When Did That Peaked Shoulder Trend Start?

Two years ago, in its Fall 2009 collection, Balmain made waves with jackets like this.

via net-a-porter. No longer available, but was on sale for $9,000, marked down from $13,000

Celebrities peaked their shoulders. Fashion media noticed.

via WhoWhatWear

I’ve always wondered how long it takes for The New to become The Available. Now I know. On Corporette, yesterday, lo and behold. Stripped of fur and chains, executed in a preppy red check, just hinting at peaks. Suitable for work. And that’s how a single piece wins its trend medal, evolving on beyond, barely recognizable.

Alice and Olivia via net-a-porter. $395

I desired the first Balmain jacket, I like the Dorothy in Kansas version above. That’s the engine of fashion. Sort of like the infamous Julia Roberts’ speech in Notting Hill, just a girl, standing in front of a piece of clothing, telling it “I love you.”

One more look. The peaks don’t even show up on the hanger. But we’ll know they’re there.

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  • I love this jacket – love, love, love! It will go with everything. I may need to have it.

  • The Balmain jacket has a Chanel-esque look to it…

    BTW my daughter’s BFF has recently moved to london and has landed a great job at Net-A-Porter…I wonder if they have a friends and family discount !

    Julia Roberts is charming in Notting Hill….as is dear Hugh…but truly, Rhys Ifan steals the show.

  • Had to chuckle at the Notting Hill reference, too perfect!

  • I tried on a Nanette Lepore jacket the other day with puffy/peaked shoulders. If I weren’t already so broad in the shoulders, I would’ve bought it on the spot.

  • I will be sitting this one out.

  • The “new” trend that amuses me now is the midi-skirt that several designers were showing for fall 2011. So very recently, the midi lingered in fashion hell, reviled for its “unflattering” breaking point mid-calf and its “dowdy” appearance. Suddenly it’s “fresh.” Go figure.

  • The strong shoulders are definitely a trend with some staying power. Instead of just showing up on the runway, they are diffusing themselves into mainstream ready to wear. I wonder if years from now they will prove themselves powerful enough to help define the style of the period. We shall see if they survive that test. I feel confident skinny jeans will definitely define this period.

    However, I don’t think you can write a blog post after the 2011 Grammy’s and not mention the Gaga: http://tinyurl.com/4a2h5vv. Just saying, it needs to be mentioned.

    7:34 pm
    Lisa said...


  • Just don’t let them bring back the huge football shoulder pads from my high school and college years!!!!

  • That is one saucy little jacket. How long before it (in cheapo fabric) shows up at H&M? So best buy that one this very minute and wear it to death!

  • It really is amazing to see this coming back, and some of it in a very nicely-done way. We’re with the Hostess, the Balmain does have a Chanel-esque feeling.

    Sending you a smile,

  • Oh how I wished I had a reason and he wherewithal to acquire that Balmain in 2009. But the new number is pretty saucy too.

  • The Balmain is definitely not designed for the likes of me. The Net-a-Porter…perhaps. I absolutely adore the fabric and the cut, but pronounced shoulders generally don’t work on me.

  • It’s really returning. Oh my goodness – That jacket is darling with just a hint of the “shoulders”. I like that. Have a great day!! xoxo

  • And then there is Lady Gaga, who built those shoulders into her “skin” for her Grammy performance . . .

  • i’ve always been a little self conscious about my shoulders. i think the years of playing tennis in my teens gave me broader shoulders than most girls with my frame. hence i’ve always steered clear of shoulder pads or any sort of shoulder accoutrements. if i had more sloping shoulders though, i’d probably be all over at least one Balmain-esque blazer!

    have you a peaked shoulder blazer? :)

  • As a women of Swedish decent, I am tall and broad shouldered (just like my mom). Yup, I’m built like a Valkyrie – tall, long-legged and broad as a quarterback.
    Taking out shoulder padding has been a part of my life – oh the 80s. Possible good news for me is that there is that off-the-rack will start making jackets again that fit after the pads are taken out.

    A girl can only dream.

  • Hm. I think they make one look a bit indecisive, as if one’s shoulders were in a permanent shrug. But then again, I could be wrong about that.

  • Notting Hill… *swoon*…

    Wait, were we discussing jackets? Hugh Grant distracts me every time.

  • I have tiny, narrow shoulders – I wonder if those peaked things would look any less ridiculous on me than the giant shoulder pads of the 80s.

