IN Feb 2013, Anne Hathaway gave a heartfelt apology to the people of America, nay, the world, in a futile attempt to assuage our injured sensibilities.
Had she been caught smoking crack? Clubbed a baby seal to death for giggles?
No. She had the audacity to accept her Academy Award for best supporting actress in a dress that clearly illustrated her decision to leave the house sans bra. (Bad nipples, bad.)
Nine months later and it seems like the rest of Hollywood has decided to follow suit. The recent Emmy awards were littered with braless celebrities, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cara Delevingne were photographed wearing similar black tuxedo suits with nothing underneath and Miranda Kerr and Kim Kardashian both took the bare-chested plunge at Paris Fashion Week.
It’s not exactly ground-breaking, fashion wise. Cameron Silver of the Los Angeles boutique Decades has pointed out that “there is a precedent of braless and sheer in fashion”, mentioning the 60s designs of Yves Saint Laurent and the controversial Rudi Gernreich, which were followed by sheer dresses from Stephen Burrows and Halston in the 70s.
The 80s had braless fembots in the video for Richard Palmer’s 1986 hit ‘Addicted to Love’; 1994 saw a young Kate Moss hit the headlines when she was photographed in a completely see-through Liza Bruce slip dress; Jennifer Lopez wore that slashed-to-the-naval Versace gown to the 2000 Grammy Awards; and at the Oscars in 2002 Gwyneth Paltrow was ridiculed for choosing to wear her Alexander McQueen dress without a bra.
Yet while reading a recent article on “bra-less brazen” women and the trend for “breast-baring outfits” which is an “insult from a fashion industry that can’t bear real women” I could almost picture the journalist clutching at her pearls and calling for smelling salts, such is the tone of horror.
There’s no denying that high fashion can be inhospitable to the curvier figure. Many stylists, accustomed to dressing 15-year-old girls genetically disposed to being tall and skinny, can struggle when faced with models like Kate Upton who don’t fit sample sized clothing.
This is probably why Christina Hendricks, so stunningly attired in vintage clothing in the drama series Mad Men, often looks uncomfortable when dressed for the red carpet.
It’s as if her stylist panicked at the sight of breasts larger than a B-cup and threw all the Rigby and Peller corsets she could find at her.
Personally, I find any journalist’s expostulation that models who have the temerity to be “young, pretty and rail-thin” are not “real women” to be far more dangerous to the emotional well-being of anyone who reads that, but what do I know? Better give Pinocchio a call, Cara D, I hear he’s setting up a support group.
‘Real’ women come in all shapes and sizes (I know. What a revolutionary idea) and it’s unfair, not to mention incorrect, to assume that only one type of body can be considered attractive. Designers today offer a huge variety of fashion trends — it’s up to you to find one that flatters your particular body type.
While those with bigger busts can look sensationally sexy in outfits that would make their less generously proportioned friends look like preteens playing dress-up in their mother’s clothes, this particular look is arguably more suited to those with a thinner frame.
Louise’s tips for going bra-less
In order to pull this trend off comfortably, you need to be a B-cup or smaller.
Completely sheer is best kept for the runway. Although if you’re Jane Birkin running around Paris in the 60s, bra-less in little sheer blouses and crocheted dresses, then you can do whatever the hell you like.
If you’re a B to C-cup (at most) and you feel too daunted to completely forgo any support, cheat a little and invest in a sheer bra. I particularly like the triangular lace bralets from Cos, Only Hearts and American Apparel.
Going bra-less would probably be considered NSFW [not safe for work] unless, of course, you work for ‘Naturist Life’ magazine.
Always, always consider the weather. When Eleonora Carisi was photographed on Mr Newton’s fashion blog wearing a completely sheer blouse with nothing underneath, there was more concern over the fact that the photo was taken on a freezing Nov’s day in New York than shock over visible nipples. Not chic.
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