I don't, and yet for a long time -- pretty much the entire first half of the Twentieth Century — American navels, both male and female, were expected to be kept covered in public. You've probably all heard that even in the 1960's, Barbara Eden was not allowed to display hers on I Dream of Jeannie.
Is a visible navel too vivid a reminder that we were all delivered of a womb — as opposed to dropped off by a stork — and therefore, somehow, too carnal?
I've been contemplating navels — my own in particular — because I recently received this vintage Jantzen bathing suit I won on eBay, and it is cut to be worn above the navel -- or at least at true waist height, which on my body is essentially at my belly button. I really like the fit, but I look like an extra from A Summer Place and I'm not sure I'd wear this in public.
The suit is in great shape, however, and beautifully constructed.
While many women have embraced the retro two-piece swimsuit, with its high-waisted bottom half, you never see a man in a swimsuit cut that high. Men will wear many different swimsuit lengths, but the top of the suit always sits at the hip, or even slightly below it. Which is flattering on some men, but really, how many?
Way back when, even when you saw a peek of belly button, the basic fit was at — or very near — waist level. At least here in the USA.
So maybe it's a waist issue. American men no longer wear their pants at true waist — with the exception of traditional suit pants (usually held in place by suspenders) -- and I'm not sure they ever will again. Not on the beach, at any rate.
Readers, how did this happen? You can't blame jeans: traditional cowboy jeans are quite high-waisted. Was it a hippie thing that just stuck?
Have you ever seen a man on the beach (or at a pool) in a high-waisted (at-or-above the navel) swimsuit — who wasn't your grandfather?
How do you feel about exposing your navel in public?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!