Can we stop talking about 'cleavage trends'?

Amy Adams on the red carpet during this year's awards season.

Amy Adams on the red carpet during this year's awards season.

Brazilians are apparently no longer desirable. The bush is back. When this nation-stopping news broke in 2013, it was hard to gauge what was louder: the gasp of horror from the waxing industry or the sighs of relief from its customers.

Now it’s time for Playtex, Bendon, Berlie, Triumph, and Victoria’s Secret et al to hold crisis talks because bras are now as outdated as the landing strip. Or more specifically, when it comes to boobs, perk is out and sag is in.

‘This is a new kind of cleavage ideal,’ writes Tatiana Boncompagni, The New York Times’s mammary correspondent. ‘Not the often artificially inflated breasts of yore, but a more naturalistic teardrop shape that harks back to the 1970s.’

The trend was apparently started by Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez way back in 2012 but didn’t fully catch on until Michelle Dockery, Amy Adams, Margot Robbie and Robin Wright left their bras at home during more recent red carpet appearances. 


‘Tired, perhaps, of exposing the top of the breasts, with the obvious leers that practice inspires, stars are now exposing the sides,’ hypothesises Boncompagni.

Good thinking. I always find that leers at the sides of my boobs are so much more preferable to leers at the tops of them.

But before we rejoice that the effects of gravity have now been deemed fashionable, there is a precise definition for the sexy sag.

We’re not talking about the I’ve-breastfed-a-couple-of-kids sag, or even the I’m-over-35-and-am-bigger-than-an-A-cup sag.  And the ideal sag is a far cry from simply allowing your girls to roam free. The sag must be carefully contoured. No poached eggs allowed.

Inevitably, a whole bunch of boobs — I mean ‘experts’ — are rushing to provide advice, products and services to achieve this ‘natural’look.

For example, fitness expert David Kirsch prescribes chest presses and pull overs before going out to give your sag a lift. And Hollywood stylist Jeanne Yang recommends Topstick, a toupee tape, to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.

In a stroke of marketing genius, cosmetic surgeons are now getting into the act to remodel their former client’s cleavage. Eighty per cent of Santa Monica-based cosmetic surgeon Dr Chia Chi Kao’s business comes from women having their old-fashioned fuller implants removed and replaced with the hipper teardrop trend.

‘[Women] want something that looks more natural and fits their frames better,’ Dr Chi Kao said. ‘They don’t want to look frumpy in a suit jacket.’

 It’s hard to consider fashion advice on cleavage as anything but satire. It’s not like you can stuff your boobs in the back of your wardrobe along with your acid wash denim until they are fashionable again.

But as with most body trends, the joke is on us. Deconstructing female beauty into style reports on body parts takes body anxiety to a whole new level of awfulness.

Women are trapped in a constant state of striving for beauty, and never fully achieving it. If or when they do conform to the current standard, another fashion dictum will be issued, the definition of beauty will change once more, and everyone will lose — except the ‘experts’ who will cash in on it.

As we are already seeing, this will drive some women to extreme measures like redoing their cosmetic surgery. For a lucky few the stupidity of it all may be the tipping point to rejecting the tyranny of female beauty altogether. But in a world that values women by how closely they meet beauty standards this is a lot harder said then done. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be left feeling even more insecure and powerless about our bodies than we did before. 

If you were lucky enough to score a natural pair of contoured teardrops in the genetic lottery, then enjoy them until the next crop of celebrity knockers redefines what’s hot.

For the rest of us, it’s tough titties.

Kasey Edwards is the author of four books.


13 comments so far

  • "Can we stop talking about 'cleavage trends'? '

    Maybe we could have started by not writing articles about the subject first?

    Date and time
    February 19, 2014, 8:56AM
    • I always find it amusing when the columnists on Daily Life rail against the unfairness of being judged on how they look, and then the same site which they write for has sections for Fashion, Beauty and People (which is mostly looking at beautiful people) as well as a Look of the Day and a fairly regular What they were Wearing photo gallery.

      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 11:37AM
    • @Carstendog, did you actually read the article, or just jump at the opportunity to make a sassy comment on the title?

      @Hurrow, I don't think there's any irony in having articles commenting on the way that women are judged by their appearances next to fashion and beauty tips and stories. The way I see it, fashion, hair and beauty should do more for you than anyone looking at you. You don't necessarily wear your favourite clothes so that other people will look at you, but because they make you feel good about who you are and like how you look. Please stop assuming that women only put on makeup for other people.

      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 12:41PM
    • Voluntary slaves to fashion deserve everything they get.

      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 1:13PM
    • Mads women (and men) can dress for whomever they please, it's no skin off my back. The reality is though that both men and women are judged for what they wear and how they appear. If I arrived at work in shorts and a singlet, unshaven with hair all over the place instead of wearing a suit and being neatly groomed, I'm pretty sure that my employer and my clients would think differently about me. We are all judged on how we appear, both by men and women.

      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 4:40PM
  • "Women are trapped in a constant state of striving for beauty, and never fully achieving it. "

    Of course. How else will the Beauty Industrial Complex remain profitable unless it keeps shifting the goal-posts and selling cures for confected ugliness?

    BTW -- loved the observation " It’s hard to consider fashion advice on cleavage as anything but satire. It’s not like you can stuff your boobs in the back of your wardrobe along with your acid wash denim until they are fashionable again." I remember when the lacquered talons of the late 80s fash-mag slags declared that "cleavage is back" and I went scrounging around in my mothballed suitcases among the flares and terry-towelling jumpsuits to find it.

    Date and time
    February 19, 2014, 9:29AM
    • I thought all fashion advice was satire.

      john holmes
      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 12:27PM
  • Fair enough for Michelle Dockery, Amy Adams, Margot Robbie and Robin Wright who probably don't have breasts that are beyond a B cup, but try going braless with a D+ cup. If the leering stares from men and judgmental stares from women aren't enough to make you run home to get you bra, then the pain from no support will.

    Date and time
    February 19, 2014, 10:30AM
    • Being a male, most of us do not really buy into these debates. Much like the so called box gap & bikin bridge fads. One has to wonder why many women agonise over these things, we males do not.

      Date and time
      February 19, 2014, 10:40AM
      • What about the six-pack and more recently the 'V'. The fact that implants and plastic surgery has increased significantly over the last few years suggests that there are plenty of men that agonise over these things.

        The whole idea of trying to keep your body in some kind of fashionable state is puzzling to me.

        Hunting Aliens
        Date and time
        February 19, 2014, 12:37PM

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