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It’s one thing to see stars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna proudly strutting down the red carpet with nothing covering their breasts but nipple pasties. But it’s an entirely different thing when nipple covers are now becoming a mainstream fashion trend in the music festival scene. While we’re thrilled to see this happen, we’re a little curious as to how this all started.

Before anything else, allow us to answer the question “What are pasties?”. Nipple pasties are small fabric patches that come in different shapes and sizes. They’re basically only big enough to cover the areola. They’re the perfect solution to backless dresses and super low necklines. You can choose from a wide variety of designs (and themes! Unicorns, anyone?) or you can go for the safe nude petal pasty.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about breast pasties and then decide if you fit right into this latest fashion trend!

What are Breast Pasties Made of?

The materials used for making pasties primarily depends on the design and manufacturer. A pasties bra and nude nipple covers, for example, are usually made from silicone covered with either polyester or cotton fabric. The inner lining is often rubberized with a non-residue adhesive.

Pasties with designs, on the other hand, have a lot more materials going into them. They’re usually embellished with glitters, sequins, faux crystals and jewels, and of course, tassels. Fully embellished pasties are heavier than the simple ones so it is important to make sure you use a really good adhesive when you put them on. You wouldn’t want to be part of the Nipplegate movement now, would you?

Despite their size, pasties can last you quite a while if you know how to take care of them. Pasties with medical grade glue shouldn’t be washed with soap because that will ruin the adhesive. All you need to do is wash them with water and air dry. If you wear the silicone pasties, those can and should be washed with hand soap and water. Your body sweat, odor, lotion, body oil, etc will stick to the silicone and make it less sticky the next time you wear them. Washing them with a mild soap will remove the residue and make them sticky for next time.

Uses of Nipple Pasties

There are two types of pasties – practical and decorative. Okay, that’s not what they’re really called but we’re going with that.

The practical nipple covers (as we’re calling it) are as simple as they come. They’re not covered in lace or glitter, but rather a simple nude tone. They can come in a variety of materials such as suede, felt, satin, or silicone. You can wear them under a sheer blouse or bra but they’re more often worn along with backless tops. Bustier women prefer pasties bras because these offer a little more lift and coverage.

Decorative pasties are an outfit on its own. Some women, like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, wear them underneath mesh dresses, while others just throw a jacket over their shoulder and head out to party the night away.

The History of Nipple Pasties

burlesque performer, 1920's burlesque performer

The inspiration for nipple stickers came to the US in 1893 when exotic performers from the East were invited to perform at the World Fair. Among these performers were belly dancers who wore metal breastplates which were adorned with crystals. Circus stage acts quickly started adopting the look and in just a couple of years, bejeweled breastplates became a common sight on stage.

Meanwhile in Paris, it was the 1920s and burlesque shows were becoming extremely popular. Costumes for this type of show are a mixture of feathers, tassels, sparkles, and different types of sexy lingerie. A LOT OF LINGERIE! When they got tired of bejeweled breastplates, they decided it was time to spice things up and thus the birth of boob pasties! Of course, there’s also the fact that French regulations prevented burlesque dancers from completely baring their breasts to the audience and nipple stickers seemed to be the perfect workaround.

If you’ve never seen a burlesque show, you should! It’s music, satire, comedy, dance, a striptease, and sexy sparkling lingerie all rolled into one. It’s a cultural experience that anyone should partake in at least once in their lives.

News of the latest costume trend in the Parisian burlesque community soon made its way back to the US and the American counterpart of course, followed suit. Soon, the first pasties evolved from being simple covers to tasseled ones and eventually, realistic looking ones. Remember, laws on nudity were still a little blurry back then so even though some of the pasties looked exactly like nipples, they got away with it because the real things were technically covered.

In the decades that followed, boob pasties became a huge part of the burlesque world. It was eventually also adopted by strippers. However, since it was still quite a conservative era, no one was ever seen wearing pasties in public. On top of this, burlesque shows and strip clubs were still considered taboo so no one really talked about going to one and pasties remained as the secret that everyone knew about.

But then the late 90’s happened…

Nipple Pasties Today

One of the most popular burlesque dancers, Dita Von Teese, took the world by storm when she decided it was time to take the secret realm of burlesque to concert halls all over the world --- with this, nipple pasties also became mainstream.

It first started when celebrities started wearing nipple petals underneath super low cut or see through tops, some were even brave enough to go out on the red carpet with a pasties-covered breast exposed through their dress (hello, Nicki Minaj!).

But one of the most iconic pasties “appearances” was in 2004 when Janet Jackson experienced a wardrobe malfunction during her half-time performance at the Superbowl. It caused quite a spectacle because one of her breasts was exposed on live TV where more than half of America was tuned-in. Janet Jackson’s camp explained that it was completely unintentional and that she was actually wearing nipple pasties underneath her jacket, but it somehow came off during the performance. Nevertheless, more people learned about the existence of nipple covers because of the incident.

As the years went by, more and more celebs started wearing pasties during public appearances and pretty soon, social media fashion and beauty influencers started getting into the trend. This is what really launched nipple pasties into stardom. High-end fashion designers began using pasties in fashion shows to complement the sheer outfit for decorative purpose. As designers, celebrities, and Instagram influencers began incorporating nipple pasties into their ‘everyday’ fashion, pasties have increased in popularity. They have also created a new line of fashion for sheer and see through tops, since they were hard to bring to market without a solution for covering nipples.

With the rave and festival scene setting the trend on pasties, we don’t see them going away anytime soon. If you’re new to nipple pasties and you want to go braless next time you go out, try a pair of high quality breast petals that are basic. They’ll introduce you to braless attire and make you comfortable with the concept. From there, the pasties market is full of endless designs that you can try!

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August 18, 2018 — Sheila