Fendi Cropped Collarless Jacket, $1, 180
Two weeks ago on Gossip Girl, Lily Bass, Serena's oft-espoused mother, wore a black cocoon-shaped Fendi dress, and I remember thinking that the shape made her look old and dated (even though I knew that the Fendi dress was au courant). Seeing these two cocoon jackets recently on Net-a-porter confirms that instinctual suspicion: they remind me of big-haired, shoulder-pad-wearing Eighties women a la Melanie Griffin in Working Girl. And if I must tell the fashion truth, they also remind me of a certain vice-presidential candidate I recently bashed.
The Eighties were the most miserable fashion era to date. And while other decades and times somehow used exaggerated shapes as intriguing aesthetic concepts (the hoop-skirt as erotic fetish, the bell-bottom as political counterculture), the Eighties used enlarged shapes as garish examples of hyperbole and caricature. The big shoulder was synonymous with newfound feminine power, but it had to be large and masculine to be noticed.
While these looks certainly tone down the football shoulders of yesterday, I still cringe at the overt reminders of a time when women's presence in the boardroom required literal as well as figurative enlargement. Today, women can be feminine without compromising their toughness or others' respect. Thankfully, we don't have to look like a football to kick one.