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Rihanna has a few, and fashion's latest It-Girl Bella Hadid wore one to Coachella. But despite their current takeover, there's something about bra chains (not to be mistaken with body harnesses) that distinctly channels early 2000s glamour: I'm talking about the crystal-embellished bra that R&B goddess Aaliyah donned in her "Try Again" music video, or the rhinestone versions Destiny's Child wore to the 2000 Source Hip Hop Awards.
Maybe that's why I love them so much. Because even though I know they'll soon be co-opted by fast fashion stores and tweens at music festivals, it's one of the only ways I can relive the glory days of my youth — when I was a little too young to emulate the iconic diamond blouse Beyoncé wore on her 2003 debut album cover for Dangerously in Love.
Admittedly, today's versions are a bit more subtle, worn either under a loose tank top or on top of a form-fitting jersey dress. They're practically an ideal summer staple, especially for those of us who aren't necessarily well-endowed in the boob department or who don't feel the need to wear an actual bra. We talked to two jewelry designers, Jacquie Aiche and Haati Chai's Stella Simona, who are doing bra chains and doing them well.
Jacquie Aiche 'Sama & Haya' diamond halter bra, $4,690.
If you want to talk serious #JewelryGoals, then we must discuss the designer Jacquie Aiche. Maybe it's her rebellious approach to fine jewelry (pavé diamond weed finger bracelets, anyone?) or her insanely cool line-up of A-list campaign models (like Emily Ratajkowski and Behati Prinsloo), but Aiche knows a thing or two about making a damn good bra chain.
"Body jewelry has always been a Jacquie Aiche staple. It has been a huge part of the line since the beginning, but we have been getting a lot more attention lately with the launch of the halter bra," Aiche tells us. "I think more and more women are becoming obsessed with them because of how they make you feel. It is something personal, it makes you feel feminine, beautiful, and sexy."
Aiche describes the new trend as having the same effect as lingerie, but better because you never have to take it off. Take her Sama & Haya halter bra for example. It's so dainty, you'll forget that you'e wearing it. Well, that is until you realize it's a literal 14K gold masterpiece embedded with seven mini diamonds. If you're racking your brain on how you'd wear it, Aiche has a tip:
"All the time, under your clothes. That's part of the obsession," she says.
It's like a secret. An expensive, albeit, beautiful secret.
Haati Chai's founder and jewelry designer, Stella Simona, designed her first bra chain when she began her line back in 2011. "The inspiration was definitely my cultural background. I am East Indian and body jewelry like this is not a new concept to us," Simona says.
Her ability to merge traditional East Indian influences with more contemporary designs is what makes her jewelry feel so personal. It's why you'll probably get attached to more than a few of her pieces if you browse the Haati Chai website.
Simona's bra chains are just another way for the designer to shine a light on her customers's confident personalities. "Individuals want fashion with their personality in mind. Women don't see a body chain and think, 'Oh, this is just for the summer to wear with a bathing suit,'" Simona says. "Bras are being worn with crop tops, styled with plunging necklines, with lingerie — the possibilities are endless."
While Haati Chai's body chains and chokers already have quite a few celebrity fans, like Jhené Aiko and Kylie Jenner, her bra chains are quickly growing in popularity as well. There's the Naya, a delicate 24K gold-filled version with Swarovski crystals, and the Elina with adjustable straps and turquoise stone accents. There's also the Faye, Simona's favorite.
"Its a very delicate piece — perfect for everyday. You can transition it into a layered look with additional pieces or keep it simple," says Simona.
Shop Similar Styles:
(Clockwise from top left) Lili Clapse 'Bella' bralette, $105; Lili Clapse 'Brigitte,' $150; Vanessa Mooney 'The Farrah' diamond metal bikini in gold, $180; Vanessa Mooney 'The Bardot' chain bikini in silver, $115.