The New Year is a time for new beginnings, new resolutions (maybe this year they’ll actually stick!) and new trends. While I’m ready to kick my bad habits to the curb in order to adopt new ones, it may be fun to take a trend or two from 2012 into 2013 before we say “so long” for good. I’m alright with the head-to-toe floral look going away for a very long time and wouldn’t mind forgetting about the futuristic look that many women found attractive, but I found it mimicked Judy Jetson just a tad too much. But I would like to see the midriff-baring trend stick around a bit longer. It’s sexy without being overly revealing, attracts the eye to the smallest part of a woman’s physique and encourages the wearer to work on keeping her abs tight.
But with all those positive characteristics going for it, historically speaking, the trend doesn’t have much staying power in western cultures. While eastern cultures have many traditional garments exposing the navel going back hundreds of years, western cultures have only recently adopted the trend. French designer Madeleine Vionnet, who was known for her biased cut gowns, introduced the trend in the early 1930s by designing a dress with cutouts in the waistline. The creation of the bikini by Louis Réard in the 1940s gradually exposed more and more of the midriff, but there was an actual law in the U.S. that forbade people to expose their navel in public. Any midriff-baring garment was restricted to the beach. Even movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Joan Collins had to wear jewels in movies to hide their bellybutton and beach teen queen, Annette Funicello was dressed in conservative swimsuits at Disney’s request. Why? Because the midriff and navel were considered too erotic. Midriff-baring tops and low-slung pants became popular in the 1960s during the sexual revolution, which introduced the tube top, halter top and other cropped tops.
While the trend has been present in western cultures for decades and the navel is no longer banned from making a public appearance, midriff-exposing tops are still quite sexy and can be intriguing with just a silver of waistline showing. Pop artists like Madonna, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez seem to bare their waistlines regularly, but when it comes to street fashions the trend doesn’t seem to stick. However with designers like Dolce & Gabbana bringing the trend mainstream in their 2012 collection, I can only hope the trend will stick around for at least some of 2013.
1. First bikini designed by Louis Réard, 1946
2. Marilynn Monroe in cropped top and vest, 1950s
3. Madonna barring her navel, 1980s
– Bonnie J Brown
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