Last Updated on 11th May 2009


Given the speed with which Balmania has swept the fashion world, it was only a matter of time before we began to see exaggerated shoulder pads on the high street. And now we’ve received an exclusive tip that the self-proclaimed arbiter of male style, Kanye West, has jumped on the trend for his latest movie with a specially commissioned shoulder-pad-tastic jacket by womenswear designer and stylist Romero Bryan.

Bryan has already adopted the Balmain style shoulder in his own clothing, adapting t-shirts for nights out:

“Giving myself wider shoulders makes my waistline appear a lot smaller giving me the perfect V shape body,” says Bryan. “If I ruled the fashion world there would definitely be more shoulder pads!”

The truth is that menswear designers and tailors have a better understanding of the power of the shoulder pad than anyone.

Men’s suiting relies on a strong shoulder which can create all sorts of subtle illusions with the male form. The tailors of Saville Row have always known what women are only just rediscovering – a strong shoulder makes everything else look slimmer and more defined. Different tailors favour different shoulder styles – boxy classics look best with double breasted suits while a rounded shoulder creates softness.

Ozwald Boateng caused a menswear revolution with his modern take on narrow shoulders and colourful fabrics. Jill Sander’s latest menswear range used sharp tailoring with rounded shoulders and high waists to create a cartoon-esque hourglass shape, while Alexander McQueen used bulk to create a menacing presence on the catwalk.

Never the less, the shoulder pad in menswear has, generally, stayed where it was always assumed it belonged – on tailored jackets. But with Balmain making the strong shoulder acceptable on the high street, it may only be a matter of time before menswear gives us its own twist on the trend and begins installing shoulder pads on men’s t-shirts and knitwear. Will it look any good?

Well, it’s a look that may take a while to get used to , but with its macho overtones its more likely to be a hit than many of the other trends that have come and gone over the past few years.

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