Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

Okay, we have to talk about it. I've put it off for as long as I can, and now we just have to wrestle with the fashion elephant in the room.

I'm talking about the drop-crotch trouser.

They're everywhere. All over the runways and making their way into the stores and internet retail portals. Most folks are blaming my boy Stefano Pilati at YSL.

These from the Fall 2008 show that made my head spin with delight. Pilati's been working this silhouette for a while. This is the latest iteration, from the Spring 2009 collection

I think this is great -- I thought it was a skirt at first, but it's trousers. YSL isn't the only place showing them, just about everyone seems to have jumped on the droopy drawers bandwagon...

My boyfriendAlexanderMcQueen:

Vivienne Westwood:

Dries van Noten:

All of whom are designers one might expect to throw out less-than-conventional ideas, but these things are popping up in places one wouldn't necessarily expect them to, like Gucci:

And even Ralph Lauren, for crying out loud:

I know, I know. You hate them. Everyone hates them. They're baggy & they look like diapers. They remind you of the 1980s and M.C. Hammer. But they aren't all as truly awful as the iteration I showed at the very top of the blog, and as you can see, there are degrees of drop-crotch-itude. Of course, if you want the full-stop droopy they're out there:

No, I can't recommend these. They really do look like sweatpants gone bad and while the pose the above model is striking de-emphasizes how bad they make her look from behind, I think we're all familiar enough with toddlers in onesies to extrapolate. I'm sure they're comfortable as all get out -- well, no, even that's not true. They might be too snug around the leg openings if you don't have pegs as skinny as the model's.

There are less offensive versions available. (Click photos or hypertext for links.)



A dressier version, with a nice high waist and not as much excess material. It's important that whatever fabric this pant is made out of is not too stiff -- you want it to have enough drape and slouch so that the volume assembles itself vertically rather than horizontally.




I think this may be a jumpsuit I could actually wear -- usually I have trouble with them because I'm so long-waisted, they make sitting down an adventure. (And while we're on the topic, watch out for jumpsuits. Jumpsuits, rompers, all-in-ones -- they're lurking out there, ready to make a move into the fashion limelight.)



I do find something appealing in the slouchiness of pants like these, especially when they're made of great fabric like this. The ones made of jersey or t-shirt knit are way too much like sweatpants with pretensions (Although, are they worse than the velour sweatpants with "Juicy" emblazoned across the tush? That's a fashion question to ponder...)

Vince Suave Crop Pant

These are basically a black satin knicker, which sounds ridiculous, but I really like them. I want to toss them on with a burgundy v-neck cashmere sweater, my black Marni platforms and a long loopy strand of pearls and go out for a chic-yet-casual dinner. These would also be a better option for the shorter fashionista, because my petite sisters are going to be swamped in all the extra fabric in some of these trousers. If you're petite and interested in working this silhouette, you need to go for one of the less-extreme versions or you'll get lost in them. And you'll definitely need a heel, the highest you can navigate.

Alexander Wang Baggy Drop Crotch Pants

A cargo pant version. If you'll notice, most of these are being shown with a pretty substantial shoe, and I think that's definitely the way to go with them. Substantial, and modern & edgy if you can manage it. You don't want to do a classic pump with these, you need something with as much attitude as the pants themselves. You might be able to pull off a flat (if you're tall), but I'd suggest a sandal rather than a closed-in pump in order to avoid any genie-in-a-bottle overtones.

Another jumpsuit. See? These shoes look wrong with it. Too conventional. And I have to say -- there's enough fabric happening over the backside with this thing that you don't need the great big white bow adding to it. Which leads me to a discussion of the back view. Obviously, these pants are no friend to the very pear-shaped. I think that if a person had a nice shapely badonkadonk they could actually work for you, because you'd still be able to see your shape underneath the garment. I'm talking about a nice, round Beyoncé-style backside -- the truly pear-shaped, those who carry their weight lower, in the hips, are probably not going to do well with these because of the horizontal spread of the fabric over the wider parts.

There's also a branch on this particular fashion family tree that some might perceive as more user-friendly, and that's the slouchy trouser. Along with the full-on drop-crotch shape are coming just a generally more relaxed trouser shape that is one part harem pant, one part Kate Hepburn.

Like these:

Which are actually a pretty good-looking pair of pants. (Although if you go out with your hems this long and dragging on the ground I swear I will hunt you down & smack you.) A note: do not wear something sloppy on top with these pants. You need a sharply-tailored blouse or a close-fitting knit top, and it needs to be tucked in, otherwise you're going to look like an unmade bed. Now, I know what you're thinking: we've been brainwashed the last several years to believe that under no circs are pleated pants to be borne, they are anathema, take them all out & burn them in a big pleated bonfire of the Dockers, blah blah StaceyandClintonfishcakes blah. But. Note how flat the pleats on these are. They are an inverted pleat rather than a regular one, and they are flat for the first couple of inches below the waistband so that the volume the pleats give doesn't bunch around the tummy. Pleats are possible, but you'll need to shop carefully.



I'm on the fence here about the drawstring waist. I don't usually favor a drawstring waist except in my running gear. On the other hand, I really like the amount of volume in these -- it's just right.



See, I kinda love these. I think they're sharp. A great-looking, modern riff on the tuxedo pant. I want to pair them with this



buttoned closed and with the barest possible tank top underneath. I would feel darned sexy in that outfit.

