Taking the Plunge

On diving headfirst (loafers second) into accepting “sexy”


Menswear is reigning as top sartorial choice among fashion’s fairer sex as of late. Take that notion and dissect it for what it’s worth, but I’d argue that the lean towards masculinity is, in part, our wanting to divorce ourselves from the oversexed pop media coverage on musicians (do we even need to say their names anymore?) so consistently almost-naked that they’ve erased the mystery and allure that the female body used to hold.

Oddly enough we’re still fine with the nipple. Fashion cannot get enough of the nipple. (Say nipple again. Nipple.) But that canvas of skin between the left and right breast hasn’t exactly been celebrated recently as it tends to call to mind Illustrated covers of the Sports variety, VMAs gone awry and housewives of the most desperate kind. Our industry has covered itself back up by way of man clothes to differentiate from the body-con dressed women, our buttoned collars festooned with ties as a direct reply.

But this spring runway proved different.

My surprise was first met at Altuzarra, where a belly-deep V plunged between two panels of fringed navy leather. Cleavage exposed itself again at Jason Wu by way of a sleeveless tan blazer without any shirt underneath, and via the simple slice separating white at Proenza Schouler. Bare were the mid-chests at Rag and Bone, Marni, Louis Vuitton, Creatures of the Wind, Jil Sander and Chanel. It seemed that every show had at least one inverted open triangle of skin — even at Chloé where V-shaped flesh was covered with a layer of blue wide-eyelet.

In reviewing the spring collections, it’s apparent that the return to cleavage is undeniable. But what’s interesting is that where cleavage used to recall musicians at award shows in necklines so plunging they required a Brazilian wax, now the look is decidedly demure. Something that was once considered, for lack of better word, slutty is all of a sudden elegant, ladylike and fresh.

While writing about said shows in my collared shirt bought-not-borrowed from the boy’s department at J. Crew I suddenly felt buttoned up — both literally and figuratively. Had I become a sartorial prude? I looked down at my wool trousers, loafers and sweater tied around my waist (secured there because god forbid the people standing behind me on the subway know I have a pretty decent butt) and decided that yes, I had.

But don’t we preach man repelling? Outfitting ourselves in clothes that are cool, not sexy has become such a natural way of dressing. Take that notion and combine it with my earlier hypothesis that we’re rebutting celebrity driven overt-sexuality and it’s no surprise that we’ve created a void in our own wardrobes where bandage skirts and platformed stilettos used to be (at least for Friday nights).

Skin doesn’t have to be the enemy. This newfound celebration by way of a once eyebrow raising neckline has left me in an inspired state of dressing. Due to my ample chest I probably will not adopt the deep-V without the lending hand of Duct tape-a-la Christina Ricci in Now and Then, but it has reminded me that sexy can also be elegant and that while I may find myself donning menswear inspired clothes more often than not there’s no reason I can’t also own something that makes me feel — cue Shania — like a woman.

Who’s with me?

Get more Fashion ?
  • How about showing parts of skin several sex and stuff selling industries haven’t appropriated SO much yet? The back (since you don’t need to wear a bra, it would be perfect)? Adding creative windows 🙂 to your clothing (you know, with scissors) while ignoring cleavage, butt cheeks, side boobs and other stuff that nowadays only stands for obligatory body parts on some industries’ lists?

    My guess is it was too late for the people doing spring runway to de-won’tsaythename-ey their well-cleaved tops, but they might be filling them as we speak 🙂

    On the other hand, those presented above are beautiful. Really.

  • This reminds me of the most basic fashion rule (guideline), generally imparted by moms: if you’re going low-cut with the top, don’t go super-short with the bottoms. I love a deep V neck, but I won’t wear it with a mini skirt.

    Also, Now and Then is the BEST movie.

    • Kirsten

      Love Now and Then!


      Im glad to know that tid bit of information is still being passed down by some mothers to their daughters. I remember the lesson well : either or, but never more than one : legs, back, or chest. Thats a how a real woman dresses!

  • monkeyshines
  • I love love love this look but I’m afraid at my boob-size (HH, for fellow big-boobed-sisters) it is REALLY impossible to do pull off a way that looks effortlessly fashionable or chic. I hardly let my body dictate my sartorial choices, but I think this trend is biased towards the more flat-chested amongst us.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hi Nicolette! I agree, definitely a look more suited to flat chested girls (grass is allllways greener), but what I took from it was encouragement (as someone who has been known to wear turtlenecks on dates) to enjoy dressing a little sexy should the mood strike me.

