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Shoulders - padded or not?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know if is largely dependant upon the body being suited but I have heard various recommendations and am not sure who to believe. I have an "athletic build" with broader but sloping shoulders and a much narrower waist. I have had tailors whose opinions I respect encourage me in opposite directions on this matter. The arguments are for padded shoulders to "create a crisper line, increase appearance of height" while others seem to be vehemently opposed to padding and feel that a padded shoulder is a shortcut. The tailor that I use encouraging the squared shoulder is, in my opinion, one of the best - top notch quality, details, etc. He is willing to cut the suit softer but has strongly recommended otherwise. I tend to prefer the softer look but I can appreciate the argument and logic for the more squared / padded approach. I know it is largely a personal preference but as this seems to be a good forum of informed consumers I wanted to hear the opinions / experiences of others.
post #2 of 8
I don't know what the fuss is about shoulder pads, either, but a good limit is not using them to look more important than you are. You aren't a statue, so your shoulders shouldn't look like they're chiseled out of granite. Softer angles would suit people better. I only have thin shoulder pads sewn into my jackets. They make the jacket feel softer around my neck, and that adds to comfort. I feel my shoulder movement's restricted when wearing a jacket with huge shoulder pads.
post #3 of 8
do a search on the word "wapo" and you'll find a short discussion on this from a couple of months ago. all the regulars on this forum know how much i detest shoulder pads, but i have to admit it is a matter of personal preference. i'm just glad to hear that others at least question the necessity of these things. for some of the guys here who wear brioni and canali the idea that shoulder pads look bad can really burst their bubble and they won't even consider it. if you're not sure about which style you prefer go to a store and if you can't find a suit without padding, try looking at the sportcoats instead. i recently tried on a corneliani sportcoat that was to my liking, and a baldessarini suit as well. to me shoulder pads are in bad taste, like wearing a toupee or having plastic surgery. however, you should decide for yourself. suits, like everything else, will eventually evolve. i'm hoping the first revolution will be a generation of men who will not accept shoulder padding. eventually the buttons on the sleeves will go too. they are useless to us now. viva la revolucion.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
I know if is largely dependant upon the body being suited but I have heard various recommendations and am not sure who to believe.  I have an "athletic build" with broader but sloping shoulders and a much narrower waist.  I have had tailors whose opinions I respect encourage me in opposite directions on this matter.  The arguments are for padded shoulders to "create a crisper line, increase appearance of height" while others seem to be vehemently opposed to padding and feel that a padded shoulder is a shortcut.  The tailor that I use encouraging the squared shoulder is, in my opinion, one of the best - top notch quality, details, etc.  He is willing to cut the suit softer but has strongly recommended otherwise.  I tend to prefer the softer look but I can appreciate the argument and logic for the more squared / padded approach.  I know it is largely a personal preference but as this seems to be a good forum of informed consumers I wanted to hear the opinions / experiences of others.
My two cents on shoulder pads -- I also have an athletic build and am short, too.  Unfortunately, I don't wear suits very much, but the padding on all my suits, off-the-rack, MTM, and custom is a little more than I think I need.  I can get away with it when wearing the suit alone, but where it really becomes apparent is wearing an overcoat over a suit.  My shoulders become so pronounced, I ending up looking like I have a square torso.  Whatever the supposed aesthetic benefits of pronounced shoulders, I assure you that the square torso look doesn't work for me. One thing I've noticed is that padded shoulders on suits tend to make my upper body look smaller than it is.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but I think a more natural sloping shoulder line shows a muscular shape better.  Shoulder pads straighten out my shoulder line and give the impression of a longer, slimmer, less developed torso than what I actually have.  I'm interested in good proportions more than anything, so my next purchase will probably have shoulder pads, but I'll ask them to tone them down just a bit. Regards, dan
post #5 of 8
Most of the time, I'll gravitate towards natural-shoulder suits/jackets, since my shoulders are pretty well-defined. However, I like Brioni's shoulder pads because they're pitched yet cut right at the shoulder, which adds a bit of height to my frame. Moreover, the pads used are pretty light (as are those used by those masters, the Neapolitans). Basically, the Brioni's a nice change of pace, and still exceedingly elegant. My problem with shoulder pads is with the heavier kind that extends beyond the deltoids: traditional Oxxford, Canali, mainline Zegna, Hart Schaffner Marx, what have you. Those styles, combined with my physique, make me look like a linebacker, and they feel heavier and more uncomfortable. I'm not even going to mention the '80s power suits' pads. Shoulder pads as a concept are not inherently evil, and even the best suitmakers use them. In a perfect world, perhaps they wouldn't be necessary ever. However, most guys need even a little bit of the support and positive sculpting they provide. Done right--and that means not making the pads as broad and heavy as the USS Nimitz--there's little wrong with them IMO.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
do a search on the word "wapo" and you'll find a short discussion on this from a couple of months ago. all the regulars on this forum know how much i detest shoulder pads, but i have to admit it is a matter of personal preference. i'm just glad to hear that others at least question the necessity of these things. for some of the guys here who wear brioni and canali the idea that shoulder pads look bad can really burst their bubble and they won't even consider it. if you're not sure about which style you prefer go to a store and if you can't find a suit without padding, try looking at the sportcoats instead. i recently tried on a corneliani sportcoat that was to my liking, and a baldessarini suit as well. to me shoulder pads are in bad taste, like wearing a toupee or having plastic surgery. however, you should decide for yourself. suits, like everything else, will eventually evolve. i'm hoping the first revolution will be a generation of men who will not accept shoulder padding. eventually the buttons on the sleeves will go too. they are useless to us now. viva la revolucion.
You of course realize, that there's not a suit on the planet that doesn't have shoulder padding of some sort.
post #7 of 8
The matter is not whether there are pads, but what kind of pads used. The jacket shoulders connect the collars to the sleeves, and padding shapes the shoulders. Padding shoulder be soft and flexible, but resilience enough to retain shape through the years. Unless of course it's a casual sweater-jacket, or a suede jacket, then there may not be any padding. As an experiment, find an old jacket that you no longer use, rip out the shoulder pads and see what happens.
post #8 of 8
i have several suits that don't have any padding whatsoever. they were made for me by a tailor because i requested them this way. before you make assertions you should check your facts. i suggest you call a tailor and ask him if a suit can be made without any padding of any kind. he will say, "yes." btw, part of the beauty of custom tailoring is that you are limited only by your imagination (and your wallet), what other people's suits are like does not matter. as far as rtw, i occasionaly find a suit in a store where i can neither see nor feel any padding. when a jacket is very lightly padded i can still feel it, so i'm confident that if i can't see or feel it, there must not be any. i'm not going to take the thing apart to find out.
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