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Baring It All

Is a revival of bare midriffs in order this spring 2013? Or, does the revealing of such cleavage only evoke a reminiscent period of Britney Spears dressed in her scantily clad school girl outfit as she performs “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Several months back, cutout dresses were trending, worn to accentuate the feminine figure and bolster the illusion of an hourglass waist. Seemingly next, Fashion Magazine asserted the return of exposed bellies.

Be it Milan, Paris, London or New York, Fashion Week around the world may dispense with the authoritative view that bare midriff tops make their return, but their declaration of popular trends leaves us as unaware prey to the popular culture in which we remain susceptible to the whims and fancies of couture brand designers. Often we forget that Fashion Week as a bi-yearly occurrence should not dictate our wardrobe. Fashion Week is only a week, a sensory overload that is only comprehensible to the trend-starters and mystifies us, the distant observer. Designers deceive us in believing the prophetic power of the fashion industry. When we follow the countless trends set out by Fashion Week, disseminated by fashion magazines, we subordinate ourselves to countless fads that damage our bank card. More importantly, these trends leave us deficit in individual style.

Rather than following the masses, we should look to accumulate timeless pieces, transcendent of a particular year in which its fame peaks. I would rather be in possession of clothing for its versatility. I hardly think that midriff-revealing tops project a professional image, an image we hope to cultivate in our 20s as we teeter on the outer edge of the perpetual real world. What I value most about the cherished pieces in my wardrobe is the fact that they worked nicely as ensembles for both the lecture and cubicle hall, fashionable for school and work.

On the contrary, this trend of midriff baring tops inarguably conflicts with a girl’s desire to impress her maturity upon others and thus lacks the staying power of more appropriate wear that shows off our timeless silhouette. Baring midriffs, barely acceptable in high school, fail as a socially viable way of presentation in the everyday world of school, work, or mundane chores. Their main purpose is to accentuate the smallness of a girl’s waist, yet such an obsession recalls earlier high school times of self-conscious weight watching.

Similar to wearing a sheer lacy tank over a neon pink bra, a bare midriff top accentuates our body lines, our focal efforts at achieving a toned and flat stomach, and emphasizes our juvenility, our youth. They exude a youthful energy, but add to a perpetual sense of fashion stasis. Is this real fashion-forward thinking, bringing back the bygone era of high school midriffs? If you’re feeling nostalgic, take up your old yearbook or scroll down your Facebook timeline, but emulating this time-sensitive trend seems to be a weak wardrobe investment.  Bustier or cropped top, whatever it may be, their use is limited. They add edge, sure, for a fleeting night of partying. Yet, they scream of a premature expiration date – where body contouring certainly need not retract into the past and revive dead trends.

Yours Creatively,

Jessica Chong, Online Contributor 

Images by Jessica Chong