Entertainment Style Why the bizarre jacket-over-the-shoulders trend needs to die

Why the bizarre jacket-over-the-shoulders trend needs to die

jacket over the shoulders
Not only is this trend wildly overdone, it's entirely impractical. Photo: Getty
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Trends come and go on the relentless wheel of fashion, and sometimes things you were sure had gone for good will somehow pop again, like Pauline Hanson.

There are fashion items so visually offensive you are sure they have been buried safely, never to return, but then some cool 20-year-old will discover they existed and bring them back with aplomb, like an 80s nylon tracksuit jacket or a pair of stonewashed jeans and purple roll neck.

I’ve learned not to dismiss any one item forever, no matter how ugly, because someone with real, individual style can make anything work; that’s why kids who buy everything from op shops and markets can look so much more interesting than a heiress dressed in head-to-toe labels.

We now live in a climate that enables us to chronicle our every sartorial moment: our phone will provide endless selfies, there are the street style paparazzi to capture us and media wall opportunities for people who are not stars to be photographed by people who are not media.

Personal styling is paramount, and it goes far beyond what clothing you are actually wearing. Now, more than ever, it’s how you are wearing it.

anna wintour
US Vogue editor Anna Wintour pioneered the trend, but she can afford to lose the use of her arms thanks to an army of assistants. Photo: Getty

But if there is one trend, or should I say, irritating affectation that has sprung up and will not seem to die, it is the jacket worn over the shoulders.

Nothing apparently says “I’m somebody” more than a jacket or coat tossed carefully over the shoulders. More to the point, when worn at fashion shows, it was supposed to signal, “I’m an editor”, maybe because Anna Wintour occasionally did it.

Anna did it for a number of reasons, mostly because she never carries a handbag: she has a driver, and a bodyguard so the use of her arms to open doors has always been optional.

The “nonchalant coat” effect was soon adopted by hordes of fashionistas, because it made them appear purposeful and important even if they didn’t have an actual show invitation, and it does look stylish in a photo.

jessica hart streetstyle
Australian model Jessica Hart wears her denim jacket as a cape. Photo: Getty

It’s odd that it became equated with power because I always think of a jacket over the shoulders in a softer, romantic sense, the idea of a woman feeling the chill in an evening gown and letting a man lend her his jacket or coat.

One of my favourite fashion shoots ever was a story that appeared in British Vogue about 20 years ago, featuring a model walking home at dawn along the banks of the Thames, in 1950s style evening gowns, a man’s tweed draped over her shoulders.

You wondered what had happened that evening, it hinted subtly at the potential of what was to come, the magic of a sunrise with a new beau.

The current obsession with wearing a denim jacket over your shoulders and a pair of Celine sunglasses doesn’t have quite the same charm.

Anyway, if you really don’t want put your arms into your sleeves on your way to a fashion show, I’ve got a better idea. Get a cape.

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