Hide, don’t bend. Low-rise jeans are back in style
All through 2022, we dismissed them as one-offs, well-intentioned sartorial errors we assumed would be quickly dismissed
All through 2022, we dismissed them as one-offs, well-intentioned sartorial errors we assumed would be quickly dismissed. But to everyone’s horror, low-rise jeans — tight on the hip, fitted at the crotch — are determined to live out the fashion cycle.
Willow Smith, 22, wore crystal-embellished ones to the premiere of her father Will Smith’s new film Emancipation in December. The pants are from Stella McCartney’s Spring-Summer 2023 collection. Hailey Bieber wore a denim low-rise miniskirt (ok it was pretty much a strip of denim) to her 26th birthday celebrations in Tokyo. She paired it with a cropped top, sharing the look on Instagram.
Most baffling of all, Katie Holmes has been wearing them too. She is 44 and lived through the low-rise era of the early 2000s. Surely, she must remember what a disaster it was. Let’s clue you in too.
They’re mad uncomfortable. Anything that sits on your hip, rides low in the back and is tight around the downstairs plumbing is bound to be. Women who wore them 15 years ago recall shimmying to get into them, doing a little jig before sitting down, doing another jig after standing up, just to keep them in place.
You’ll need reinforcements. If the pants are stretchy, get a belt. Because, yes, they might fall off.
Look behind you. Because someone else probably is. When designer Alexander McQueen shows the first low-rise jeans on the runway in 1993, he called them bumsters. The seat often rises so low, you might be showing off curves you didn’t intend to. More so if you’re seated.
Say goodbye to usable pockets. Nothing will fit. Phones were tiny in the 2000s, so people got by. Your touchscreen on the other hand will need a separate carrier.
Prepare to size up. Low-rise sizes are measured on the hip, not the waist.
And rethink your lingerie. Welcome back, low-rise underwear. No one wants to see yours peeking out this time around either.
Body positivity has only just begun. And low-rise jeans are from an era when skinny bodies were all the rage – all the better for exposed hip bones to protrude. In contrast, mid- and high-rise styles look flattering on a wider range of women’s bodies, tucking mid-sections in, holding up the rear, elongating the leg. We’ve lived through a pandemic, celebrated Kim Kardashian’s ample backside, applauded size-inclusive fashion and seen women flaunt what they’d previously be shamed for. Do we really want to go back to public discourse about muffin tops, love handles, thigh gaps and tramp-stamp tattoos?
Even the flagbearers have moved on. Oh baby, baby. Britney Spears has had a successful Las Vegas residency and legally wrested her life back from her father in the years since she last made them famous. Paris Hilton has since supplemented her family’s hotel-chain fortune with a multi-million-dollar fragrance empire. Neither of them seems interesting in shimmying into a low-rise pair.
What if it’s a gateway to hell? Remember what women wore with their low-rise jeans in the 2000s? Platform sneakers. Stylish folks tucked their extended trouser hems under their feet. Even men got on to the trend, wearing jeans low and loose, shuffling awkwardly down the street, struggling to climb stairs. Stop it now!
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From HT Brunch, January 28, 2023
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