Sleevehead: The rise and fall of natural shoulders                                                          

The rise and fall of natural shoulders

    Certain men look good in nearly every imaginable cut/silhouette and shoulder treatment. These are rare men endowed with naturally fit and lean frames and half-square shoulders. Can the same be said for specific shoulder treatments (i.e. soft v. structured shoulders)? Is one shoulder the best-looking one for all men? Some declare the natural shoulder look to be the summum bonum of shoulder treatments. Every man, these advocates claim, will look good in a jacket with a natural, unpadded shoulder.

I think the reality is far more nuanced than this, as I lay out in this AskAndy thread on Neapolitan suits. Counterpoint: Examine this picture (courtesy of the The Sartorialist blog). Natural shoulders (on jackets) are indeed pleasing to the eye if your shoulders, anatomically speaking, are naturally even, fairly broad and squared off. If you miss one or more of those elements, the look may not be as pleasing as it could be (examine the left shoulder of the man in the picture above). Here's another example at a recent holiday party in NYC and an excellent AskAndy thread comparing natural v. padded shoulders.

In short, a soft, unpadded, natural shoulder is not a universal look that is advantageous to every man. How does one determine one's own suitability for the natural shoulder? Stay tuned as I'm tackling this very problem more systematically in my forthcoming book project.

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