Buying a new article of clothing comes with a whole process of making it your own. I’m not even talking about accessorizing: which will of course come, in time. I mean the bond you form with your new piece as you make it truly yours. First you bring your new find home, unpack it from its shopping bag, unwrap it from the tissue paper. You head over to your closet, praying there’s a hanger and a millimeter of space for you to hang it. But it does not all end here. One day, the proper mood will strike you, and you’ll decide that is the day you will be wearing your new piece. You’ll find your scissors and carefully snip away the price tag, the little baggie of extra buttons, the two hanger ribbons, and the shoulder pads. Once this clutter is removed, this garment is 100% yours: no going back.
Wait, back up there a second! … Shoulder pads?
Growing up, I used to sit on my mother’s bed and watch her get ready. A big part of her dressing routine was cutting shoulder pads out of her new shirts. (Hey, it was the early 90s, and they weren’t even okay then.) It took me years to even make the connection that shoulder pads were a potential fashion statement. I saw them as another annoyance that had to be dealt with before you got to show off your awesome new outfit. As I grew older, I learned about the inevitable visceral reaction that happens when you mention shoulder pads to someone.
And now, two decades past the trend, I’m a proud owner of a blouse with shoulder pads. How did this happen?!
On my last thrift shopping adventure in Housing Works, I stumbled across this amazing gold blouse. It is 100% pure silk, luxurious to the touch, and looks as though it’s pulled from a millionaire’s closet. And did I mention it’s Dior?
I was so excited to see this vintage blouse on the racks for $75. I couldn’t quite commit to the still-steep price tag, and I was glad I skipped it over. I returned a week later to find that it had gone on sale for only $50. I snatched it up, happily boasting my purchase to the sales staff. I own vintage Dior? It’s like I’m Natalie Portman and every day is my Oscars.
When I got it home, I saw that my new blouse came with the same kind of shoulder pads my mom’s used to have. Not permanent structural features, but the cut-away-able, chicken cutlets affixed to the collar. Normally, I would be offended that a designer was trying to bring back a terrible trend. But I reminded myself it’s vintage and I’m excited to rock it. What do you think of my find?