If you live in an urban center or hang out with a lot of youngish people, I’m sure you’ve seen a particular trend emerge in the past year or so. Adorning one’s face with metal is nothing new, but septum rings are suddenly everywhere! The first time I really noticed them en masse was at last year’s Afropunk festival, which was full of fashion visionaries. Not that I’m complaining about the abrupt popularity—I think almost everyone looks good with a tiny metal loop in their nose and have had mine since 2007. The bigger ones and the more ornate ones require more confidence and nasal strength, though.
I’m not sure what percentage of the young and trendy have real piercings versus how many have fake ones, because it’s so difficult to tell—the fasteners are inside your nostrils, and few people are going to peer up there and check unless you’re very tall. Of course, it’s not all just fashion. There are plenty of cultures that have been using nostril and septum piercings as signifiers of social standing or marital status for far longer than punks have been shoving metal in their faces for the sake of rebellion.
And speaking of punk, there’s another trend that’s been slowly gaining a foothold on mainstream style over the past couple years—undercuts! Again, I think undercuts are almost universally flattering and look sharp on everybody, regardless of gender, age, or personal style in other areas. Especially interesting is seeing people, especially women and especially especially queer women, who’ve buzzed the sides or back while keeping the remaining hair long. It’s an excellent way to communicate that you’re not a square, but still enjoy femininity.
And yet, the undercut can also mean absolutely nothing of higher importance than your ability to pick a cool haircut. Like many trends, its initial significance as a marker of queerness or a punk attitude gets diluted as more and more people outside its origin communities adopt it. Good thing fashion is ever-evolving, and soon there will be something new to examine.