Beauty & Hygiene Curiosity #1: Burda Big Shoulders

13 Jan

My Cabinet of Food Curiosities is getting a bit thin for new posts, so until I re-stock, I will be entertaining you with a few items from my Cabinet of Beauty & Hygiene Curiosities, a couple of which already snuck into my Curious Food #14 post. I will make an extremely lame tie-in to food with each one. Hopefully you will be so enchanted/dismayed by each Beauty & Hygiene Curiosity that you will forgive me.

The tie-in for this post: dinner wear. You want your outfit to be smart and stylish when you go out to dinner, so my advice is to avoid wearing the following.

I was looking through sewing patterns at a thrift store the other day for a 1940s-era house coat pattern, which I did not find, but I actually yelped out loud when I found this 1980s Burda blouse pattern.

1980s shoulders

I remember the 1980s as an era of Big Shoulders, but really! You could carry a couple of food trays to the table on those babies. Interestingly, BurdaStyle has just published the book Sewing Vintage Modern: Mastering  Iconic Looks From the 1920s to the 1980s.  If that blouse isn’t 1980s iconic, I don’t know what is.

Joan Crawford was the grande dame of Big Shoulders fashion and she wore them through the 1940s. Here she is in Mildred Pierce, looking intimidating even without the gun. Those big shoulders were makin’ her crazy!


Big shoulders have made an inexplicable fashion comeback in the last few years.  I refer to Lady Gaga again, with this get-up that takes Big Shoulders to another dimension. I kind of think she looks like she’s wearing her chair, but what do I know? You only have to glance in my closet for proof of my non-fashion-sense. I do applaud her and her designer’s pluck.

Lady Gaga shoulder-pads

If we are talking Big Shoulders, I cannot pass up the opportunity to show the fabulous David Byrne’s Big Suit in Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense – a redeeming cultural highlight of the 1980s.

And since this is a food blog after all, I will end with a 1980s food trend: Bisquick Impossible  Pie (where you mix everything up together with the Bisquick mix and it forms its own crust – impossible!). The website has several hundred versions. I admit I made my fair share in the 1980s. Bisquick is still out there and you can now get it gluten-free  – impossible!

Bisquick Impossible Pie

Have a great week of food and fashion!

Posted by Truly Scrumptious


3 Responses to “Beauty & Hygiene Curiosity #1: Burda Big Shoulders”

  1. The Erratic Cook January 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    The Talking Heads are awesome in any era, David always stylish! I had a few big shoulder power suits in the 80s, I did try to find the smallest shoulders and then remove the shoulder pads – not always sucessfully. My hair was never thick enough to do the big hair thing and really didn’t want to, but I was in awe of those that could! By the way – nice segue – food to fashion – fashion to food.

  2. swankola January 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Too funny. I knew you were going to mention the big suit, cuz, you know – boyfriend!
    We always had bisquick around when I was growing up. Can’t remember what we used it for – I think there was one “special” recipe. I’ll have to ask my sister

  3. cradics January 14, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Ah yes the 80s. The worst era possible. The only good thing to come out of the 80s was me, oh and your son 😉
    I actually don’t mind a little shoulder pad. They’re in most of my blazers; however, they are small. Not quite sure I want to sport something that truly makes me look like an hour glass. I already have broad shoulders as it is, so not sure I need to accentuate.
    I’m so glad you used Lady Gaga in your blog post. She has fantastic style. Actually her chair ensemble would be fantastic to wear to work. It might help me with my posture.
    All in all, this would make for fantastic wear to a dinner party 😉

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