Belly chains are back... but can you stomach it?

·3-min read
 (ES)
(ES)

Flip-flops, bikini, SPF… check. Passport… check. Belly chain… wait, what? Yep, you heard right. If you’re in the market for a summer ’22 wardrobe that’s bang on the money, you’ll need to pack a little body bling in that suitcase.

They were last popular in the early Noughties when the likes of Christina Aguilera paired a belly chain with low-slung patchwork jeans at the 2001 VMAs, and Shakira jiggled her hips (the ones that never lied) on stage at the 2006 MTV video music awards with lashings of body chains atop her pink sari-inspired crop top.

And now belly chains, along with other Y2K obsessions (heeled flip flops, Juicy Couture tracksuits, wraparound shades and cargo pants), are well and truly back for 2022, with global fashion shopping platform Lyst noting searches for “body jewellery” and “body chains” up 48 per cent month on month.

The trend first tiptoed into our style consciousness last summer on the toned torsos of next gen stars such as Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, who accessorised their skimpy bikinis with chic tummy tinsel. It has been given momentum of late by Rihanna’s extravagantly blinged out baby bump.

 (Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by)
(Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by)

“With nostalgic details from the Nineties and Noughties dominating everywhere from the catwalk to Coachella it was not long before belly chains were on our radar,” says Laura Costello, senior buying manager at London jewellery label Astrid & Miyu, which just debuted three stomach-centric styles as part of its new summer collection: one made from coloured beads, one a chunky gold chain with a dangling freshwater pearl and the third a simple twisted gold chain that can, says Costello, “even be worn underneath apparel with cut-out detailing for a just a hint of sparkle”.

 (Anni Lu)
(Anni Lu)

Indeed, while three in five shoppers (according to Lyst) are adding body chains to their baskets alongside swimwear, there are other equally lovely ways to wear them.

“We love to style belly chains with skirts, trousers, swimsuits and crop tops… or even wear them as necklaces. They instantly accelerate an outfit,” says Greek jewellery designer Hermina Athens who launched her brand in 2012 and dropped her first belly chains last year.

 (@lucywilliams)
(@lucywilliams)

“I think what is really appealing is that body jewellery accentuates a femininity,” says the designer, whose most popular style is a gold link chain with a large dangling baroque pearl that looks just as lovely slung over a silky slip dress or belting a white shirt as it does hugging bronzed hips.

A search on Asos returns a whopping 50 styles (10 of which are designated as belly bling for the boys), while Urban Outfitters has noticed a 20 per cent rise in searches on last month.

 (Astrid & Miyu)
(Astrid & Miyu)

Along with Astrid & Miyu and Hermina Athens, Anni Lu and Missoma also stock sweet pearly and beaded demi-fine options for sub-£100, or for an investment look to Alighieri and Rosie Fortescue’s full body chains (£495 and £140, respectively) or Rihanna’s favourite Jacquie Aiche, whose diamond-encrusted belly bounty will set you back the thick end of £10,000 — if you can stomach it.

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