    No, I didn’t think so, either.

  • I pass this trend. I don´t want anything extra on the shoulder line.

  • I do have a great appreciation for a strong shoulder. I feel it helps to give my silhouette a proper balance. I am in my 40s and I for one never fully gave up shoulder pads. I have a collection of them, particularly for pairing with knits – from light little pads for tees and polos to a more beefy set for heavier sweaters. I welcome the addition of shoulder pads to garments and more options for strong shoulders in ready to wear…less work for me.

    The Balmain is amusing. Quite extreme,über trendy. Not for me personally. The alice&olivia is just super cute. Insanely versatile and would be absolutely flattering. Sooo for me.

    Love the Notting Hill reference, I’ve had that feeling and fully relate.

  • Cute jacket! And an interesting analysis of the way fashion adapts from runway to real life.

  • Now I would put the Alice and Olivia with a pair of great jeans- totaly un-Dorothy!

    Art by Karena

  • Sorry, I’m just not falling for the peaked shoulder thing. I kind of like it, in theory, but at 4ft.11in. I’m pretty sure It’s a no no for me.
    Which begs the questions; can a petite woman wear extreem fashion? Is extreem fashion ever wasp?
    Love your blog!

  • Thankfully I think peaked is going away, leaving a bit of padding in it’s place. Funny I am working on a jacket post too–must be something in the air. Love your red checked pick, so wearable and great!

    xo Mary Jo

  • I don’t think so. Not for me. But you would look really cute in both of those jackets.

  • Patsy – I can see that. Do report back if you proceed:).

    hostess – OMG! A friends and family discount would be wonderful.

    Laura – Well thank you:).

    Deja – I’m broad in the shoulders too, but the look appeals anyway. I guess it would depend on what the rest of the jacket did below the shoulders.

    Someone – :)

    Charlotte – Oh I know. Everything not in fashion is abominable, until it isn’t.

  • Ms. Bunny – I completely agree with you that skinny jeans defines this period. And I wonder what comes next. In a way I am expecting bare arms, floaty legs. And foof around the neck, if you see what’s been on the runway lately.

    Mama Henley – Oh I know! Those jackets. They were like wearing refrigerator boxes.

    Duchesse – Saucy. Exactly.

    TPP – It’s definitely not a straight retread. There’s some sophistication to it.

    Mardel – And when the young rocker types wore those leather peaked jacket with jeans….It was tempting.

  • Those shoulders don’t really look peaked to me, they sort of look like a regular set in sleeve to me.

  • Marieanne – My guess is that you are not alone.

    Preppy 101 – We should have known:).

    Miss Cavendish – Yes. You are right. I didn’t even think of that.

    Miss Sophie – I don’t have one but I’ve coveted them ever since they first arrived on the scene, this go-round.

    Alex – I wonder if these little peaks have the same effect as shoulder pads. Oh the 80s:).

  • Rubi – ;).

    Mint Juleps – Then you must love Love Actually. I sure do.

    Jan – Yeah, I’m pretty sure the full peak is only for the young. Or the very tall:).

    mette – There you go.

    Sylvie – Then this is your year to collect a new supply of jackets with shoulders! I love it when trends work for me.

  • Mater – Somehow I think you’d look great in this jacket. And thank you.

    Karena – I agree. I’d love to see it with jeans, or gray trousers.

    Yancey – Thank you! Petite women can certainly wear extreme fashion. But extreme fashion is only apt to show up on High WASPs if a Grande Dame wears it to a nighttime event, or an Artsy Cousin mixes one piece with her global collection.

    mary jo – I like the narrowness of the peaks, so I hope the padding doesn’t spread out like the 80s.

    Susan – Thank you:). Too bad they aren’t what I need to wear right now.

  • Not to put too fine a point on it, I think I will pass on the sharp-shouldered jacket. There are other ways to be considered a sharped dressed gal.;-)xo

  • Er, I think it was Gaga who started the whole peaked shoulder thing, even before the Grammys. I remember the strong shoulders from my childhood, and how it took forever to die out. And now it’s back. :-)

    Currently waiting for the 90s to come back..

  • Love the jacket, but I have to say big shoulders, with or without peaks, conjure up images of Joan Collins in “Dynasty” and the 80s.

  • Absolutely nothing pretty about peaked shoulders. This is design bred of boredom. Or constipation. Softer lines, please! We are not robots (not yet), we are flesh and blood!