A glance at recent fashion weeks will surely confirm for us all that the harness, usually associated with S&M and bondage, has now filtered into the mainstream as a key fashion accessory. In a fashion sense, a harness can used to reference fetish culture and to gain attention. I bought my first harness from lingerie brand Lascivious a couple of years ago - I rarely wore jewelry and wanted a way to accessorize that was bold and edgy and this did the trick. A cross body harness or a waistcoat style body piece can give great strength to an outfit. A notable example of this was Jason Wu's collection for spring summer 2013 where he placed delicate leather harnesses over beautifully flowing and feminine dresses. Fashion with a little contradiction is always interesting and never boring.
Harnesses look set to remain until the end of the year. Prabal Gurung's collection for autumn winter 2013/14 was a military and bondage inspired line of dresses and separates with torso framing harnesses. It was about empowerment, Gurung explained - with the prints and body pieces inspired by the clothes worn by a women's separatist group. These women in the Ukraine were said to have retreated into the mountains leading a life emulating the mythical Amazons, training in martial arts and pursuing a life free from men, trafficking and oppression.
There is a lovely body armour type feel to wearing a harness too. It perhaps gives a hint of a dual personality - wearing one you are both protected and ready for battle (I believe that a woman can and should be whatever sort of female she want to be, from fluffy and feminine to tough and strong and everywhere in between..)
If you decide this look is for you, my advice would be to play with it. A harness over a dress is a good start. It has a lot of impact, but keep the dress simple, you want to accessory to stand out. Check out Tamzin Lillywhite, Zana Bayne, FYI by Dani Read and Fleet Ilya for different styles to find one that suits you. Some lingerie brands are a great place to explore harness-inspired designs as a first step into this way of accessorizing - like the Tyra cropped tee by Lascivious and the Voyeur harness from Bordelle. Designed to be worn under or over clothes, it's a great place to start.
Since buying my first leather body harness I recently added a leg harness to my collection. The suspender harness from Fleet Ilya is a fantastic way to be very bold with this trend. I love styling this piece over my high waisted jeans and with a fitted tee. Like I said, always interesting, never boring...!