Could Small Breasts Make a Comeback?

Notes from the fashion apocalypse.
Jan. 19 2012 2:32 PM

The Return of the Pert Knocker

Could small breasts make a comeback?

Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara, the girl who could revive the popularity of small breasts.

© 2011 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.

The larger boob became the norm around the turn of the century, and it shows no signs of deflating. Radical rack augmentation is now ubiquitous, and to hell with the consequences. So what if you knock yourself unconscious while running to catch the bus? So what if you can’t fit into any trendy clothes because your waist is a zero but your bazongas are the size and weight of cantaloupes? It’s worth it to be the focus of male attention. Right?

Simon Doonan Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

An aggressively burgeoning trend in restaurants—foodie insiders are already calling them breastaurants—is playing directly into this craze for mammoth mammaries. Examples include Seattle-based Chicka Latte, where the waitresses are dressed as firefighters, cheerleaders and racecar drivers, and The Tilted Kilt, which has more than fifty—count ‘em!—locations nationwide plus one in Canada. And then there’s the Pink Taco… But let’s not get distracted by vagaurants. Let’s stick with the topic at hand: With their phalanxes of liberally endowed bikini-clad serving wenches, these breastablishments are poised to make even old-school Hooters appear tentative, restrained, and genteel, to mention nothing of causing my feminist counterculture sister to have a seizure. 

Despite the worldwide embrace of enormous knockers, I remain convinced that the pendulous pendulum will, at some point, begin to swing in the other direction. Style is, after all, cyclical in nature. I know what you are thinking: Only a gay man could seriously posit the notion that big boobs might “go out of fashion.” However, being d’un certain age, I am old enough to remember when tiny titties roamed the Earth.

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Wobbly screen. Let’s go back.

It’s the late 1960s. I am at the movie theater with a bunch of my straight school chums, none of whom are aware of my disinterest in women’s bits and all of whom are breast-obsessed. We are here to see Performance, a trendy, louche movie starring Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, and Michele Breton as three drug-addled funsters who while away their bohemian Notting Hill lives in various sexual triangulations. There is no shortage of nudity. At one point Mick and his two playthings splash about in the bath. While I try desperately to catch a glimpse of Mick’s bottie, my pals focus on the chests of the two ladies. Later, at the pub, my dude pals kvelled enthusiastically about Pallenberg’s modest knockers. Special praise was reserved for Breton’s pert, little, no-brassiere-needed appendages. As far as my pals were concerned, boulder boobs were for barmaids and strippers. Cool girls like Twiggy, Ali McGraw, Mia Farrow, and the above-mentioned degenerates were all highly desirable, despite being small of tit.

Images of Mademoiselle Breton’s boobies came flooding back on a recent trip to the cinema. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is, as those of you have seen it will be painfully aware, intermittently enlivened with startling bursts of no-holds-barred sado-masochistic porn. Whenever the narrative starts flagging, off come the clothes, and here come Rooney Mara’s modest, well-shaped natural chests. 

During the non-porn, fully clothed segments of the movie, I found myself speculating as to whether the ferociously compelling Miss Mara, with her uninflated mammaries, might possess the power to usher out the era of the porno-hooter? Can she put the natural knocker back up where it belongs? Might The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo repopularize the smaller breast, or Bristol, as it is known in the Cockney rhyming slang of my homeland? (Bristol City = tittie.)

My optimistic speculations fizzled—a bit like the elastic in a vintage Frederick’s of Hollywood brassiere—when a broadly read pal apprised me of the following fact: In The Girl Who Played With Fire, one of the subsequent volumes, Stieg Larsson’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander, avails herself of a boob job!

I realize that, as far as red-blooded heterosexuals are concerned, there is no issue here. Straight dudes are too busy enjoying the current era of the mega-boob to give a thought to any alternative. In this regard, they are most selfish. After all, lots of women lust after men with tight soccer-player buns, but how many of you pudgy straight guys would willingly undergo surgery to achieve this effect for your lady’s delectation?

At the end of the day, health concerns may well cut the cackle. The New York Times recently ran a story about the recall of thousands of dodgy, leaky implants. French health authorities have advised 30,000 women to explant those suspect implants ASAP. Similar warnings have followed in Germany and the Netherlands.

But let’s not end on such a downer. I much prefer a perky up-note. With that in mind, I give you my current fave breastaurant chain name: Twin Peaks. Feel free to one-up me in the comments with a well-monikered breastaurant from your neighborhood, or your own imagination.

Bon appétit!

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