March 27th, 2009
Beauty, Style Verdict
Style Verdict: Tattoos vs. Fashion?
By Claire

When I read that Fashion Bomb favorite Rihanna got a new gun tattoo, I started to think about the occasional conflict between artful tattooing and fashion. While Rihanna placed her tat in a very discreet place:


Other fashion bombshells are not quite as subtle:



Do you think tattoos take away from a fashionable look? Or do they add a bit of flavor?

*Want to see more pix?

A huge gallery of tattoos of various styles and genre can be found online and are favored by a lot of showbiz celebrities.

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33 Responses to “Style Verdict: Tattoos vs. Fashion?”

  1. MzGunn says:

    It’s funny, I’ve had this conversation with friends before. I definitely think that they take away from a fashionable look that is supposed to be soft, classy and sophisticated. However, on the flip side, I think they can add a bit of spice to an edgy ensemble. So, I think it depends on the overall look the person is trying to achieve.

  2. PurpleReign says:

    Yes! I hate big arm tattoos – they take away from a red carpet classy look. Not cute.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, they do take away from fashion. The dress can be beautiful but you can’t focus on that because of the big cross on the arm. It is ok to just keep Jesus in your heart and not on your body.

  4. LaTanya B. says:

    I think it depends. I hate big tattoes on the arms for women. I agree that it takes away from the look. But some tattoes that are small can be cute regardless what you where like in the case of Rihanna who happens to have 7+ tattoes (you can’t even keep up) and Solange who has matching tattoes on the inside of her wrists.

  5. Christina says:

    It depends on where they are, what they are, how many there are and the size. I like to add some edgy flair to even my graceful, elegant looks, and tattoos are a simple way to achieve that as long as they are in moderation. I have never been a fan of the big arm tattoos on women, though.

  6. They definitely take away from the fashion, especially if you’re trying to achieve an elegant look. I made the terrible mistake of getting a tattoo on my arm when I was young and stupid. Now, I have to get it removed. I wish I was smart enough to get something in a discreet place like Rihanna.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I believe that tats are a bit of a fad, but people should be mindful of where they put them. I don’t like flashy tats on anyone whether it be male or female, they are distracting. I have one but its placed so that everyone will not see it. I just say, what are you going to do when you are 84 with tats like that?

  8. sun.kissed says:

    The bigs tatts are a no-no. Love all of Rihanna’s tattoos, they are all small and smartly placed. Like someone said, she has so many but u can’t see them all at once.

  9. Sophistafunk Life says:

    I think it depends on your style!!! Like Rihanna tattoos are really apart of her look because her style is very funky with a little bit of punk egde. It also depends on where the tattoos are I am not a fan of big upper arm (prison) tattoos, like the ones Monica ( who has no style at all) and Keysha Cole have. For the most part I love tattoos!!!!!!!!

  10. sugar cookie says:

    I think tattoos are part of the fashion. I personally have 13 tattoos, all of which have shaped me and represent me. Although I can hide mine when needed, I feel that my tattoos give me that edge. when i am dressed cute and girly, i will sometimes cover them, for the most part they just tell people who i am. It really all depends on how you where your style and your tattoos!

  11. Trendqueen says:

    I feel arm tattoos take away from the fashion so do large back tattoos such as Angelina Jolie’s tattoos.

  12. tannie lee says:

    i have six tats, but i do agree that sometimes they can take away from a certain appeal.

    however, i think that these women are extremely glamorous. there are alot of other things that play into a glam look. hair, make-up, etc.

    in addition, all of my tats are sentimental to me. so i would not sacrifice them just to have certain “look”.

  13. Stacked says:

    I am not much on “tats”, one or two are fine.

    However, a persons own style and fashion are two very different things. As for Riri, well I saw another photo, she has a “pistol” on the front of each shoulder. Not so disreet after all.

    At the end of the day, “tats” are a no, if you are going for a high fashion or a “ladylike” look. Now, if you want to go “Rock Star” or bring more of a street flava…a “tat” is the thing!

    Question: will this still be “cute and trendy” in 10 or 20 years?

  14. d. broussard says:

    Tattoos are great. They are a great form of self-expression. Unless they have zero significant meaning behind them, then they are completely fashion-forward. People just need to get used to the progression in fashion. Be bold. You can look sophisticated with tats-wherever they are. Keyshia, Monica, and Mary J do it beautifully. Small tats are convenient as they can be discreet, but I say GO HARD OR GO HOME.

  15. toya says:

    Good Point Stacked. Can you imagine a 60 year old flabby woman with all Rihanna’s tattoos? Now she’s cute, but when she no longer is with a stylist or image consultant and is just rih rih mother of two, how will she feel? Right now I think all the tats are cute, but it’s about marking your body in a permanent way that might be weird in twenty years. I just don’t think it’s a good choice.

