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Sexy Bellybuttons Are In

Thanks to the likes of Britney Spears and Shania Twain, bellybuttons are now the center of what's considered sexy. O.K. we know how to achieve a flat midriff, but what does a perfect bellybutton look like anyway? And how do we get one?

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Ever since our Obstetrician severed our umbilical cord thus declaring our independence from our mother's womb, we've never given our bellybutton a further thought. Well, in case you've been living in a cave, you may not have noticed the ubiquitous bare female midriff as of late.

Except at the beach where practically everything is now revealed, the navel was heretofore totally covered in both formal and informal wear. But its attention is getting broader, thanks to mainstream fashions like low-rise jeans and skimpy halter tops that have put the bellybutton on prominent display.

Punctuating the bare midriff, the bellybutton is now the center of what's considered sexy; it's flaunted in a wave of stomach-baring outfits and news articles exposing Britney Spears' and Shania Twain's bellybuttons - it's the rage of the trend setting Hollywood cognoscenti.

In Search of the Perfect Bellybutton

The bare midriff places pressure on the female form to keep an ultra-flat tummy that is inherently good for business at fitness centers. Do we really care if they frequent our clubs for cosmetic reasons over heath ones? Women have had to survive the breast issue brought on by the famous cleavages of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield only to be assaulted by this latest trend. Yes, they can do the crunches to flatten the tummy, but are they safe to go out in public yet?

Since the bellybutton now being not only exposed but flaunted, there has been a lot of thought and discussion as to just what constitutes an "attractive bellybutton". This discussion has permeated the plastic surgical field where there are new aesthetic definitions.

Dr. Charles Puckett, MD ; Professor and Chief ;Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the University of Missouri, actually set out to find out exactly what is the "ideal" bellybutton. He conducted an experiment that he published in a journal article, "In Search of the Ideal Female Umbilicus." He showed photos of 147 female (only) bellybuttons to a group of judges, including 15 men and 6 women.

Attractive Navels Are Small And Vertical

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to bellybuttons. Its concepts are far subtler than the difference between an "innie" or an "outie." There are rounds, ovals and ellipses, T-shaped ones and hooded ones. As of this writing, the consensus favors slim ovals that stand upright like a keyhole, rather than sideways like a winking eyelid.

In the specific opinion of Dr. Puckett's judges, attractive navels are small and vertical in orientation, or have a T shape -- a thin vertical hollow capped by "a superior hood or shelf." Ugly navels are horizontal, a shape that often comes from age, pregnancy or weight gain.

Britney Spears' Bellybutton
Britney Spears' bellybutton creates a fashion trend that's a challenge for many women.
Shania Twain Bellybutton
Shania Twain has arguably one of the most beautiful midriffs and bellybuttons -- and she knows how to flaunt it. (photo by

So, if you weren't fortunate to be born with the ideal bellybutton, or it's lost its shape over the years, what can you do about it? You needn't despair, by the marvels of modern medicine, even that can be fixed by bellybutton surgery.

In the U.S., the increase in bellybutton surgery, or umbilicoplasty, is actually driven by rising demand for tummy tucks among aging baby boomers.

Tummy tucks have more than tripled in the past decade to 56,000 operations annually, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It is estimated that approximately 90% of these involve bellybutton alterations.

O.K. armed with this knowledge, will you find yourself staring at bare midriffs in search of the perfect bellybutton?

Posted: 01/13/2003

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