It is perhaps because my bosoms are bursting out of my bra, that a gentleman in genteel Chelsea Green stops in the street, and stands there beaming.
But it may be my nipples that have caught his eye – but actually, they are not mine.
They are just knobs of foam, built into my bra, for I am wearing the Ultimate Nipple Bra from Skims, the fashion brand founded by reality TV tycoon Kim Kardashian.
In an Instagram ad, Kim K explained: ‘I’m introducing a brand new bra with a built-in nipple. So no matter how hot it is, you’ll always look cold. Some days are hard. But these nipples are harder. And unlike the icebergs, these aren’t going anywhere.’
No one needs any help looking cold right now. Everyone is cold, given that it’s winter and the cost of living crisis means many of us are afraid to put the heating on.
So I wouldn’t have thought there’d be much call for clothing that makes you look cold.
However, the Nipple Bra launched on 31st October, and when I looked online just a week later, it had sold out.
London-based journalist Samantha Rea (pictured) tried out the Ultimate Nipple Bra from Skims, the fashion brand founded by reality TV tycoon Kim Kardashian
Samantha, seen wearing the bra, says: ‘Road testing the Nipple Bra myself, I didn’t mind the attention or the comments because none of the men had actually seen my nipples’
Who had bought all the Nipple Bras?
I put a shout out on X, formerly Twitter: ‘WHO IS BUYING KIM KARDASHIAN’S NIPPLE BRA??! The Skims website says it’s sold out in every size and every colour. Who has bought all these nipple bras?!! Message me if you’ve bought one, I need to know!!’
I received responses from men wanting to know more about this nipple-tastic lingerie – but I heard nothing from women who’d actually bought one.
Had they really sold out? Or was this a PR stunt to frame the Nipple Bra as this season’s fashion must-have?
It brought to mind the naked pop-up restaurant The Bunyadi, that sprang up in London in 2016.
At the time, The Bunyadi’s website claimed that over 46,000 people were on the waiting list to eat there. Yet I had a press table for two, and no one wanted to join me (bar a guy I’d once briefly dated).
So I suspect the figure may have been fabricated and the Nipple Bra ‘selling out’ seems to be a tactic from the same PR playbook.
Turning to eBay, I found three Skims Nipple Bras for sale, none of which were my size, so I picked the closest fit and hoped for the best.
In an Instagram ad, Kim K (pictured) explained: ‘I’m introducing a brand new bra with a built-in nipple. So no matter how hot it is, you’ll always look cold. Some days are hard. But these nipples are harder. And unlike the icebergs, these aren’t going anywhere.’
The journalist, seen wearing the bra, added: ‘As far as I can see, the Skims Nipple Bra is not for women. It’s a gift to men, bolstering the fantasy that women are walking around in a state of perma-arousal that means they might just be up for it’
The bra cost twice the price of the Skims website, plus shipping from the US, and when it arrived, I found I could barely get it on.
After wrestling my breasts into the bra, I saw that it gave me a four-boob effect, as my cleavage bulged above the heavily padded cups. My actual nipples were only just encased within the bounds of the bra, while the pseudo nipples sat several inches below.
It is perhaps little wonder then, that my bumpy terrain attracted attention, but committed to the cause of road testing this celebrity fashion bestseller, I assured myself I looked fine and set out to see how I’d fare amongst the celeb set in Chelsea.
Starting out at The Pie Man, in Chelsea Green, I warmed my hands on a mug of hot chocolate.
Whopping great sausages filled the windows and I was sure that, surrounded by such meaty bangers, no one would notice the synthetic nipples protruding through the taut fabric of my top.
I was wrong about this though, as I found out when the elderly gentleman stopped to enjoy the view.
Moving along, I came across a flower stall on King’s Road, but as I browsed the blooms, a traffic warden appeared and threatened to ticket the Chelsea Tractor I was travelling about in for the day.
As a model citizen, I promptly engaged in setting off, but the traffic warden took a flurry of photos anyway. Only, I’m not entirely sure that the focus was on the car.
‘The Nipple Bra launched on 31st October, and when I looked online just a week later, it had sold out,’ revealed Samantha
I think my personal speed bumps (or at least those built into my bra) had hijacked his attention. It wasn’t really a ticket that he wanted to give me.
Heading down King’s Road, I dropped into newly opened Mexican restaurant Ixchel. It’s drowning in connections to the Made In Chelsea crowd, so I hoped to rub shoulders with some celebs.
Posh people are notoriously unconstrained by middle class conventions such as not drawing attention to one’s nip-nips, so who knows – maybe they’re the ones who’ve bought all the Nipple Bras?
But if anyone spotted the counterfeit cherries on my Belgian buns, they were too polite to say.
Back at home, I posted pictures from the day’s outing on my social media – only I don’t mention that I’m wearing a Nipple Bra. The upshot is that several men unwittingly froth at the mouth over two bits of foam.
‘Didn’t anyone tell you it’s rude to point?’ asked one guy on X following his question with cry-laughing emojis.
‘My eye got stuck to the screen,’ said a chap on Instagram, explaining that he’d been zooming in on the picture.
‘Was it a cold day?’ asked another, with an open-mouth emoji. The winky-face emoji also featured heavily in the responses.
‘The majority of men, with manners and a sense of social etiquette, will grow out of publicly commenting on women’s nipples,’ insisted the journalist, pictured wearing the bra
Just as a caveman’s instincts would alert him to a saber-tooth cat on the kill, maybe men are hardwired to notice hard nipples: ‘Aha! Evidence of arousal! I could be in there!’
The majority of men, with manners and a sense of social etiquette, will grow out of publicly commenting on women’s nipples.
However, given that a sub-section of men feel compelled to comment when they spot an erect nipple (or what they imagine to be an erect nipple) I’m flummoxed as to why any woman would want to wear a bra that sets off the Carry On klaxon in men’s brains.
And apparently they do, as looking through the Nipple Bra reviews on the Skims website, this seems to be a huge selling point: ‘Yes, I get lots of attention!
Samantha said the bra ‘didn’t fit’ and she ‘wasn’t sure’ which women would want to buy it
‘Why else did we buy this bra? The nipple bra looks natural and I receive tons of compliments’ exclaims one verified buyer.
‘People were staring at my chest everywhere I went’ declared another verified buyer who gave it five stars.
Road testing the Nipple Bra myself, I didn’t mind the attention or the comments because none of the men had actually seen my nipples.
Instead, they were coming over all unnecessary at the sight of a couple of bits of sponge that might have otherwise been made into cleaning supplies to wipe down kitchen surfaces.
However, if they had been letching over my actual nipples – if these had been erect and visible through my clothing – I would have felt extremely uncomfortable.
And I can’t help but wonder if mass consumer sales of the Skims Nipple Bra will increase and normalise these sorts of comments – to the embarrassment and mortification of women who actually just want to go about their day without a running commentary on their nipples.
As far as I can see, the Skims Nipple Bra is not for women. It’s a gift to men, bolstering the fantasy that women are walking around in a state of perma-arousal that means they might just be up for it.