Women accustomed to wearing daytime suits with thick shoulder pads no longer want that wimpy, droop-shouldered look when they go home at night.
Women's lingerie may be fairly impervious to changes in fashion, Los Angeles lingerie designer Lore Caulfield says, but now for the first time, lingerie with shoulder pads is really "clicking strong."
Robes and Kimonos
Caulfield says she now puts shoulder pads in about half of her feminine, lace-edged line of silk and cotton robes and kimonos. She believes that strong shoulders "enhance the female form" by making the waist and hips look smaller.
But shoulder pads are also a power look, and Caulfield says there's no denying that women feel "stripped" of their strength without them, even after hours.
"Speaking personally, it's like I'm not totally dressed, like something is missing without shoulder pads," she says. "They become an extension of yourself."
For that reason, Caulfield also designed a silk camisole with built-in shoulder pads to wear under clothing made without them.
The designer is someone who knows a lot about power. Eleven years ago she not only began building her own lingerie business after a career in the film industry, but she also founded Women in Business, a women's networking organization.
"You know what it was like in '73 and '74," she recalls. "We were all coming alive." While Caulfield was instructing other women about coming into their own, she says: "I also taught myself."
Is there a contradiction between striving for equality in the work force and producing utterly sensuous undergarments?
"I don't think they're contradictory," Caulfield says. "I think they're symbiotic. Previously a woman could expect to receive a nice nightgown on Mother's Day. Now she has the wherewithal to buy one for herself.
"That we wanted economic parity didn't mean that we wanted to repress our sexuality," the designer adds. "Just the opposite. We wanted to be whole human beings, and we wanted money, sex and power. All the good stuff."
Aside from changes in attitude, women's taste in lingerie has also changed over the last decade, says Caulfield, dressed in a black business suit with an electric-blue silk camisole peeking out. Today women want to wear high-cut bikini underpants, they're no longer interested in wearing polyester next to their skin, and "after ten years, women finally have figured out what a camisole should be used for." (It's to be worn under a suit in place of a blouse.)
Lore Lingerie prices start at $24 for silk bikinis, $65 for camisoles, $225 for nightgowns and $350 for robes. The collection is available at Elizabeth Arden.