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Tatts Nice: Is Ink Tacky or Tasteless? Naoimh Gets Drawn Into the Debate

The trend for ink isn't going anywhere so we're wondering do you think they're tacky and tasteless or the ultimate frill that lasts... well forever!
Naoimh Wilkins's picture

By Naoimh Wilkins @NaoimhWilkins

Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 08:30

15 comments

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Freja Beha Erichsen and neck tattoo

Pic: swinging-paris.com

It’s hardly news that tattoos divide opinion as most people are either in the love ‘em or hate ‘em camp. But even though everyone knows where they stand on them very few of your friends will come right out and tell you they don’t like your tattoo.

cara delevingne lion tattoo

Pic: instagram.com/caradelevingne

Considering they’re a permanent statement that’s maybe a good thing. Everyone seems to be telling Cara Delevingne her lion tattoo on her finger is fierce when in reality it’s a stupid teenage mistake.

Zayn's perri tattoo

Pic: Metro.co.uk (wally)

And what was that wally from One Direction thinking getting his girlfriend’s face tattooed on his arm? We all know how that one's going to play out.

As a very recent member of the ink gang it took me roughly ten years to get mine. I know, I know, I don’t half rush into things. So what took me so long? I’m not sure to be honest. I wanted the same design for all that time and I didn’t waver at the last minute and spontaneously get something different.

I stuck to my guns and got the outline of a star on my foot that I’d been hankering after since my teens.

In the end, it came down to being away travelling.  Getting the tattoo on the trip seemed like a good memento so when I randomly found myself in a tattoo shop as part of a walking tour I decided it was, as the cliché goes, now or never.

Naoimh's foot tattoo

My tattoo is so small and inoffensive even my most conservative friend can concede (while also imploring me not to get any more) that it is rather pretty. And here’s the clincher:  it suits me. I think that really therein lies the key. Whatever tattoo design you’ve gone for needs to mesh well with your personal style, similar to a good haircut. It should enhance what your mamma gave you.

Rihanna's gun tattoo

Rihanna get your gun ... or maybe don't bother

Also, there’s a fine line between having enough and getting the one that is one too many. Rhianna doesn’t win at this game. Another consensus is that being beautiful helps make your tattoos look classy, not trashy.

freja beha erichsen tattoo

Pic: swinging-paris.com

Gorgeous Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen is a case in point. She has one on her neck (top pic) for Christ sake, which is usually the mainstay of hardened criminals, yet Freja regularly walks the Chanel catwalk. Erin Wasson is another great example to prove this theory.

angelina jolie tattoos

But Angelina Jolie turns things on their head. Despite her exquisite bone structure I don’t think her tattoos look good. They’re too visible, too big, too varied and come with a lot of hippy mumbo jumbo and faux meaning.

Jolie's tattoos remind me of a story a friend told me recently about her friend (are you keeping up) who wanted to get the word 'breathe' tattooed on her finger, then said with a straight face that this was, “y’know to remind me to keep breathing”.

Newsflash: your body does that all of its own accord. No prompting and definitely no ink necessary. True story.

So how does a lay person without the good looks of a starlet survive the potential minefield of tattoos?

My advice, think long and hard about what you want to get. Next consider where on your body you’re getting it. There are trends in tattoos just like in fashion and I’d bet that mustache on your finger won’t be so funny when you’re sixty-two. And for the love of god never and I mean NEVER get a lover’s name, face or initial tattooed anywhere on your body. It will only end in tears.

Have I plans to get any more? Now that would be telling.

So do you think getting a tattoo is fierce or foolish? Tell us in the comments below.

Naoimh Wilkins's picture
Naoimh Wilkins

Comments

roxette's picture

roxette said...

love tattoos. Have a skull with a bow on my wrist for no other reason other than I loved the design! Planning a second tattoo after my baby is born.

At 9.07am on July 4, 2013
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PinkPanther's picture

PinkPanther said...

Yeah I love them. I have quite a large Mexican day of the dead image on my back. I'm not a fan of little ones but each to their own. I'd love loads more but in my line of work I have to be reasonably conservative.

At 9.35am on July 4, 2013
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Chanelfreak's picture

Chanelfreak said...

I'm only seeing this now PinkPanther but I also have a large-ish day of the dead skull thingy on my back! We quite clearly rock ;)

At 12.09pm on July 10, 2013
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Trillian's picture

Trillian said...

I'm not a huge fan to be honest. I did consider one strongly at one point, working on a design etc, but I waited 6 months until I was sure I still wanted it and I'm glad 10 years on that I didn't go through with it. Some look gorgeous on people, but I can't help wondering what they'll look like in 20 years. And seeing some faded & stretched ones has put me off as well. Each to their own though, they can look stunning.

