When it comes to tattoo placement, you’ve got your classic spots like legs and arms, but if you’re in the mood for some tucked-away ink, then consider side boob tattoos. Also sometimes called rib cage tats, they’re flirty by nature and perfect for anyone who wants the freedom to shield or reveal — from underneath a bikini strap perhaps.
“I think the appeal of side boob tattoos is that they are discreet but sexy,” opines tattoo artist Joanna Roman of Chronic Ink in Toronto, Ontario. “They are only really seen by you or your partner, or in a bathing suit, so they can be more a personal placement in that sense,” Roman says. Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Jaz Paulino of High Hopes Tattoo adds, “Having a tattoo in the area that flows with the natural curvature of the body is always a fun aesthetic — it’s visually pleasing to the eye.”
Another plus for side boob tattoos? Because they’re usually hidden, they’re hardly ever exposed to direct sunlight which means they’ll look great for longer. Sun exposure is the primary reason tattoos fade over time, explains Roman. And the designs and style options are plenty. You’ll typically spot small, delicate tats like florals or script done in fine linework, but Roman says, the side boob area can “also hold larger pieces that extend to the ribs if discretion is not your style.”
Whatever your style, remember to follow your artist’s instructions closely when it comes to tattoo aftercare. Specifics vary by artist, design, or even climate, but they often include avoiding baths, swimming, and direct sunlight, plus keeping the area properly moisturized. Roman also reminds that wearing bras may be challenging in the weeks following your inking. “You do not want to have any kind of rubbing against fresh ink because that could negatively affect the healing process, so that’s something to consider before getting a side boob tattoo,” she says.
Something else to keep in mind, according to artist Szabla of High Hopes and Graveyard NYC? The side boob area is a delicate spot and so tattooing here could be pretty painful. “The skin is thin and the ribs are one of the spiciest placement for a tattoo. You can’t go over it too hard because the ink may blow out under the skin, [giving] the effect of a bruise. I recommend getting this type of tattoo with an experienced artist,” Szabla says.
While you psych yourself up and scout just the right artist, scroll on for 20 chic side boob tattoo ideas that are sure to inspire.