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the rise of belly button piercing

Belly piercings are arguably the most popular piercings in the western world, except of course for piercings of the ears.  Those who choose to adorn their navels range widely in age, personality, and body type.  From twelve, to twenty-two, to fifty, there are numerous reasons that a person might want to wear a belly mod, and literally dozens of interesting styles of jewelry.  So how did Americans become so obsessed with decking out their midsections?  It all started with what you’d call “a perfect pop culture storm.”

In the early 1990s, belly piercings were still pretty rare.  It had only been approximately fifteen years since the very first piercing parlors had even opened in the U.S., and many young Americans were only beginning to take an interest.  Then just at the right moment, a barrage of media influences came together to catapult the navel ring to glory and fame.

At London Fashion Week in 1993, beautiful supermodel Christy Turlington walked the catwalk with a new, highly visible accessory: a belly piercing.  During that time period, many young girls looked to fashion and celebrity for inspiration concerning their own beauty routines, just as they do today.  Catwalk looks were often less fantastical and avant garde however, and many famous models sported styles that felt more attainable.  In October of that same year, Alicia Silverstone was pierced on camera, and that little extra oomph just sealed the deal.  (In the video for Aerosmith’s megahit “Cryin,” Miss Silverstone has her navel pierced by professional Paul King.)

 getting a navel piercing

The belly piercing then began its rise.  Nowadays, celebrities from every media sector have multiple piercings, including a vast array of bedazzled belly buttons.  Singers, actresses, models, professional wrestlers; all of them have modification in common.  It seems a little silly to think of it this way, but it’s pretty funny how such a long lasting craze started with a single crop top.  Maybe 90s fashion isn’t so passé after all.

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