Wednesday 21 February 2018

Is this the end of cleavage as we know it?

As 'Vogue' declares the end is nigh for high-octane busts, where does that leave those women fond of a fuller décolletage?

Chest right: Actress Amy Adams is still a fan of cleavage
Chest right: Actress Amy Adams is still a fan of cleavage
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian in Paris
Jennifer Lawrence prefers a more natural look
Jennifer Lawrence in 2012
Vicki Notaro

Hannah Furness

It has a long and controversial history, gracing the covers of countless magazines and catching the eye of many a gentleman. But the cleavage has finally had its day. How do we know? 'Vogue' hath declared it so. The magazine's claims that "the cleavage is over" have sparked a fight-back among women refusing to pack away their push-up bras.

However, an article in this month's edition claims fashionistas are turning their backs on outfits that show off their breasts, choosing instead to show more demure flashes of the shoulder, stomach or leg in a bid to outwit "creepy" online feedback on social media.

Even high-fashion labels renowned for their "ample displays" have this year "sent out girl after girl with legs, midriffs and cut-outs on show but no cleavage", 'Vogue said', adding it was a clear sign "something's up. Or more pertinently, not up".

"The cleavage - those magnificent mounds pushed together to display sexual empowerment, to seduce, to inspire lust or even just to show off - is over, or at least, taking a well-earned break," the magazine declared.

Kim and Kourtney Kardashian in Paris
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian in Paris

"The tits will not be out for the lads. Or for anyone else, for that matter."

According to stylist Elizabeth Saltzman, online harassment has to be taken into account when dressing those in the public eye, because the open public comments on sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook leaving stars open to scrutiny.

Referring to an anonymous top-heavy actress, she said: "On those occasions where her cleavage is more visible, I see what happens on her Instagram feeds afterwards, and out of about 100,000 comments, 90,000 will be about her boobs".

The trend appears to be backed up by recent sales of bras, with soft-cupped natural shapes overtaking the push-up cleavage so beloved in the 1990s.

Earlier this year, retail analyst NPD reported that sales of traditional bras are down 19pc as millennials turn to sports bras for "comfort and ease of movement".

Women now put "long-term comfort, durability and support" as the most important elements in finding a bra, it said. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, said: "Comfort is a dominant theme throughout the fashion world, and today's bra consumer is seeking both physical and personal comfort.

"Seamless bra styles are increasingly top of mind for consumers of all ages, and can no longer be an afterthought."

In May, it was reported that soft cups now make up 30pc of Net-a-Porter's bra sales, with the most common request among cosmetic surgery patients now for a mid-C cup rather than a double-D.

Celebrities attending the 'Harper's Bazaar' Women of the Year awards appeared to confirm the trend, with Keira Knightley, Felicity Jones and Gillian Anderson all opting for high necklines.

Yet 'Vogue' states: "Rejecting the stereotypes of gender has been brought sharply into focus, with the days of women as eye-candy, their sexuality positively smouldering rather than subtly played out, officially over." © Telegraph

Vicki notaro: In defence of boobs

Vicki Notaro

So 'Vogue' says boobs are over. This kind of sweeping statement, typical of the magazine, might worry the average Irish woman with a 36D chest if we paid attention to such things. But 'Vogue' has never been exactly relatable to the average gal, and it's hardly about to start being so now. In 'Desperately Seeking Cleavage', the article says that the average woman is currently seeking comfort, but as the owner of a JML Belvia wireless bra (essentially a soft hammock to be worn on days off) I can confirm that this isn't news to the woman on the street. We're not all squeezing in to a Wonderbra on a daily basis.

As a woman with a 36F chest, I've long felt that fashion is against my body type. Anyone who's ever found themselves close to tears in a changing room trying to zip a dress two sizes too big over their sizeable chest will surely understand. Fashion favours the proportionate.

A woman with less cleavage than I might well feel that popular culture, lads' mags and the movie and music industries have always championed larger jugs, and that is true. It's all about perspective, and wanting what we don't have.

In terms of fashion, I don't recall boobs being exactly "in". Since the 90s, heroin chic has meant models are waif-like and largely flat chested. In my opinion, the women that make boobs desirable aren't models - even those in Victoria's Secret fashion show aren't incredibly well endowed.

But with celebrities, an ample chest (or the appearance of one) has never gone out of style, and isn't likely to. A-listers on the red carpet still "flaunt their eye-watering cleavage" to use modern internet parlance; Amy Adams, Mariah Carey and various stars of TOWIE have all been photographed wearing low necklines in the last few days.

Before the Paris robbery that's seen her keep a low profile, Kim Kardashian was going braless and showing her bare boobs in sheer tops even in daytime.

The average woman knows that showing cleavage isn't about titillating men, it's about looking balanced, creating a feminine, hourglass shape, and yanking up the chest in an effort to reveal the waist.

Cleavage is about feeling a little more glamorous, channelling the era of Marilyn and Sofia, when body shapes in pop culture were far more realistic. Yes, there are more flat-chested women on the red carpet because being super-skinny is still hot in Hollywood. But for the average woman, it's about working with what we have and making the best of them. Nobody wants to be uncomfortable in a torturous brassiere, but nobody wants to have saggy-looking breasts either. There is a happy medium.

So sorry, 'Vogue'. Most of us won't be taking a blind bit of notice of your latest declaration. But there's nothing new there.

Irish Independent

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