I may be coming in a little late to the whole nipple debate, but this season they are so big (figuratively speaking) that its become very hard to ignore them. The Free the Nipple campaign was all to do with a woman's right to bare her boobs, but as someone keen to keep theirs firmly a mystery, I decided at the time not to delve deeper into the debate. Then I encountered the wonderfully stylish Trinny Woodall. Utterly fabulous, yet not a big fan of wearing bras. I started to wonder I am out of touch here? Is showing your nipples now the done thing?
For those of you that didn’t know, myself included, the Free the Nipple campaign argues that women should be free to show their nipples in public as men do and that breasts have become unnecessarily sexualised so that we now consider their exposure indecent. Indeed Instagram and Facebook do not allow photos to feature female nipples, unless associated with breastfeeding. The political movement has caused quite a stir over the last few years and ultimately caught on in the fashion world as it became more en vogue to embrace our peanut sized friends than to squirrel them away under thick jumpers.
2018 has been hailed the year of the nipple, surpassing 2017’s nip-flashing trends. While it isn’t unusual to see the modest chests of pre-pubescent models peering out of designer creations, this season was decidedly more about the nipple as accessory and less about the clothes, with many designers sending out girls completely bare chested. The rise of the sheer trend has a part to play in the phenomenon with sheer fronted jumpers at Calvin Klein, mesh dresses at Michael Costello, peekaboo lace at N.21 and layers of transparent gauze at Simone Rocha. No matter how you view it, showing your nipples is a rising trend!
“Its a generation thing,” my friend advised me. “Twenty-somethings think nothing about going out braless nowadays, its more about comfort and free choice than the aesthetic.” Several celebrity millenniums would attest to this with Kendall Jenner asserting that she is is comfortable in her own skin and stating “I think it's cool to show off what's under your shirt — whether that's a cute bralette or just skin.”
Kendall may have been praised for her free thinking, but poor Trinny was not so lucky when she left her bra at home to appear on her This Morning television slot. Twitter went wild for the over-exposure of the 54 year old, exclaiming “I don’t want to see her nips while eating breakfast” and “buy a bra or warm up!” Trinny chooses not to wear a bra, simply because her chest size means she doesn’t have to and this is how she feels comfortable. But today’s trend seems to be reserved only for those with Hollywood-worthy breasts.
Turns out the nipple craze goes so much further than just skin deep, with a cosmetic obsessive culture craving the perfect nipple. Just what is this you may ask? Of course it’s subjective, but cosmetic surgeons believe more people are looking for a pair that are symmetrical, with a nipple area covering 25-30% of the breast and a 1cm protruding nipple.
As a fashion lover, I have a whole drawer at home dedicated to various permutations of nipples coverings. Backless and strapless bras, nipples pasties, tape and silicone cups. All ensuring that I don’t run the risk of exposing some VNO (visible nipple outline). As someone with more than a handful up front, the question or whether or not to wear a bra is not one I need ever consider. But I admit I also prefer my fashion not to be marred by an unsightly nip-slip. Call me old fashioned or a prude, but I like to see nipples kept under wraps.