In her Stuart Weitzman campaign, Gisele Bündchen lays on a magical legless bench without her shirt. Unfortunately, we can’t see much at all because she’s hugging herself. She is not the only famous human to sacrifice her clothing in the name of fashion. OG topless model Kate Moss managed to make Calvin Klein jeans a sensation even though she provided zero guidance on what to wear with them. Kendall Jenner recently went topless behind her intertwining hands in Interview magazine. Mastering the art of going topless without baring all is not easy. You have to look as though your cup is just runnething over with sex, but you’re still shy because human decency. And because Instagram. As an explainer for non-models, here is the anatomy of going topless in fashion.
1. You might think that going topless without showing your breasts is all in the strategic arm placement, which can shield your nips from the camera lens. But going semi-topless can be done in other ways. See how Gisele demonstrates this when straddling a giant inflatable lobster. Note how she positions her arm strategically bending it in a skinny letter V and spreading her grip on the floating crustacean to achieve maximum coverage. She’s showing just a hint of her left breast and distancing her perfect clavicle bone from the toy so that the lobster doesn’t pop and blow her cover.
2. Here, Lady Gaga was photographed topless for Versace arranging her long blonded extensions expertly to bookend the Medusa medallion she has draped in between the underboob.
3. All Nicole Kidman needs to avoid the powers determined to take down the nipple is a large envelope clutch. She can open the flap and remove her keys and checkbook without revealing anything scandalous. The bag measures the length of her bustline. At least 50% of topless photos require props such as these.
4. Music videos have also played a part in going topless for fashion. See here how Jennifer Lopez’ topless reveal at the end of “My Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” gives viewers a bonus for sitting through the song.
5. Take for example pro-woman anthem “Blurred Lines.” One version showed full-on bare breasts, but the other one had shirts so that Robin Thicke could raise awareness about the blurriness of consent among children.
6. Rihanna uses the classic crossed arm position, revealing a slight curvature of her left boob for this MAC campaign.
7. This Tom Ford fragrance ad did not feature nude breasts because this guy is all over it. A dude’s hairy leg that glistens in the sun, while not indispensable for going topless for fashion, can come in handy. He has to be strong enough to “boyfriend” your assets long enough for the photo shoot. He also has to angle his neck away because it covers the other breast completely and proves to consumers forever that being topless on vacation is NBD, and also that a woman’s body is not for a man.
8. This charged American Apparel marked new territory for the company because it advertised their Dhaka-born merchandiser. Her expression is pure and beautiful, and the message was brought to you by the letters and “a” and “n” as ineffective pasties that don’t quite cover her nips. Making things political can elevate the conversation about a topless photo to one about male power. Or people will just stare. This woman is unlikely for an American Apparel ad, because she’s not upside down in a bathtub. Even though her jeans are open, it does not divert your focus from the message.
These are the rules of the topless fashion photo. Nailing this boob balancing act will guarantee that by thwarting the view of your x-rated sexuality with lobsters or hairy legs, no one can stick a black bar on you.
Celebrate ‘Go Topless Day’ With the 21 Best Topless Fashion Moments
PFW: Topless Feminists Crash the Nina Ricci Catwalk
Karlie Kloss Thinks Her Censored Vogue Italia Photo Was Beautiful