In Victorian times, showing an ankle was considered daring. The 20’s flappers rouged their knees in case one should catch a glimpse of their dimpled gams. And the 60’s hip hugger pants put the hips on parade. As time progressed, bare flesh wasn't so shocking, and all styles of belly-baring shirts showed up on the market in the 70’s. Once the belly button was bared, there was no stopping it, and by the time the 90’s rolled around, the navel was out, proud, and often pierced.
When the midriff first arrived, only a simple sliver of skin was exposed when wearing a tube top. If Mom wouldn’t let you buy a tummy top, it was a cinch to do on your own. A regular button-down shirt could easily tie into a smart little knot below the bustline, or a simple t-shirt bottom could be pulled through the neck and tugged to create an automatic midriff style. You could walk out the door looking sweet and innocent, and turn into instant fox as soon as you turned the corner. Call it ‘midriff incognito’ if you will, but don’t ever underestimate the power of a little exposed flesh.