    • overmycloset

      Nicolette, I totally agree with you! The deep V works as a fashion-statement for those flat chested and a tacky-statement for those beyond D cups. Or is this a narrow-minded opinion? Does someone has a valid masculine take on this? 🙂

      • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

        Agreed. The deep V will only read chic on the sleek chested among us. Major cleavage will render it tacky fast.

  • Kirsten

    I feel like this only works and looks fashionable, not slutty, if you have a small chest. An example of this is when you put up the photos of Kim Kardashian at Paris Fashion Week looking cooler than usual. She looked great however her worst outfit was the black givenchy dress with the plunging neckline. If she was the size of the models above I think we would have thought that the dress was awesome but it didn’t work on her.

  • Susannah

    Wow those are gorgeous. I’ve always shied away from low cut tops, mainly because I prefer to go with a shorter silhouette and a more covered up top when trying to dress more “sexy”.

  • olivia

    i think it’s sleek and sexy. although it has to be done right!

  • I am not very well-boobed so I see wearing a V-neck as something more of a man-repelling statement for me, like, “hello?! No cleavage here what so ever.” But that is precisely the reason why I’m attracted to V-necks.

  • Andi Henke
  • Karla

    LOL you are so funny! Love all of your posts by the way they crack me up. Yes, I totally agree with you and being a girl from LA and feel like I completly repell anything sluty (i’m traumatized) I also agree that it shouldn’t be black or white and as women we could embrace the sexy in us.


  • Dee

    I love that fashion is stepping away from the, as you so brilliantly put it, “oversexed pop media” image and leaning more towards something that is elegantly sexy. I also love this plunging neckline trend and I hope it stays. Like you, I tended to go more for the menswear inspired look but I think I’ve officially been inspired to go for this plunging line and try to flaunt my femininity more.

  • Jennifer

    I love deep plunge necklines!

    xo Jennifer


  • nosygirl

    This is the time when i wish i had no boobs, sounds bad but i do.

  • Petra

    I’m all for the V for Vendetta, but I couldn’t finish this slide show. Just look at the model in Jason Wu, for example.

  • It’s lovely on the catwalk, but not very practical in real life, either on small or large breasts. I think I’ll pass on this one, the only option I like being a plunging V neck with mesh.

    Mafalda ❤

  • Jen

    I love a deep v! I think it’s so sexy but still really elegant when done right. Would love for you to check out my fashion blog http://www.theboonreport.com for great articles on fashion! XX

  • Natalia

    I was reading about this trend on Garance Dore last night (http://www.garancedore.fr/en/2013/10/08/the-deep-v/) and was literally thinking I’d love to get a man repeller’s perspective, so yay.

    I think the only thing deterring me from trying it is I’d only do it sans bra and I’m not into sticky taping my boobs to fabric but I also can’t be bothered worrying if my nipples are popping out. Too much to think about, so I think I’m going to leave it to the models.

  • Francisc

    The v neck is not really my style! http://www.lavenue.com/

  • Brie

    yea, no deep plunge for this girl, i’m not all about letting the girls hang out everywhere. it looks great if you’ve got a small chest (or no chest as it were for some of those models) but for women who have quite good size chesticles it’s not happening. it’s not 2000 and i ain’t J Lo.

  • Harley

    I adore this look. Balmain also did it exceedingly well for FW11, with beautifully plunged jackets and jumpsuits. After I saw that collection, I fell in love with the look and tried it that fall, purchasing a black deep-V top on sale at net-a-porter. I’ve always been huge into menswear, so to keep the look cool I usually pair it with leather jogging pants and/or a smoking jacket. I’m glad it’s finally becoming a trend, though I don’t think I would try this if I were not an A cup/size 0. Otherwise, it looks awesome

  • Tamara

    I love it. And it loves my wide, bony flat chested broad shouldered self right back!

  • DP

    GET EXCITED for all my cle-vaaaage that will be out on Thursday night. Also, yes, you are a prude.

  • Love the plunge

    Love the plunge but don’t try this if you’re above an A cup. You will look cheap no matter how expensive the outfit is.

  • aynur
  • Ghadir Mahdy

    Haha, your writing is hilarious. I totally agree with you here. I love the powerful new turn fashion is taking on. I think it all has something to do with the power of the feminine; switching it up back and forth between ‘I don’t give a shit’ and ‘oh wait a second, maybe I do a little’.

  • Trina

    I do not like this at all. Those models look like prepubescent girls with no chest. That is not sexy, it’s disturbing.

  • 25highClothing

    Having no cleavage makes that plunge not so exciting or inviting to the eye. But Very cold. lol The sacrifices we give for fashion… 25highclothing.com

  • So hot. I’m obsessed! http://www.lezu.com