Cold shoulder

Let me tell you about my wonky shoulders.

After popping out a mini-me, I had a bit of … let’s call it ‘posture trouble’, and went to see a physiotherapist. The words ‘did you realise how lopsided you are?’ did not fall on welcoming ears. No, I did not realise how lopsided I was – doesn’t everyone have one bra strap far tighter than the other?

Any road, it turned out that I have some sort of extra rib (!) scenario going on, so one shoulder is indeed, quite a bit higher than the other, making strappy dresses and bikini tops problematic (the long term associated health issues are much further down my list of concerns).

So on the one hand, the current trend for shoulder styling is hugely welcome. Bold, puffy or sparkly shoulders disguise my deformity and add lashings of glamour and attitude. I bought this gorgeous number from Joy, for instance. In that baby, the sloping shoulders are well and truly concealed and teamed with thigh-length boots it is an unadulterated killer.

I’m also addicted to ‘everyday’ studs and sequins and strongly advise anyone who wants to glam-up their casual wardrobe to invest in a subtle splash of silver or glimmer on the shoulders of their jumpers or cardigans. ‘Tis a total winner.

My passion for shoulder styling ends, however, with shoulder pads. The clue is all in the name. The word ‘pad’ is most commonly associated with ‘sanitary’, ‘incontinence’ and ‘breast’ – and let’s face it, the shoulder pad is not a million miles away. It slips out at inconvenient moments, it never looks/feels attractive upon closer examination and it does not make you feel sexy. Powerful, manly and striking, yes – a sensational minx, non.

Broad shoulders start at Demi Moore in St. Elmo’s Fire and stop at Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl. Subtle, in-built pads on a well-fitted, cropped jacket I can deal with – a bit of definition and a clean line won’t do anybody any harm.

But huge shoulder pads in jumpers and, wait for it, bodies (I know this to be true – I saw it with my own peepers in Topshop at the weekend) are unshapely, silly and a little bit ugly. Plus, they do absolutely nothing to detract from my wonkiness.

If you want to sport a shoulder-tastic look without a pad in sight, may I suggest putting all the emphasis on the top half of your body (puffy/decorated shoulders with huge necklaces and a bold belt) with an understated bottom half (high-waisted, pencil skirt or trousers with neutral pumps, for example). Knock-out.

If I can’t stop your unhealthy addiction to the pad in its tracks, you should know that Topshop are selling them separately, so you can mix and match with any outfit. I’d rather die, but each to their own.

Good shoulders:

Written by Johanna Payton