The world of fashion is never boring, but sometimes the latest trends can seem a little bit too extreme, especially if we’re talking about harnesses. Maybe you’re not sure how to pull it off without looking like a domesticated farm animal.
Or, maybe you associate harnesses with a risqué vibe beyond your comfort zone. No matter where you fall when it comes to harnesses, keep reading for some fun and unconventional ways to style them.
What are Harnesses?
What better way to learn the basics of this style accessory than Zana Bayne, a Brooklyn-based designer who’s responsible for the harnesses we saw on Prabal’s runway. Even Lady Gaga and her backup dancers wore Bayne’s harnesses during a performance on “Saturday Night Live” back in May of 2016.
According to Bayne, “In its most basic form, a harness is a series of belts. Harnesses can be great ways to exaggerate a cinched waist, or draw the eye to a particular part of the body.”
In short, harnesses take the traditional belt up a notch. And instead of simply tracing the waistline, harnesses can accent certain areas of the torso or chest.
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Why Wear Harnesses?
Harnesses are truly an accessory. They don’t really serve a functional purpose in the traditional sense. But they certainly function as a statement piece that can completely change an outfit.
You can add them to a dressy suit for added interest. You can combine them with fishnet tights to amp up an alternative vibe. You can even pair them with simple tees to raise an eyebrow.
It’s worth giving harnesses a try, especially if you’ve written them off for good. As a Montreal-based designer, Angie Johnson, says, “People who don’t understand them think they’re crazy,” But give them a try and you might like them! Especially if you’re used to adding some edge to your girly look. As Johnson says, they’re “good for girls who like to mix the edgy and feminine.”
Style Inspiration for Harnesses
How exactly are you supposed to style a harness? You can create so many different looks with them. So, here are some fun style categories that you can explore with your harness.
Historical Game of Thrones
Layer belts around your rib cage. This helps create an attractive hourglass shape by narrowing your waist and drawing attention to your chest area.
Academic School Girl
This basic suspender harness from BCBG adds a strong yet subtle accent to what would otherwise be a bland and maybe even boring outfit, such as jeans and a tee.
Inside Out Bras
Even bras come in harness styles now. And what’s more, you can wear these trendy pieces over your dresses and tops, instead of below them. This can accentuate your chest, and depending on the design of the bra and dress, they can either be subtle or daring. You decide!
If you want to create some allure and mystique, you can wear a harness bra underneath your tops and tees, like fashion blogger, Estee Lalonde does here. By not putting it all out there, people are left to imagine the rest of the details.
If you want to throw a little edge and rocker aesthetic into your otherwise floral and flouncy prints, wear a bold harness. This would be a fashionable way to interpret Stevie Nick’s tender song, “Leather and Lace”.
The next time you want to spice up your bright white tee, wear a black harness over it. The simpler the harness the better. Or, you can wear a darker top, and offset it with a white leather harness. You’ll make a stronger statement this way.
Wild and Free
If you don’t like the harsh feel of multiple leather belts strapped around your torso, designer Mimi Jung has a soft, feminine alternative for you. Her harness, made from rope and agate stone, is gentle, soft and delicate.
Many harnesses are made with many thin belts. But you can also find larger one-pieces, like the Shein Buckle Waist Belt Harness. Thin shoulder straps connect to a bodice-type piece that accents the bust, giving you a medieval, yet modern feel.
Sure, harnesses were originally used to keep things in place. But you don’t have to stick to structured looks. Instead, wear your harness under a casual tee shirt, and pair them with comfortable tracksuit bottoms and a loose cardigan or jean jacket.
High waisted jeans, along with a cute crop top are already a winning outfit. But you can step it up a notch by wearing a simple harness above your tee. Draw attention to your slim waist and create a bolder look.
Some harnesses are complex and symmetrical patterns. Wear them over a solid, figure-hugging top or dress to create an architectural statement.
Body Harness Jewelry
Harnesses don’t have to be leather, rope or any other thick material. You can just as easily wear harnesses that lean more toward jewelry. Body chains can be simple strands, such as the one YouTuber, Amelia Liana, featured in one of her videos.
Body chains can also be as delicate and intricate as a spider’s carefully constructed web. These can be beautiful accents for wedding gowns or other occasion dresses.
Where to Buy Your Harness
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Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank if you want to try this fashionable trend. You can find both harnesses and body chains on ASOS or SheIn. Otherwise, Etsy offers custom made, one of a kind harnesses, too. And larger retailers, such as Amazon and eBay have fun and sexy options to check out as well.
If you’re feeling spendy, top harness designers won’t leave you disappointed. When you see the harnesses created by Alexander Wang, Zana Bayne, Luisa Via Roma, and Jaki Mac, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been wearing harnesses all along.
High Fashion Makes Way for Harnesses
As we mentioned Alexander Wang, you can undoubtedly see that harnesses are not just cool details worn by some fashionistas. In fact, harnesses are making their way into our everyday fashion through amazing high-quality brands such as the ones aforementioned and the brand we have featured on the image above. We are talking about a Zurich-based brand called YVY.
The brand was founded in 2013 and each and every piece is HANDMADE by the brand's team. If you are looking for something more than a mere accessory and value true craftsmanship, then YVY gives you that and much more.
All of their collections are available via their webshop, including the lovely harness which you can see on the images here at Zerxza. We like to support new and upcoming brands that support sustainability and craftsmanship, so be sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram as well.
When it comes to harnesses, there are so many to choose from. No matter what your personal style is, you can probably find the right one for your wardrobe.