With spring and summer on the clock, lighter weight suits and jackets in more casual forms comes into foreplay with the desire for a less structured feel. Integral to this is the the soft shoulder – a lightly padded shoulder construction, giving a softer, more casual silhouette to a tailored jacket. Soft shoulders have little padding and follow the contour of the individual’s shoulder to accentuate the wearer’s natural features.
Traditionally favoured by Europeans, particularly Italian tailors, and further afield with American tailors, the soft shoulder is becoming more popular, especially among younger customers.
Traditionally there would a built up shoulder, with heavy roping to give a larger sleeve head that extends upward at the shoulder seam. This type of shoulder has thicker internal padding and a thicker sleeve head, resulting in a more pronounced sleeve head roll. A soft shoulder is the opposite of this.
In general, our business suit customers tend to opt for a more structured shoulder choice, with padding to hold the shape of the fabric and create a stronger silhouette. The soft shoulder option is more commonly selected for casual wear – in sports jackets and blazers for example – with the natural sleeve head roll, less structure and less padding all combining to create a more relaxed overall look.
Individuals with broad shoulders or square shoulder are generally well suited to a soft shoulder construction, as they have less need to create added structure in this area. On the other hand, those with sloping and less defined shoulders benefit from the structure that the prouder sitting, more padded, roped shoulder can provide. This is where the expert advice and guidance of your tailor comes in.