At 10.02am on July 4, 2013
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PinkPanther's picture

PinkPanther said...

Yeah the 'what will they look like when you are old' argument doesn't wash with me. Skin in general doesn't look good when you're old. It's wrinkly and crinkly regardless of whether you have a tattoo. I have seen some terrible ones alright but if you get a decent one by an artist you trust at the beginning and get it topped up it should go the distance.Also they're so popular now it won't be that unusual to see them on old people in 40 years time - sure we'll all have them!

At 10.08am on July 4, 2013
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Shygirl's picture

Shygirl said...

I do see a guy in the town where I live with a tattoo on his neck, face and head. He has his head shaved. I just think what will it look like when he gets wrinkly.

At 10.09am on July 4, 2013
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Kirstie McDermott's picture

Kirstie McDermott said...

I love 'em when they're really well considered and beautifully done. Have a friend with two sleeves which look incredible, but am not such a fan of lots of random, messy-looking ones. Commit or go home!
At 10.19am on July 4, 2013
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Macloon's picture

Macloon said...

NO! gick.

I'm so glad I've never succumbed in my younger years. They age really badly, both physically and trend-wise.

Maori tribal tattoos....chinese symbols ...... roses...tramp stamps... butterflies.....dolphins...sanskrit.....cupcakes ....stars....waves.....sugar skulls....

Everytime I watch LA Ink or any of those shows I just thank myself that I've saved myself a fortune on laser treatment

At 10.26am on July 4, 2013
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Macloon's picture

Macloon said...

yeah but even the impressive-looking ones probably look shit after ten years.

Sleeves can look cool - but only on the young. They look awful on older people, unless you're a biker.
Old bikers are the only ones that can get away with any old ink actually!

At 10.40am on July 4, 2013
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Simone's picture

Simone said...

I've always wanted a star on the inside of my wrist. Still want it actually...

At 10.42am on July 4, 2013
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jill's picture

jill said...

Love them with many many terms and conditions! I have 2 that have survived 2 pregnancies intact and unchanged and plan one for the kiddies. I have a Pinterest board of ideas, and yep, I want it on my wrist.

I love half/full sleeves on blokes (I like them on girls too but they up the attractiveness of a bloke for me). My husband is having none of it though.

At 10.58am on July 4, 2013
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Juleser's picture

Juleser said...

Despite having some ink on my lower back I'm kinda on the fence when it comes to tatts. I am not crazy about visible ink on women; y'know the dolphins & roses on the shoulder thing. Or the hearts/stars/baby names on the neck. Personally, I think it's completely tacky. It's the equivalent to a swallow tattoo on a convicts hand or an anchor on a thugs arm, for me.
Ink is an extremely personal choice & each to their own. For me, I got mine in a place that wouldn't be visible to everyone (unless I'm in a bikini - which happens one week of the year) - not because I care what people think but the art was for me. Nobody else.
I've since considered getting something done on my foot buy I'm not 100% sure of what I want, so I'm holding off.
Like the author, I'd advise anyone considering ink to think long & hard about it - it's not just for Christmas, y'know.

At 11.30am on July 4, 2013
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The Glutton's picture

The Glutton said...

I have one on my lower left side of my back - done long before the tramp stamp/tribal fad. It's faded and old and I don't really like the design now but it is never seen by anyone other than who I want to see it as I am long passed the days of wearing crop tops. I really want to get a new one over it now and have something in mind. I love tattoos on some people - they just look right and I'm a big fan of sleeves on blokes. I like having a tattoo but also like that it isn't on show - it's just for me.

At 1.43pm on July 4, 2013
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LoNiCho's picture

LoNiCho said...

It's kind of funny I love tattoos, well good tattoos I see them as art. But I don't actually want one myself. Dont know why I think because I change my mind all the time.
I love ones that are well thought out, proper sleeves and a sort of cohesion to the ones people have.
Saw a girl the other day who had what looked like a white ink tattoo on her wrist really pretty design, barely noticable.

On the other had my friend has a purple dolphin on her lower back, it's awful she got it when she was 18 and she hates it now and wants to put something over it to change it. We spend hours discussing what she would like designs etc.

At 8.58am on July 18, 2013
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Kirstie McDermott's picture

Kirstie McDermott said...

No, I know what you mean. I think of them as art too and have tons of fab examples on mates but I don't want any myself.
At 10.18am on July 18, 2013
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