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Belly Button Rings Are Back, At Least According to Vogue

Photo: Driely S.

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here. fashion news writer Liana Satenstein is making a case for the resurgence of the belly button ring. In her personal essay, she cites the '90s, crop tops, and Aaliyah, but kind of glosses over the whole 2000s era of naval piercings except for a Britney dig: "Up until now, I have managed to ignore the protestations of my friends, including the one who showed me a less-than-flattering recent photo of Britney Spears with Starbucks in tow, sans the hyper-toned physique of her nineties pop heyday." (Hey, leave Britney alone.)

The idea that belly button rings are coming back has been around for the past couple years, but here's why Satenstein says she couldn't stop thinking about getting her belly button pierced:

A belly button ring is irreverent—an insouciant, proverbial symbol for "whatever," exhibited by your body. Besides, it’s no secret the nineties are back. Every Instagram feed I follow has some sort of cheeky Clueless or Kate Moss–and–Naomi Campbell reference in its midst. And speaking of Campbell, she and Christy Turlington walked the runway with bejeweled abdomens in the early nineties. Not to mention that almost every cool girl of the time had a navel piercing, too: There’s Gwen Stefani, the era’s fearless stage diver, and Rose McGowan, the moody chick everyone still wants to be. Even the wildly smoldering Fiona Apple—and she strung a body chain through hers!

So Satenstein reports from the front lines of fashion body piercing at New York Adorned, where her piercer Cassi tells her that gold hoop belly button rings are in and barbells are out. "Women are refitting their old piercings with thin gold rings, which keep the look a bit more subtle," Cassi said.

How does the belly button ring go over at the office? "At the last minute, I throw on a high-waisted pencil skirt—something I would normally never wear—in place of my favorite knotted tee and hip-grazing jeans in an effort to subconsciously negate (or in this case, hide) the strip mall associations of my umbilical bauble," Satenstein writes about her first day with the belly button ring. She changed her tune by the end of the week, though.

The tiny semipermanent accessory has given me a strange shock of confidence: Unlike pre-pierced me, I find myself standing up a little straighter, now unafraid of my exposed midriff, and doing more crunches to tone up. The next week, I let it peek out from under a hacked-off shirt on three dates—and even go for a run through Central Park in my sports bra. After all, a belly button ring is for showing, not hiding. And I’m letting mine shine—even in 2015.