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Harnesses Are A Fall Must-Have — Here’s What It’s Like Wearing One

Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend like a harness, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack.
Ever since designer Sally LaPointe unveiled her brand’s spring 2022 collection at a rave-like presentation full of neon lights and blazers paired with harnesses, I haven’t stopped thinking about the latter accessory. The styling secured my obsession: Monochrome, work-appropriate suits juxtaposed with harnesses better suited for a night of pre-pandemic partying. 
Photo: Courtesy of LaPointe
LaPointe spring 2022.
As the trend caught on, with designers like Dion Lee and Dior showing their own takes for fall 2022 seasons, the urge to get one of my own grew. After two years of loungewear and nap dresses, it was time for some discipline. A leather harness would surely do the trick.
Photo: Courtesy of Dior.
Dior fall 2022.
Photo: Courtesy of Dion Lee.
Dion Lee fall 2022.
It seems I’m not the only one interested in adding some bits of “fetishcore” into my wardrobe. Searches for harnesses were up by 132% month-over-month in 2022, according to Lyst, while other BDSM-inspired accessories, like leather chokers and latex products, were also on the rise. On TikTok, the trend is spreading: #leatherharness has garnered over 10 million views, thanks to creators showing off their styling tricks. 
While I gathered some inspiration from creators on TikTok for my own experiment, I figured the best way to approach this was to wear the piece to a set of situations I wouldn’t associate with a harness-clad outfit — a Friday dinner and a family barbecue — and incorporate the accessory into outfits that feel like a second skin to me. So I set out to try a harness by Zana Bayne, a designer known for her leather accessories made by hand, and another from LaPointe’s spring 2022 collection. 
First, I paired a LaPointe vinyl harness with a white button-down shirt, beige shorts, and black heels to a Friday dinner with friends. Although one might expect risky outfits to be worn with one’s closest companions, as a conservative dresser, that’s not something I normally do. So when I walked out to the kitchen to see if my roommate was ready to head out, I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction: “Wow! Fabulous.” So far so good. It got even better when we got to our dinner spot — Chacha Mama on the Upper West Side, thank me later! — and one of the waiters stopped to compliment my outfit on the way out. 
Throughout the dinner, I noticed how comfortable I felt wearing a piece that was basically made to constrain my movements. I stood taller, more confident, asserting my presence with poise. Were there families with kids giving my outfit the side eye? Yes. But this is New York — anything goes. 
For my next experiment, I walked a riskier road. While on my recent travels to visit family in Puerto Rico, I packed the harness in my carryon, afraid I’d be stopped by TSA officials. I could only imagine what they’d think I do for a living if I told them I was carrying this “for work.” Thankfully, I didn’t have to suffer through that. But I still chose to wear it around family members during a Good Friday barbecue. Oh, lord.  
I decided to pair the harness with a black midi dress and flatforms. The otherwise conservative outfit was made subversive by the harness, a juxtaposition I carefully chose to trick my relatives into liking this outfit. It worked. As soon as I walked into my mother’s room, she said, “¿Y eso? It looks good.” Later, at the family function, no one batted an eye when I showed up wearing the accessory, which I took as a sign that they weren’t surprised that, as a devout agnostic, I chose a holy day to sport a dungeon-ready harness. 
During the barbecue, I kept feeling confident, just like during the dinner. My back was straighter (I bet my chiropractor will like this experiment), and I felt like my outfit said everything there was to know about me to the people who think they know me best. 
I packed the harness back in my carryon, while doing some mental math on how many could I afford to get for myself. I shall obey the trend’s calling soon enough. If you feel like it too, here are some options to try now.
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