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What Does This $700 Shirt Have in Common With All Art Ever?

Warning: There are a lot of boobs in this post.

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Yesterday, I noticed a new shirt on Net-a-Porter that caused me immediate alarm. Not because of its nearly $700 price tag — the shirt is Alexander Wang and it’s made of a lovely pink satin and also, this is Net-a-Porter, and shirts cost $700 here. And not even because since I began writing this post, the shirt has already sold out.

No: The shirt caused me alarm because it looks exactly like every single work of art in the entire Western canon.

This shirt looks like the biblical figure Rebecca:

Rebecca at the Well (1848), Francesco Hayez
Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images

It looks like the biblical figure Mary Magdalene:

The Magdalene (1654-1719), Gian Gioseffo dal Sole
Photo: De Agostini/Getty Images

It looks like the biblical figure Judith:

Judith I (1901), Gustav Klimt
Photo: De Agostini/Getty Images

It looks like Lady Justice:

Justice (late 17th century)
Photo: Ashmolean Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

It looks like Liberty leading the people:

Liberty Leading the People (1830), Eugene Delacroix
Photo: Corbis via Getty Images

It looks like Cleopatra:

Engraving of a portrait of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt (1808-1897), John Sartain
Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It looks like Agnes Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII:

Portrait of Agnes Sorel after Jean Fouquet
Photo: Corbis via Getty Images

It looks like this woman:

Woman on the Sofa (1883-1884), Giuseppe De Nittis
Photo: Mondadori via Getty Images

And this woman:

Young woman with fur (1535)
Photo: Imagno/Getty Images

And this woman:

Meditation (1851), Francesco Hayez
Photo: Mondadori via Getty Images

And this woman:

Gabrielle with Jewelry (1910), Pierre Auguste Renoir
Photo: Corbis via Getty Images

And this woman:

Young Woman (1477-1510), Giorgione
Photo: Corbis via Getty Images

And this woman:

Woman with a black hat (1908), Felix Vallotton
Photo: UIG via Getty Images

In short, this shirt has captured something seemingly inherent in the human condition: that artists love it when women have one breast covered and one exposed.

Why? There are a lot of possible reasons besides simple voyeurism, from breasts acting as an external symbol of the female heart in Italian art, or to connote breastfeeding and motherhood. In some cases, like that of Judith, the exposed breast is a depiction of the story in which she seduces (and then decapitates) the evil soldier Holofernes. In others, it may be a sign of vulnerability — a woman in such an emotional state that she “cannot attend to her dress or in other ways discourage the potentially less-than-pious thoughts of those who gaze upon her.”

Yet the motif doesn’t solely apply to art — not one but two of our most important living musicians have worn this exact look IRL. And now, thanks to this shirt, you too can place yourself in the storied lineage of women with just one boob out while also abiding by your city’s toplessness laws. Should you wish to buy it, there are still a precious few sizes left at Alexander Wang. Even better news: It also comes in dress form.