Recently, after falling into a deep YouTube hole of ’90s hip-hop, the thought occurred to me: Seven-year-old me would be soooo pissed to find out I’m not spending my 20s wearing a belly chain. Like, absolutely furious. I have a vivid memory of sitting cross-legged on my parents’ floor, staring up at Aaliyah dancing in her 1998 video for “Are You That Somebody?” in absolute awe. I thought nothing cooler ever had or ever would exist. And, honestly to this day, I still pretty much find that to be true. The way Aaliyah combined opposing aesthetics—masculine and feminine, opulent and minimal, sporty and sexy—was next level, and that obsession with juxtaposition has stuck with me.
Shortly after rewatching “Are You That Somebody,” and realizing I’d be in deep shit with my younger self for sleeping on this belly chain thing, I saw some photos of modern-day muse Kendall Jenner wearing a similar one, and it was like a sign from the gods. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about “body chains.” Oh, no, no, no. I know those have been a thing for a while with metal strands that loop around your neck, go down your stomach, around your back, with all kinds of jewels and extra rows of chains. Although I’ve seen those look cute paired with swimsuits and on Beyoncé for that 2013 GQ cover, that’s definitely not what I’m talking about. Not only has the body chain trend already pretty much come and gone, but also they’ve just always been a bit too much for my style.
On the other hand, the Aaliyah (and now Kendall) belly chain thrives on in its delicate nature and simplicity. From a distance, you might not even see it at first glance. It sits right at or above your belly button, grazing your high-waisted denim jeans or making a low-rise bottom with a cropped top an absolute power look. Basically, I’ve committed to making this understated accessory a staple in my go-to chilly weather look that consists of a black cropped sweater and black high-waisted jeans, and I really think you should give it a try too. Here are some of my favorites I’ve found on the web for every price range. Go forth and make seven-year-old you proud.