LAST weekend, this column was supposed to be devoted to a fashion phenomenon I call the “buddha belly,” but family matters took sway over editor Sam B’s deadline, and said belly had to wait.  This week, let me give that belly some space, albeit love and Valentine’s rule the weekend. 


It is the pop icon Britney Spears who should be credited (or discredited) with the fashion phenomenon, about a decade old now, of the low waist jean band topped by a short top, effectively showing off a wearer’s belly and requisite belly button. She did it with her first single, “Oops, I Did It Again,” gyrating all around a maritime vessel, if I remember right, in said outfit. And the rest… is history. 

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The Britney trend spawned an entire generation of low waist and short top looks. As with any fashion trend, it was followed by scores of women, whether they should have or not. 

I was in college in the 70s. Then, it was fashionable and ideal for a female form to be small-waisted. Our jean tops were on a high waistline, and the waistline standard was to be as small as possible. So female competition was centered around how small your jeans waist size was. I was a 24, and many friends were thereabouts too.  One particular friend was the envy of all – she could actually get into a 23, and without stress. 

Coming from that place, I could appreciate a small-waisted Britney in her belly button outfits – a look that even Star Wars’ Queen Amidala resorted to in battle. So everyone has been and still is in this outfit.


To the point that the small waist has lost all relevance. It has long ceased to matter what your waistline is or looks like. The paradigm is for the jean band to be low, the top high, the belly button and buttocks to show. So anyone and everyone sports this look. I have taken to wearing the low waist because I’m just more comfortable with it at the, uhh, age I’m at. 

As I end this piece, in full view are two 20 something girls, bellies falling over their low waists, more belly bursting out of the low waists, and bottoms bursting out of the back of their jeans. Such is what I call the buddha belly.

The buddha belly strikes me as a rather undisciplined look, as it is worm by many who don’t really care that they burst out of their short tops and tight, low jeans like their abdomens were sections of a sausage where the sausage wrapping was torn. As I view these two 20 somethings, I envy their comfort level with how they look. And how they don’t even begin to think of hesitating to let it all just hang out, a state I’ve had to be double their age and more, even, to get to.


Happy Valentine’s and love to all!