Speaking of moi, I have a bit of a confession:

Funnily enough, I didn't acquire these pants recently, I've had them for quite a while. A few years ago I was working in a small boutique here in Austin and the owner went to Barcelona for vacation. She brought back a few pairs of these to sell at the shop. She & I were the only ones who went for them, as I recall, but I really like the things. I must admit, I haven't worn them in a long time -- a person can only hear, "Please, Hammer, don't hurt 'em!" so many times before it becomes just not worth her time. But I think it may be time to bust 'em out again, because I really don't think they're awful.

I think that for the most part they just look like a full, gathered-leg pant, which is kind of fun. Their drop-crotch-ness isn't immediately obvious, unless you want to show it off.

(You see? You see how I'm willing to make a fool of myself for you people?? I must really love you.)

And I almost never break-dance in public, so...

The other fun thing about these is that the leg openings are elasticized, so I can wear them down to the ankle as above, or I can pull them up to my knee like this

which makes them look like a bubble skirt. Which, I know, is another controversial shape that I happen to like. These pants are cotton jersey, which I said above I wasn't crazy about, but they're a nice heavy black jersey that doesn't look like sweatpants, so I'm okay with it.

Okay, so tell me what you think (as if I can't predict it). Let me have it. Just please don't call me Hammer.

Photos:, Style Spy

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Duchesse said...

No, no, no and no. Victimy.

Heather Outside Boston said...

Even on gorgeous little you, no. :-( They really break up your longest lines, and make your feet look like an afterthought (which heels accentuates).

Anonymous said...

I just can't get behind this. NOBODY looks good in these. Sorry.
Karen G.

Anonymous said...

I'm not crazy about large cropped pants however last summer I bought a pair like the "Gucci" (legs a bit shorter) and although I have the same type of shape you have (small bust, long torso,etc.) these pants were the best discovery! Everyone complimented me and thought that I had lost weight! So it shows that sometimes one has to try something before declaring it a no-no! I really like your sense of "adventure"!

vee said...

I am petite and curvy, and these things are my worst nightmare (after flats). So I knew it was only a matter of time before these abominations made it back into the realm of "fashionable". Skinny jeans have been "in" for a while now, so what better way to swing to the opposite end of the pant cut spectrum? I'm glad to have a little more room in my pants, but I don't want this much! I'll stick with roomier trousers, (hemmed properly, of course) thank you!

HEATHER said...

I will help you!
Oh they are so awful!
I have truly lived too long on earth when Hammer pants have made a comeback! Shudder.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I think yours are not the right shape - the nice thing about the new ones is that they become more narrow towards the calf, thus avoiding the sort of balloon look... Otherwise I'm okay with the pants, but only on very skinny people.

Anita said...

Yet another trend that only looks good on the runway (and honestly, I'm not sure about that.) The look screams fashion victim to me, and don't even get me started on jumpsuits. Or rompers, as if grown women need to wear clothing named for toddler clothes oh my gosh, I got myself started on jumpsuits, see how divisive these things are? I don't even want to see how this trend translates to real life.

r sorrell said...

Not a fan of the extreme drop-crotch... but slouchy, I can do. Oh, and I'm salivating over the new jumpsuits. What I prefer is more of a Valley of the Dolls-type look, though.

Anonymous said...

LOLOL I LOVE THESE had them last time around. And my dear Hubby burned them . OH where Can I find a pr. They give me hips ,oh and the huge pockets with skinny legs for my tiny calves Hee Hee evil LOLOLOL Katie

Stephanie H. said...

I vote no. I agree, some of the photos you posted really do it right, but there is a thin line and the jersey material does indeed look like a saggy diaper.

One of the photos reminds me of an outfit I bought at "units" in the 80's. Remember that store? It was basically a big old one piece jersey bag that needed to be belted with a tight jersey belt that you had to step into. The horror!

Anonymous said...

I'm tempted to say something, but I just can't touch that.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Units!! I had totally forgotten about that store. Oh yes, sister, I had me some "Units" too.
A couple of years ago my daughter's school had an "80's" day and she asked me what we wore way back then. I couldn't even remember. . .jeans? sweaters tied around our shoulders? Big sweaters with leggings and leg warmers? How could I have forgotten Units? LOL

Plumcake said...

You know what? I'm going to be in the minority here and say that I'm for them. Definitely more at the knee-length than the ankle, but the whole look is very late 80's Almodovar to me and I am having an EPIC Women On The Verge moment right now. It just seems fresh and interesting and unapologetic. The Fendi bubbles make the whole look though. God how I covet those silly things.

i'm black betty said...

thos are horrid. i'm sorry, but i could NEVER wear those.

littlemissme said...

I liked the melange pants...I am very into that androgynous Katherine Hepburn-style look. Sadly I cannot pull it off due to owning hips and boobs.

However! I will break free from the crowd and say you can really kind of rock these. You look amazing and I hate you for it just a teensy tiny bit.I love your style in general, but I also think it's nice to deviate from the norm from time to time!

Robo said...

Ok, here's the thing -- the harem/baggy pants are basically riffs on shalwars that people wear in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc. They're definitely not meant to be cropped, but nor is the crotch meant to be that low. Also, in the region, they're generally worn with shirts that hit at least mid-thigh. That said, I did get a pair from that are seriously the most comfortable pair of pants ever, and they're drapey and streamlined enough so they don't make you look dumpy.