Most of us do it when we're putting out the bins just before bed or opening the door in a state of déshabillé for fear of a delivery being left with a neighbour. But choosing to show off a pert set of nipples as a statement in itself, rather than as a consequence of not being able to locate your bra, is something quite different. If Kim Kardashian has anything to do with it, however, this particular flex is about to hit the mainstream - and you don't have to be particularly perky or even go braless to try it. A SKIMS drop is always an event, but for her latest, Kardashian unveiled a product so intriguing and, yes, shocking that it has left lingerie circles positively shooketh. Introducing, the SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra.
Billed as 'the bra that broke the internet', it's an update on the brand's iconic push-up, the Ultimate Bra, with the added bonus of a tantalising 'raised nipple detail'. The reaction was instantaneous. 'I actually couldn’t resist and just placed my FIRST SKIMS ORDER,' posted one user on Instagram, while others remained unconvinced. 'Why? Why? Why?' was the refrain of another. Regardless, the bra has already sold out in three of its six shades.
Its appeal is obvious when you think about it. Firstly, it's a way for all women to dip a toe into the 'naked' trend without having to actually be naked. Most of us have acclimatised to seeing celebrities wearing a pair of wool knickers or a totally see-through dress on the red carpet - and all power to them. But neither look is wearable IRL, particularly if you have to get public transport to your final destination. The SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra, on the other hand, is the perfect way to fake it, offering a frisson of nakedness wrapped in the safely blanket of a bra - a perhaps particularly appealing prospect to a more well-endowed woman.
In a more surprising turn of events, it's also been met with praise by women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer. 'As someone who doesn’t actually have their own nipples anymore – I had a double mastectomy in 2021, following a breast cancer diagnosis – I’m totally sold on this idea,' says Emma McCarthy, Grazia's acting associate editor. 'Would I walk around everyday wearing a nipple bra? Probably not – because I didn’t walk around with my nipples out everyday before my reconstruction. But it’s nice to know I now have the option of faking the look, if I want to. Sometimes, it makes me feel a little jealous of women who still have their own breasts. If this makes me feel more natural or – hell – even a little bit sexy, then why not?!'
Sex appeal is clearly the name of the game. As Kardashian's post states, it's, 'the ultimate attention-grabbing look'. In pop culture at least, the visible nipple is not a new talking point. Samantha Jones was certainly a fan. (The Instagram account @everyoutfitonsatc said it best: 'Samantha walked so @kimkardashian could run.) In the famously fun episode Baby, Talk Is Cheap, she seduces a man using a fake pair of nipples that are alarmingly erect. The point, of course, was for people to look - and it worked a treat, except for the small problem that revealed itself in the bedroom: he used baby talk (all together now: 'ick').
But away from the rarefied world of SATC, the nipple has had a hard time (no pun intended). It's true that there's no such thing as the infamous 'nip slip' nowadays. If you can see someone's nipple, it's probably because they want you to. But the policing of that particular body part hasn't stopped. In fact, it's intensified. When Florence Pugh wore a hot pink tulle dress that showed her nipples in July 2022, she was prepared for a certain amount of commentary. What she wasn't prepared for was the vitriol men poured on what they called her 'tiny tits'. As she phrased it: 'I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and am not scared of it. What’s more concerning is….Why are you so scared of breasts? Small? Large? Left? Right? Only one? Maybe none? What. Is. So. Terrifying.' Quite.
I'm sure that some people will find the SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra, shall we say, 'a bit much'. And if you've been wearing bras since puberty, chances are you'll know what works for you, whether that's a padded bra, a bralet or nothing at all. But if you're tempted, some might argue that it's an easy way to feel sexier and more supported than ever before.
SHOP: The SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra
How Can You Buy The SKIMS Ultimate Nipple Bra?
The Ultimate Nipple Bra is available to shop now on SKIMS.com. There are six shades available, although three have already sold out so you'll have to join the waitlist, band sizes are from 30-44, and cup sizes are from A-F.