire for acceptance at work also made its way into Hollywood. Daytime soaps and sitcoms stars unveiled their linebacker-sized shoulders and the fad was on. This is the evolution of shoulder pads.