THE NAKED DRESS
“You look great.” “Not too naked?” “Just naked enough.”
On Carrie Bradshaw’s first date with Mr. Big, she wore the DKNY beige, satin slip dress that she was gifted for the promotional ad of her column, Sex, and the City. Her best friends had mixed feelings about the outfit (and lack thereof) and its implications. “Oh honey, it’s fabulous! Bravo!” exclaimed Samantha. Miranda remarked, “It’s tits on toast, baby! But you make it work.” “Let’s just say it; it’s the naked dress. I mean, obviously, you’re going to have sex with him tonight,” Charlotte said.
Let’s face it: the naked dress makes a statement. Marilyn Monroe was among one of the first to don the scandalous look, making its appearance at John F. Kennedy’s birthday party. Marilyn’s dress was her accomplice as she delivered one of the most iconic renditions of the birthday song to date. The dress was originally designed by Jean Louis and cost Marilyn $1,440 but is now worth $4.8 million. It came as no surprise that the next person to wear this historical piece at this past year's Met Gala was none other than Kim Kardashian: our modern-day Marilyn.
We’ve seen many other celebrities rock the naked dress in their own ways on red carpets and runways. In 2015, Rihanna styled a crystal Swarovski gown at the CFDA Fashion Awards. That same year, Beyonce rocked her Givenchy dress on the steps of the Met Gala. More recently, Florence Pugh wore a pink tool Valentino gown to the Valentino fashion show in Italy that clearly exposed her breasts. She faced much backlash in the media for “freeing the nip'' to which she quickly responded to the trolls. “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. It makes me wonder what happened to you to be so content on being so loudly upset by the size of my boobs and body…?” Florence is one of many voices demanding more from society and reprimanding its hatred of body-confident women. I think we need to take her words to heart and truly ask ourselves why we feel the need to tear down women that don’t fit in our idea of the “ideal” body type. Maybe then, we will recognize this internal misogyny and begin to uplift women of all body types who show off their curves to piercings to birthmarks to back rolls to tattoos to cellulite, and everything in between.
It’s no secret that sex sells and looks like these have become the red carpet norm, yet many women are still faced with backlash. The resurgence of the naked dress reflects the body positivity and acceptance that Hollywood and the general media have been lacking for years. The naked dress encourages women to be comfortable in their own skin and accessorize with things already on our bodies, like nipples and tattoos. While the naked dress has limited implications in everyday wear, I wouldn’t be surprised if we took a page out of Carrie’s book (literally!) and began rocking sheer, satin dresses on dates in the years to come.