Editors Note: This article is written in a tone that is intended to be funny— to make a witty case for wearing clothes that show off your back to achieve ultimate sexiness. This article does not touch on the LONG LIST of other things that make a person sexy (like being smart as hell or being sure of yourself or being nice to others). The argument put forth in this article is presented without judgement and if you don’t agree with my statements, I’m totally okay with that! Carry on and wear the clothes you want to wear! I’m simply saying that having a few backless pieces in your wardrobe is a really good pick when you’re trying to exude sexiness with your outfit ;)
My love for back details is deeply rooted. I can remember buying my first open-backed top circa 2007 in my sophomore year of college. It was from Victoria’s Secret. It looked like a plain black t-shirt from the front and the back was cut in a deep V with jewels lining the opening. It was (and still would be) a classic. [pause for a moment of regret that I got rid of that top a few years back during a minimalistic purge.] I remember my 20 year-old self feeling really sexy in that top. I loved the notion that it looked like nothing special—actually it looked downright dowdy— from the front but the back was special. The back made the statement. And that statement was sexy. During a chapter where sexy was often defined by wearing the least amount of clothes possible (remember this is during college), I felt like I was doing something revolutionary by going against the grain. [This is something that I annoyingly get a lot of pleasure out of doing— a quality that I love/hate about myself. At my most humble, I wish I wasn’t this way because this tendency has often ostracized me from my peers… but that’s a story for another day.] ANYWAY the point here is that I was an early adopter of the backless thing. This is important (not because I think I started the trend— because I definitely did NOT but) because I’m setting the stage for my credibility and passion on this particular subject.
Without further ado, I’ll present my argument.
Back details = ultimate sexiness
Well first, we'll need to define "sexiness."
Proposed definition: Sexiness = leaving some things to the imagination
I realize this definition is subjective (“sexiness” probably means something different to you than it does to me, and that’s totally cool).
BUT for the sake of this argument, let’s go with the definition above. Trust me, I’m not advocating for modest dressing (although I have nothing against it at all— whatever you like, go for it)! I’m just a big believer in leaving something to the imagination. Truly, I think this exact concept is what defines sexiness.
During my research I found this semi-relevant article from NPR about a photography trend in the 1890’s where the subjects were shot from the back. Its relevance is in the commentary about the meaning of this pose. "The turn of the body away from the camera implies a flirtatious tone— as if the subject does not want to show all their cards at once." This is exactly what I am advocating for!!! A tease. Not too much, but not nothing. Sexiness.
This is probably the most obvious point but I'll go ahead and drive it home! The back is a body part that is not overtly sexualized (in contrast to say... cleavage or upper thigh or mid-drift). It's also a part of the body that is not usually shown (outside of intimate encounters). There's definitely something sexy about an unexpected reveal.
(in other words: no one hates their back)
We live in very physically comparative times. Comparison is everywhere and no one is immune to thoughts of body shame. Even if you're one of those people who never have negative body thoughts (GO YOU!!!), I'm SURE you have some parts of your body that you find un-sexy. Simply put— we all have parts of our body that we find un-sexy. BUT I’m willing to bet if you name all the things you find un-sexy about yourself, you won’t be naming your back.
[if you do hate your back, I’d genuinely love to know why.]
I can’t imagine a situation where showing off your back would be deemed inappropriate. At least not in the way that showing legs or cleavage could be deemed inappropriate. I’d almost like to say that revealing your back is the “safest” way to be sexy (but don’t quote me on that). I have no evidence to support this claim.
Sexy backs have been a thing throughout history. So, I present you with a list of fine art pieces throughout the ages depicting women looking sexy by showing off their back. [I realize most of these are nudes which could inherently make them sexy since they are fully unclothed… but let’s pretend that the comprehensive nudity has nothing to do sexiness and simply marvel at these gorgeous backs.]
La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (widely regarded as one of the greatest modern paintings of the 19th century).
[Interestingly - this painting was one vandalized by female political suffragist, Mary Richardson. In 1914, she took a meat cleaver to the painting in protest of women's rights. A suffragette was a member of militant women's organizations in the early 20th century who, under the banner "Votes for Women", fought for the right to vote in public elections, known as women's suffrage. I'm not entirely sure if this history lesson fits with my backs are sexy narrative but I thought it was worth noting. See below— I kinda like it with the slashes, makes it a bit more badass.]
If you're still not convinced,
I encourage you to TRY wearing a backless piece and not feel sexy. Seriously— prove me wrong.
Don't forget this fashion-related advice:
The Pick One Rule
If you know anything about me by now, you must know that I don't really believe in rules when it comes to fashion. BUT if there's one standard I tend to uphold for my own personal style, it’s the one I like to call the PICK ONE RULE. For example, If I’m showing leg, I cover up on top. Or if I’m showing my mid-drift, I'll opt for pants or a midi skirt. As a general rule, pick one body part to show off.
To push you over the edge, I've found the coolest backless pieces on the interweb right now. BUY ONE. or two ;)
French Macarons by WE THE BIRDS