Fitness is no longer a chore, but a religion. A toned midriff is the hallmark of the truly dedicated. Abs were born in 2001 between Britney Spears’s performance of I’m a slave 4 U at the MTV Awards with a diamond in the belly button and an albino Burmese Python around the neck. The imperial period Sex and the City in which Carrie Bradshaw wore, along other hipbone-baring looks like a green and white belt around the waist to match her skirt that hung low from the hips and framed several inches of her flat stomach. Between these two cultural moments, desirable abdominal muscles became more defined and hardened. Britney is muscular and lean, but her stomach has a slight curve. This suggests pliability. A few months later, Carrie’s abdominals look like they were made by Michelangelo.
The age of the abdominal is upon us. Flat stomachs are not the best, so obliques with visible ridges and obliques will do. The stunning topography of Lopez’s lower ribcage was the highlight of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s Instagram Official visit this summer. Cristiano Ronaldo can do 142 sit ups in 45 seconds. Cher, 75, can plank for five minute. Keep up the pace, as the bare midriff no longer is just for the beach. It was the awards season’s hottest look. Valentino, an Italian fashion house that excels in creating red-carpet dresses that reflect the fashion zeitgeist and chic Italian fashion houses, dressed Carey Mulligan as Zendaya in floor-sweeping Oscar gowns. These were basically long skirts with fancy bikini tops. Michaela Coel displayed a subtle hint of elegance in her neon Christopher John Rogers dress at the Emmys. Zendaya’s abs were adorned in sunshine-yellow silk chiffon by Mulligan, and looked like melted coins.
Fitness has gone from being a chore to becoming a religion. If you don’t believe that, then you haven’t been SoulCycle. Abdominals are the hallmark of the truly religious. Yoga, pilates and barre are just a few of the trendy workouts that have been popularized in recent decades. They all emphasize a toned middle. Jane Fonda would probably swap her leotards in favor of a bra top or leggings if she was starting an aerobics business today. Although abdominals are trendy, they aren’t frivolous. Strong cores improve posture, stabilize your joints and protect your back. Cheer, the cult film that follows the cheerleading fortunes at Navarro College, combines two modern obsessions – Netflix and abs – to create a captivating package.
Fitness gave us abs with perfect timing. Popular culture used to be all about sex, with female bodies being pressed into meaty slabs to please patriarchal red-blooded tastes. Although it would be nice to say society has become more inclusive and places equal value on all human bodies, this would be absurd. It is more accurate to say fashion approaches sex with caution, as if trying to avoid getting their heads bitten. Abs are healthy and attractive, but they are also very hot.
You can choose to stay covered and opt out of the absrace. It’s kinda true. The rise of the long, body-skimming, long-sleeved dress has been driven by our love for a sexy midsection. This look is best worn by The Vampire’s Wife but can be seen all over. This elegant look is based on its slim silhouette and narrow, slender middle.
High-waisted trousers with a high waist are more accommodating to a soft stomach than, for example, a white shirt worn loosely and low-rise jeans. Maybe we are at peak abs. There’s still a while before bikini season comes around again. All my fingers are crossed.