04/23/2012 10:44 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

The 80s Fashion Staple That Will Take Inches Off Your Waist, Made Modern (PHOTOS)

Shoulder pads are a divisive topic. People either immediately picture Melanie Griffith's character in "Working Girl" with pads almost up to her ears, or they envision a football player. It's true that shoulder pads were a wardrobe staple in the '80s, synonymous with pantyhose-wearing, sneaker-shod career women. Need we say more?But let's also remember the origin of shoulder pads: In the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli used them in her designs and in the '50s and '60s they appeared in the work of designers like Biba and Ossie Clark.

Of course, the glamorous look was common on the soap opera stars of "Dynasty" and "Dallas". Of course, it was the '80s and bigger was better, including the hair and the shoulders. The idea behind the trend was to widen your shoulders which creates an upside down triangle effect for a -- you guessed it! -- tiny waist.

But guess what? The trick really works.

Strong shoulders started coming back in 2001, thanks to Tom Ford. Then at the helm of Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, Ford was known for making women look (and feel) both powerful and sexy. Cropped jackets with bold shoulders and slimming pencil skirts re-emerged. Balmain also banked on the trend; since relaunching in 2007 the house has become known for seriously strong shoulders. Since then stylists have been sticking the pads in everything to emphasize the silhouette.

We are starting to see the trend pop up on celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Blake Lively. Are you ready to try the trend? Here, five tips on how to wear shoulder pads, and 25 celebrities working a bold shoulder for inspiration.


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