You’re standing in front of a dressing room mirror wearing the cutest summer clubbing dress you’ve ever seen. It hugs your curves in all the right places, and you already know what shoes you’d wear with it. Sure, it’s the perfect dress, and you’ve been shopping for hours searching for something to wear to your best friend’s birthday party, but you can’t help but remember the countless bad experiences you’ve had with strapless dresses.
Remember your cousin’s wedding when you missed the bouquet toss because you were too busy making sure your boobs weren’t falling out of your dress? Or that other time— wait, this dress is 40% off? That settles it— you’re buying it! And this dress’ neckline seems more secure than the last dresses... right?
You hop out of the Uber and your dress slips down a little, but no biggie! You yank the neckline up and quickly forget about it. Dinner isn’t bad either— just a little adjusting needed, nothing major. But when you hit the bar, disaster strikes.
First, you have a close call during “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Then you start to sweat from dancing too hard, and you can’t go two seconds without having to do the strapless-dress-adjusting-shimmy. You think you’re handling the situation when your friend suddenly pulls you to the side of the room and tells you— oh, no— your dress is a little too low and you’ve been flashing the whole room! After nearly dying of embarrassment, you retreat to an isolated barstool to sit sadly, drink in hand, while the rest of your friends joyfully dance the night away.
We’ve all had a strapless dress or low-cut top incident like this. Known commonly as the (dreaded) nip-slip, these incidents occur when an unsecured boob escapes from its shirt or dress and reveals an unsuspecting areola to the world, unbeknownst to its owner. If you’re lucky, you’ve never experienced this mortifying event, but if you have, don’t worry— nip slips happen to the best of us. Even celebrities have the occasional nip slip on the red carpet or in front of the paparazzi.
Celebrity Nip Slips
Ah, Nipplegate. The nip slip that started it all.
It was 2004, and Janet Jackson was performing the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. For her last song, she sang “Rock Your Body,” a hit track in collaboration with Justin Timberlake. At the very end of the song, JT appeared to pull off a piece of Jackson’s costume as part of the choreography but accidentally snagged her bra as well, exposing her bare chest (and a piece of nipple jewelry) to 89 million viewers on live national television.
The backlash was immediate and immense, with CBS receiving hundreds of thousands of complaints from its viewers over the “wardrobe malfunction,” costing the station over $500,000. MTV, who produced Jackson’s show, was blacklisted from future Super Bowls, causing the popular music video channel to in turn blacklist Jackson from their airwaves. Gossip news outlets and early morning talk shows had a field day discussing the Jackson scandal, which they dubbed “Nipplegate,” and the negative publicity briefly affected Jackson’s career for a few years. Timberlake’s career, on the other hand, flourished as he released his most successful album following the scandal.
Even though it only lasted half a second, Nipplegate went down in history as by far the most high-profile nip slip scandal in history.
Though not as famous as Nipplegate, Britney Spears’ multiple 2018 nip slips beat Jackson’s in both length and frequency. During her Piece of Me tour, Spears’ costume black bra slipped down a little too low during a dance number. Spears, unaware of the wardrobe malfunction, continued performing for another two minutes.
Only ten days later during her New York show, Spears’ top slipped again, but this time she was wearing a black nipple cover. Smart!
In 2017, Bella Hadid walked in the second Victoria’s Secret Fashion show of her career, this time in Shanghai, China. Most of the show went smoothly for the supermodel, but during the final walk when all the Victoria’s Secret Angels strutted the catwalk together, Hadid decided to throw her arms up in celebration, revealing a little more than she intended.
When social media icon and supermodel Chrissy Teigen posted a video of herself getting a spray tan to her Snapchat Story, she didn’t expect to receive a flood of Tweets telling her to take the video down. Her fans were trying to warn Teigen that, though she had tried to cover her chest with her arms, one of her nipples was fully visible in the clip. Teigen didn’t see the Tweets, but her assistant quickly swooped in to delete the video from her Snapchat.
Later, Teigen Tweeted a hilarious screenshot of a panicked text from her assistant informing her that her nipple was “fully out.” Teigen responded to the exaggerated panic with a video sarcastically saying, “I just wanna apologize to everyone I know. I’ve let my friends down, I’ve let my family down. I have nipples. It’s not something I’m proud of”. No one owns a nip slip like Chrissy Teigen!
+1 Anti Nip Slip: Rihanna
Is a nip slip still a nip slip if it was intentional?
During the 2014 CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc.) Awards, Rihanna donned a very sheer Adam Selman dress composed of fishnet fabric and 216,000 Swarovski crystals. Reporters, attendees, and the media were shocked at Rihanna’s bold fashion choice, many going as far as to accuse her of objectifying herself by wearing such a skimpy dress.
In fact, a reporter asked Rihanna if she was planning on wearing the dress to the afterparty as well, implying that it was too revealing to leave the red carpet. Rihanna responded in kind, saying, “Yes, I am! Why, my tits bother you? They’re covered— in Swarovski crystals, girl!”
Rihanna casually rocking uncovered nipples inspired many celebrities to be more comfortable wearing sheer, braless tops. However, not everyone is as confident showing their bare chest in public. For those of us who still want to leave a little to the imagination, there are a few products that can give us extra protection against nip slips.
How To Avoid The Nip Slip
If you’re not familiar with fashion tape, it’s a revealing dress wearer’s best-kept secret— strips of sturdy, double-sided tape that are nearly invisible once placed under clothes. Secure one side of the tape to the garment’s hem and the other side to the area of skin where you want the fabric to stay, and you’re good to go!
Hollywood Secrets Medical Quality Double Stick Fashion Tape
$10 at the time of publication
These strips of fashion tape from the brand Hollywood Fashion Secrets are clear, medical-grade, and hypoallergenic, meaning you don’t have to worry about nasty rashes or red spots where the tape touches your skin. It also claims to leave no sticky residue on your clothes and can be used to secure your side boobs, cleavage, or gapping button-ups.
Buy this fashion tape at amazon.com.
Nipple covers, a.k.a. pasties, are small adhesive cloth or silicone covers meant to hide your nipples when wearing particularly revealing clothing. Because they are typically nude-colored, they allow the wearer to wear sheer clothing without a bra for a smooth appearance. They can also be used as a final layer of protection against nip slips when worn in addition to fashion tape.
Nudwear Daisies Waterproof Nipple Covers
$22 at the time of publication
These nipple covers from Nudwear are adhesive-backed and made of silicone. They have 3.5-inch circumferences (for all nipple sizes!) and are available in two shades, light and dark. Also, the pasties’ edges are so thin that they are virtually undetectable underneath even the sheerest of clothing!
Buy these nipple covers at shopbop.com.
Sure, pasties are easy to use, but what if you want a little more support? You can’t wear a real bra with tube tops because the straps will show, and even strapless bras won’t work with low-plunge or backless tops. Luckily, there are several varieties of sticky bras out there that will give you both coverage and support.
“Unplunge” Backless Strapless Underwire Bra
$36 at the time of publication
This sticky bra from Nordstrom allows you to wear any type of dress— from strapless to backless to everything in between! It even accommodates extremely low-plunge tops and dresses thanks to its deep neckline. This sticky bra comes in two shades and will last for 25 wears!
Buy this sticky bra at shop.nordstrom.com.