  16. Me Too says:

    I won’t mention Rihianna because she is just having another one of her thousand per minute “look at me” moments.

    On to the other ladies…
    They would all look nice minus the tattoos.

  17. I just hope that she’s ok…

  18. Lily says:

    Well for me if you have a big tattoo on your arms and a beautiful dress it will be a fashion faux pas.
    I love Monica she looks so good but her tatoo not.

  19. tannie lee says:

    people always say think about how you will look as an old woman with all those tats….

    well, tomorrow is not promised….we all hope to live long lives, but realistically, who knows.

    also, i have seen plenty of women, especially a lot of the older women in my family, who have nice, firm skin…..which would pretty much mean my tats will look damn near the same at 60. although, they will be a bit faded.

    this is indeed a long term commitment. so i believe that thought should go into it when you get it.

    i have a beautiful stevie wonder lyric, plus my mom’s name, on the lower part of my arm….my mom passed away, and that was done to honor her. i will forever wear that tat proudly. and if and when i want to cover it, by wearing extra fabric, or altering my outfit a bit, then i’ll do so. its not that big of a deal when you consider what this body art may mean to some people.

    those tats make those women who they are. the more i read these responses the more my opinion changes on covering tats for glamour. your being, and what makes you who you are, is so much more than some superficial idea of what beauty is, or should be. i am actually happy to see them wear them so proudly.

  20. seoul style says:

    It depends. I think on Rihanna, it looks fine. When she’s wearing something tougher, it adds to the look. On Eve and Angelina Jolie, it’s also fine. Angelina’s and Eve’s aren’t so subtle. I thought Eve looked a bit trashy with the paw prints when she was heavier up top because it called more attention to her chest unnecessarily, making her look vulgar. Now that her chest is smaller, it doesn’t look overly sexual. On Angelina, with the exception of the old “Billy Bob” one, I like her tattoos. I can’t really make a rule book for tattoos, but people’s names as well as pictures look trashy. Lower back tattoos (“tramp stamps”) look trashy. Butterflies, hearts, flowers, stars (like Rihanna’s) etc. don’t look trashy necessarily, but they seem poorly thought out. That’s going to be on your body FOREVER.

    I absolutely loathe all upper arm tattoos. Sure, Rihanna’s gun (and stars) is a major bad decision, but it is very easy to hide. The ladies above may have well thought out, meaningful tattoos, but they will ALWAYS look bad in anything that shows their arms. Body shape matters also. The more boyish your body, the more you can get away with a tattoo.

  21. Personally? I don’t like tattoos, but Rihanna has been very clever in placing it where it can be easily hidden.

  22. Anonymous says:

    In agreeance with most people who posted. I like that she put hers in places that are easily coverable. Also I dont see what the big deal over her gun tattoos. I only have one but its on my foot where I can cover it easily or show it off easily if I wanted to.

  23. terrany says:

    i think, like most of the other answers, that the huge arm tats take away from an elegant gown or dress… i dont think discreet tats mess up anything though. i have two right now and you only see wut i show. i believe ladies should get something lady-like if they’d like to put something permanent on their bodies. but..that’s just my opinion… what i tell my daughter is think about what you are getting, why are you getting it, what does it mean to you, will you see someone else with it, and where are you putting and why are you putting it there… if you can answer these questions and know that it’s not about a fad or what someone else will think is cool then get it and be happy with it…

  24. onde says:

    I think it depend on your own personal style but it costs a lot of money to remove so you have to be certain about the style/symbol and where/what you want to put it.

  25. always searching says:

    i think the big mainly tattoos most certainly take away from the classy look, and i think so artist are starting to realize that and are trying to cover up.

  26. Unique says:

    I really think that it depends on the woman, the event and the outfit. I personally think that tattoos show individuality. I plan on getting a few myself in descreet places. Huge arm tattoos are never lady like.

  27. Anonymous5xsNoKutts says:

    I think tats can take away from a look only if u let it!A person nows what kind of tat they got so i mean when its time to go out where.Wear sumthing that looks right and matches your tat!

  28. Star Tattoos says:

    nice post, thx for sharing it

  29. Makia says:

    Tattoo on the body is very beautiful. I like these tattoo.

  30. jasmine says:

    it depends on the dress or whatever outfit you wear. he pictures above prove that. eve looks stunning with her paws but the dress keyshia cole doesnt flatter her tattoo and vice versa. it dependson thelook you want to create.

  31. Shelly B says:

    Rihanna’s gun was done on her side. The front of the shoulders was a stamp to see how it would look but she decided against it. I desdpise arm tats on women… trashy! Some tats are cute as long as they are well placed. Just my opinion :)

  32. Keeka06 says:

    I prefer subtle tattoos. I love Keshia Cole but her tattos actually would take away from a classy evening gown!

  33. web site says:

    Excellent post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well.

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