Humans stand out in the animal kingdom for having such prominent, permanently enlarged breasts—which is either a great boon or a crushing burden, depending on how you look at it.
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On the one hand, breasts have given us so much, like scoop neck tops and those unnecessarily sensual Carl’s Jr. ads from the mid-aughts. On the other hand, as soon as people the breast When they wake up in the morning, they are faced with countless questions about what to do.
Do you push them? Take them down? Will you let them swing loose and free, or must you wrestle them into nylon-door submission?
The answer depends on the person’s mood, attire, activity and destination. It also depends on what is available. This selection includes push-ups Bra; strapless bra; bralette; sports bras; And stick on bras.
But maybe bras are a way of the past. The newest frontier in breast containment technology is something so versatile that it allows a person to shape their breasts to their ever-evolving physical and sartorial needs, and that can even, in a pinch, be used to seal FedEx packages.
This is the tape.
The idea of taping your chest to achieve a special silhouette is nothing new. For example, transgender men and non-binary people have long used tape to bind their chests. And back in 2016, Kim Kardashian The now-defunct KKW app shared that one of the secrets to her pneumatic red carpet figure was using duct tape to lift her breasts to the heavens.
“When it’s time to take it down, LOL,” she wrote. (Sticking your soft flesh with industrial adhesives can cause skin irritation and broken capillaries.)
But a growing number of companies are starting to ask a fascinating question: What if there was a better way to tape your breasts than materials originally designed to wrap steel wires and electrical conductors?
Former fashion and beauty editor Stephanie Montes launched her own brand of “bub tape” – as it’s commonly called – in January 2020. uncle’s wedding The jumpsuit she wanted to wear had a plunging neckline that would reveal any traditional bra, so she used the Kardashian-approved duct tape method.
It was kind of a chore, except for the pinching, creaking, creaking sound when she walked and the excruciating pain she had to endure when it was time to remove it. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I do this to myself?'” she said.
Online, Montes found a few brands advertising such tape, but felt alienated by the fact that these products usually only came in a single, light beige color, and they were often presented on young, airbrushed models.
“I don’t think this is the product for me,” Montes, who is Latina, recalled thinking. “However, if I can take it and create it in a way that makes sense for everyone, and makes everyone feel included, I think I can do that.”
It took Montes several months to design the packaging and find a manufacturer who could produce the waterproof, Latex-Free tape in three skin tones as she wants. (The line has since expanded to four skin tones: light, light-medium, medium and dark.) When she finally had the product, she modeled it on herself and her friends, and posted videos of herself applying it on Instagram. “I wanted it to feel real,” she said.
Nue is still a small operation. Montes is the company’s only full-time employee, and her husband still helps her pack the large orders she needs to ship. But the brand has seen steady growth, even during the pandemic when most people weren’t out and wearing their most revealing clothes (or even their bras).
Nue is now carried at fashion retailers such as Net-a-Porter and Revolve. “I think people are catching on to it the wardrobe Hack,” she said. “It’s not as crazy or scary as it used to be.”
(Kardashian, the duct tape queen herself, launched her own line of skims “body tape” in 2019, but it’s no longer available for sale on the company’s website.)
Abby Arad, a stylist whose clients include comedians and actresses such as Diane Raphael and Jessica St. Clair, said she has been a longtime user of bub tape. “It makes everything so much easier because it’s so flexible,” she said. “You can literally cut a top to whatever shape you want, and then you have this customized bra.”
Arad said she likes to experiment with halter tops, any backless, plunging necklines or blazers without tops underneath. Some of her customers are hesitant when she first mentions the stripes sticking to their busts, she said, but her enthusiasm for the product usually manages to win them over. “I speak about it with such confidence because I’ve used it so many times,” she said.
Underwear has always evolved to reflect the beauty ideals of their time. Change from heavy corsets that accentuated curves in the early 20th century to more minimal bras.
Valerie Steele, chief curator at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, said: “It was a shift in ideals of beauty from a very sensual, high Victorian ideal to a younger and thinner ideal. In 1900 a fashion writer called it ‘the change from Venus to Diana’.
The tape, in that case, represents a shift from Diana to a surgically and graphically enhanced Instagram model. The continued popularity of cosmetic procedures such as breast lifts and augmentations, along with the increase in the use of filters and photo manipulations, means that the aesthetic expectation is increasing that breasts will look full and attractive, regardless of one’s age, body shape or physique. Gravitational force.
“If more people get it Plastic surgeryAnd they’re getting butt lifts and they’re getting breast lifts, then all of a sudden, a little bit of shimmer, which might have looked okay 10 years ago, might seem like, well, you’re really letting yourself down by looking like this. ” Steele said.
The tape allows people to gain more height without surgery, the companies say. Neu even calls one of his products “a boob job on the go,” although Montes emphasizes that “it’s important that we’re more gentle with ourselves and embrace our body types.”
Besides its aesthetic promise, tape is a product uniquely suited to the social media age. “Right now, everyone is about making content,” said Natari Leelapatri, founder of a company called Bub Tape, which also started in 2020 and had $60,000 in sales in May.
There are many ways that a bra can be displayed on and off. But there are endless ways to apply bub tape. Tutorials by influencers on YouTube and Instagram show people of all cup sizes demonstrating different ways to taper their breasts under even the most revealing and confusing pieces of clothing. There’s the holster style, for a low-cut top; crisscross; Bandau. These videos last from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, and have tens of millions of views.
For full reporting, I tried the tape. I ordered some online, and on Tuesday morning, taped myself with moderate success. Although I like to think of myself as having an attractive, D-cup figure, physically I have what medical professionals describe as “a normal B-cup,” requiring only four 6-inch strips to lift.
My application was incomplete. My breasts looked lopsided at first, and I scrunched up the tape a bit while adjusting. Still, I was finally able to confidently wear a strappy tank top and go about my day getting red carpet ready.
It was free with me the breast Feel contained and unencumbered at the same time. (Is that what the term “secure attachment style” meant at all?) There seemed to be several minutes a day when I was constantly adjusting an old bra that was both too loose and snarlingly tight. the time
It wasn’t too unpleasant to remove the tape that evening, and all my skin remained on my body, and my capillaries remained mercifully intact.
The promise of recreating the appearance of one’s younger, fuller bust—a bust brimming with youthful potential and hope, unscathed by the sands of time—has proven popular with consumers. Montes said he wasn’t fully prepared for how big the demand would be for Nue. “To be honest with you, I was always like, ‘If we sell this initial stock, I’ll be happy,'” she said. “I really didn’t think it would take off the way it did.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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