Taking the Plunge Into Backless Looks
By Allison Daniels
For most women, go-to styles when we want to get noticed are low-cut necklines and short skirts. But there’s something unexpected, mysterious, and provocative about showing skin in an unconventional place. What body part is having a moment right now? The back.
The back has historically been considered an area of sensuality and vulnerability. The curves of the female back have long been the subject of paintings intended to communicate sensuality without being overtly sexual. Backless, or embellished-backed garments have the same effect.
The opening images of Emma Watson and Amber Heard above, and these images of Kate Hudson and supermodel Bar Rafaeli below, are a few of my favorite back-highlighting moments in recent celebrity history. Emma continues her ingénue style-streak with that crystal-embellished Elie Saab gown. and Amber sure knows how to show off in a low-backed sparkly frock.
(Above, left) Kate Hudson stuns (shortly after giving birth to baby Ryder) in an Elie Saab, while (above, right) Bar Rafaeli wears an illusion-back Marchesa gown at the Whitney Gala
A backless cocktail dress or evening gown can be sexier and chic’er than an obvious mini-dress, but a backless top or embellished-backed top can add a playful twist to an otherwise conservative outfit.
The key, as with any trend, is to remember balance. For day, pair your backless blouses with conservative pants. For night, they play well with chic pencil or a-line skirts. Skip the statement necklace in favor of shoulder-dusting earrings or bangles. Pair with heels to keep the look feminine from all angles.
Here are a few of my favorite fabulous-backed pieces:
ASOS Body in Neoprene with Backless Detail ($30);
Warehouse Backless Crossback Prom Dress ($77.27), both from www.asos.com
And when wearing a piece as tricky as a backless gown or top, you can’t forget the all-important undergarments! These bras work well with exposed back styles.
Fashion Forms: Body-Sculpting Backless Strapless Underwire Bra ($48, barenecessecities.com); Ultimo Miracel D-G Backless Bodysuit ($83.63, asos.com); U-plunge Backless Push-up Bra ($50, victoriassecret.com)
Now go forth, and perform feats of derring backless do!