It can be a funny thing, fashion. To take a couple of contemporary examples from the newspapers, it is trendy to wear baggy clothing but it is also likewise to wear kit that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.
In The Guardian a couple of weeks ago, the focus was on shirts. To be specific, the so-called ‘boyfriend shirt’. It was popularised in the recent Netflix documentary about the Beckhams, with Victoria wearing a white men’s XXL shirt. (In her case, I’m guessing it’s a ‘husband shirt’?) Uma Thurman has worn a similar shirt for an awards ceremony. John Lewis has reported that sales of its £45 men’s white cotton shirts have quadrupled, with their estimation being that women are the chief contributors to that increase in demand. Obviously these shirts are comfortable to wear and, if this is the sort of thing that appeals to you, they require less or no ironing. There is a British brand called With Nothing Underneath (WNU), which is somewhat self-explanatory. One third of its sales are £95 ‘boyfriend’ white shirts, the looseness of which reveals nothing of what’s underneath.
Which leads us on to the wearing of virtually nothing. In the Financial Times, Jo Ellison wrote of a fashion show where one model “debuted a micro-skirt that barely grazed the buttocks and was worn with a cropped top”. On social media, the skirt went viral. She also noted: “Transparency has been chief among the trends for 2024. [She wasn’t talking about good business practice!] After Milan, I lost track of the nipple count.”
Which in turn leads us ineluctably on to this – from nudity to something a little less revealing. Or maybe a little more so. Shown on the home page is the Skims bra, as modelled by Kim Kardashian, someone who somehow can look more naked clothed than most people would with nothing on. This garment has more commonly become known the ‘nipple bra’ on account of how it accentuates that aspect of a women’s breast. The football fans among you may associate the word ‘areola’ with West Ham United, as in Alphonse Areola, their goalkeeper. In the case of Kardashian, there is no such confusion. The publicity for this item of female underwear reads: “No matter how hot it is, you will always look cold.” (Or turned on, of course.)
This has gone down badly with climate activists. A spokesperson for Greenpeace said: “Using melting glaciers and rising sea levels as a punchline to improve your profit margins makes a mockery of an issue that is devastating millions of people’s lives.” It’s perhaps a fair point but not one that seems to have knocked Kim out of her stride. “Some days are hard but these nipples are harder,” she said. “And unlike the icebergs, these aren’t going anywhere.” I guess she couldn’t help but bring the Titanic into it.