After feverishly gathering up up all the scraps of Victoria's Secret receipts and errant pasties fluttering in the wind to read from them some deep and esoteric secrets, the Breast Oracle has spoken: This Season's Hottest Boob trend is wearing a very plunging neckline and no bra.
According to the New York Times, so it shall be. Here is the opening of the trend piece, just so you know what we're dealing with: "Out with the Wonderbra, in with the ... sag? (And we don't mean the Screen Actors Guild.)" By this, the Times means that the cleavage norms are a-changin':
This is a new kind of cleavage ideal: Not the often artificially inflated breasts of yore, but a more naturalistic teardrop shape that harks back to the 1970s. Tired, perhaps, of exposing the top of the breasts, with the obvious leers that practice inspires, stars are now exposing the sides.
Huh. Okay. While I think it's hard to disagree with the fact that the v-neck-no bra combination is really dominating the red carpet lately, it's a big leap — and largely discrediting — to imply that the change has something to do with women getting fed up with being leered at, as though "traditional" cleavage is the province of the lecherous man. Furthermore, when we speak of the "more natural" shape popularized in the 70s, it's hard not to think of Diane von Furstenberg's wrap dress, which became a symbol of female liberation in its time. And the wrap dress wasn't revolutionary because it was less "sexy" than previous styles: on the contrary, it was revolutionary because it "gift[ed] women who were storming the gates of the male-dominated workplace with a sartorial choice that made them feel both sexy and confident," as LA Confidential puts it. Simply put, the wrap dress is hailed as liberating because it's comfortable and women feel good in it.
There are myriad explanations for this new trend: maybe we're just tired of wearing push-up bras because, while pretty, they're little flesh-prisons that cling to our bodies with the the temerity of underwire demons. Maybe we just think "natural" breasts are cool-looking. Personally, I came out of American Hustle wanting to wear everything that Amy Adams wore — not for any aesthetic reason in particular, but rather because I thought there was something really badass in the way she stomped around with at least one boob about to fall out at all times and did not care at all. To me, her on-screen style embodied a brand of sensuality so bold that it borders on impropriety: a fuck-you to a world that covets and fetishizes the exposed female form but loses its shit entirely when it gazes upon an errant pasty or any other sensationalized "wardrobe malfunction."
"Fashion is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable," style consultant Mary Alice Stephenson told the Times. "It's less about being ladylike and more about being powerful." And there are lots of ways to go about expressing power sartorially: maybe it's push-up bras for some women; maybe it's precarious v-necks for others. Or maybe it's going braless beneath a "THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE" crop top, which was my go-to power look in college.
Images via Getty.