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We may be in the big year of 2021, but we’re getting all our fashion #inspo from the 90s and Y2K.
Yes, while us millennials are officially considered past it because we actually lived through the nineties and noughties, it seems our Gen Z counterparts are keen to bring back some of the very worst of that era.
We’ve seen chunky highlights put in our hair and low-rise jeans sneak back into our wardrobes when we thought we’d seen the last of them, and now it seems the youth of today are bringing back belly-button piercings.
Yep, remember those cute little studs everyone had in their navel when they were about 14? It was the ultimate symbol of coolness in our teenage years, as we channelled Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera by showing off our taught stomachs and tiny piercings.
As much as it was the height of the ultimate 90s/00s cool girl, navel rings seemingly fell out of fashion as we got older – perhaps the popularity of high-waisted jeans and more baggy attire meant we no longer constantly had our midriff on show.
But a cursory look towards TikTok only confirms our worst fears that the navel piercing is back with a bang. Videos tagged with the #bellypiercing have over 241.7 million views, with many people showing off their newly adorned navels.
Service manager of piercing studio Metal Morphosis, Saoirse Flynn, confirmed to Tyla there’s been a significant rise in navel piercings in their studios.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in people requesting navel piercings. They’ve become very popular recently, after almost having been almost forgotten about over the last few years,” she explained.
“The average age for navel piercings at the moment is between 18-25 years so it skews quite young.”
Saoirse added that celebrity influence always contributes to the rise of piercings, and many stars popular with Gen Z are boasting a belly ring – from Normani to Billie Eilish, even Hailey Bieber have shown off their pierced navels.
“Most piercings go out of style for a few years and then make a comeback, just like fashion trends tend to circle back round,” Saoirse said. “The septum piercing is a great example of this.
“It’s hard to tell exactly what causes these changes but the resurgence of ‘90s style and the e-girl aesthetic could well be an influence – crop tops are back and so are belly piercings.”
The body-positive movement, which has seen bodies of all sizes been celebrated and accepted in society, may also be a contributing factor to the rise of the belly-button piercing. You now no longer have to be rake thin to show off your navel piercing, and more and more people are opting for decorative midriffs (as they should be).
“The more confident people feel in their own skin, the more likely they are to adorn it, celebrate is and draw attention to it,” Saorise added. “The body positive movement has definitely had a hand in helping people celebrate their stomachs and show them off so it stands to reason that the rise in navel piercings is related. We love to see it.”
So if you’re thinking of reliving your misspent youth and getting your belly-button pierced, Saorise has some tips to help the piercing heel properly.
“The best way to look after your navel piercing is to treat it twice a day with a sterile saline solution,” she said. “Navel piercings heal relatively slowly compared to other piercings so they require a fair bit of patience before you can them off perfect healed.
“For the first few weeks swimming and sunbathing should be avoided as chlorine and sun exposure can irritate the skin and cause infection. Go easy and don’t remove the jewellery until you’ve totally healed.
“You’ll also want to stick to body-safe jewellery when you do decide to switch things up so opt for medical-grade surgical steel, titanium or gold to ensure you’re being as kind as possible to your body.”
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