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Every year we see the occasional trends that come in with a bang and take over street-style and our Instagram feeds. While some have a fleeting moment of fame, a few have the rare ability to become a wardrobe staple. The shoulder-padded muscle tee is one of them. Not exactly a new trend; padded shoulders are considered a vintage style as they were extremely popular in the ’80s. A favourite of Princess Diana, we saw this exaggerated shoulder style in dresses and blazers. However, this year the style has found a way of infiltrating itself into our casual range with muscle tees and vests.

This upgrade to our casual white or black t-shirt is the ideal transitional piece we need from our comfy sweats to something chicer. Shoulder pads add structure to an outfit, making for a powerful silhouette. Add it to a basic vest for a highly sophisticated look, one that’s relaxed yet extremely fashion-forward. As a result of its versatile trait, it’s become a wardrobe winner that can easily elevate almost any look. From smart pants to silk skirts to basic denim pieces, the shoulder-padded muscle tee is pairable with almost everything. We turned to some of our favourite fashion influencers on how to style this powerful yet fun staple in a myriad of statement-making ways.

Scroll ahead to check out 5 ways influencers have styled the shoulder-padded top:

1) With Jeans

We all need a top in our closet that we can team with a pair of jeans and blindly trust that it will look good no matter what. Classic white or black t-shirts and shirts always do the trick, however, a shoulder-padded vest is a snazzy upgrade to spruce things up. Sarah Tankel Ellis and Philippa Ross twin in dark grey jeans and some funky sneakers along with their shoulder-padded muscle tee. Tucked into high-waisted denim, it makes for a perfect casual look with an edge. We love the Louis Vuitton backpack that maintains the sporty aesthetic with a touch of glam! Moreover, like Sarah and Philippa, you can opt for a striped design or grey colour if you intend to wear your top for casual outings.

2) With Midi-Skirts

Did you ever think a shoulder-padded muscle tee could look so glamorous? Maria Eugenia Ordonez shows us how it’s done. She opts for a striking orange vest that complements the white colour of her denim midi-skirt. The broad shoulders of the vest add definition to the outfit, enhancing the Hollywood-vintage glam she’s going for. In the same colour palette of mandarin, Maria accessorizes the look with a printed, silky neckerchief scarf and a sun hat. Further adding to the Hollywood vibe are the winged eyeliner and bold lips with minimal gold accessories. The result? A hella glamorous outfit with a super-comfortable muscle tee!

3) With Formal Pants

Business meeting or a fancy meal out, your shoulder-padded vest is an option to consider for either of the occasions. If a plain top is too casual, a ribbed texture can add a sumptuous touch. Jazy Goh is giving us autumn vibes in her rose-tinted, turtle-neck, knit vest which is neatly tucked into a pair of wide-legged, formal white pants. The accents of gold via her Christian Dior sling bag, chunky bangle and ring give the attire a primp finish. Moreover, if you want to go for a semi-casual look, a cropped version of the vest would look smart with formal pants as well. Jazy shows us how to style the shoulder-pad top for cooler days to come with an aesthetically pleasing colour palette.

4) A Monochromatic Look

If you are not too sure about the shoulder-padded top, checking out Henar Vicente‘s fashion game will make you want to invest in one right away. This fashionista shows us plenty of ways of making this style runway-worthy. Firstly, the shoulder-padded top comes in a variety of styles—from different necklines to a silky material, you’ve got a plethora of options. This allows you to pick the one you will end up utilising the most. Going for the timeless all-white look, Henar is wearing a more formal style of the shoulder-pad top along with another popular trend—the pleated skirt. She makes both the trends look seamless together by streamlining the colour palette. The white Valentino clutch and rock stud leather pumps effortlessly blend into the monochromatic look while adding to the sophisticated and luxurious appeal.

5) With Track Pants

Shoulder-padded muscle tees are extremely comfortable and that’s what made them a popular fashion choice. All the more in the next phase of the new normal if you’re someone who isn’t ready to fully doll up, but still want to look put together. We love a good pair of track pants that keep us cosy, and the athleisure trend allows us to wear this beyond the four walls of our home and not look shabby. Former Miss England, Hammasa makes this work by pairing a basic, white, shoulder-padded muscle tee with her white track pants. It is the effortlessly chic look we always aim to go for. While both outfit pieces might be basic, the shoulder-pads do the trick of adding more structure. We love the high-pony fastened with a cute bow and touch of black via the sneakers and Chanel jumbo flap bag. A super cute look for when you are out for errands whilst being on-trend!

What is your favourite way to wear a shoulder-padded top? Let us know in the comments below.

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