If you see a young person walking down the street with pants undone, it’s probably not a “check your zip” situation.
Once a practical adaptation to your uncle’s origins or pregnant belly after Thanksgiving dinner, sporting buttonless jeans has become a fashion statement,
20-year-old Katie Petit, a model from Orlando, Florida, was on her way to New York this month for her first Fashion Week runway booking. The gig fell through, but she still wanted to make an impression as she walked the streets and attended parties.
She enlisted the help of a stylist, Mariella Ortega, who helped her select a lacy black lingerie top with an oversize pair of Levi’s High Loose jeans, which were left unbuttoned and folded down.
she wasn’t worried about a wardrobe malfunction,
“It looked a little baggy and oversized, but I didn’t have to worry about a crash in the slightest,” Petit said. “The zipper fell off a bit, but my pants didn’t.”
Emma McClendon, assistant professor of fashion studies at St. John’s University, sees buttonless jeans as a marginal style between high-waisted pants and a full return to low-rise cuts.
“It’s something that reflects the general frenzy about whether low-rise jeans are coming back,” McClendon said with a laugh. “It’s experimenting without dipping into low-growth genes.”
The “general hysteria” may be exaggerating, but the long-predicted return of all things Y2K—including its stellar celebrity culture and super-low waistbands—has prompted those of us with too much media to hand. Inspired by those who saw Alexander McQueen’s “bummer” jeans. From runway in-joke to cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s.
Many people believe that low-rise jeans are only flattering to a small number of women with very flat stomachs. A Vogue article by Molly Jong-Fast last October had a headline at the top of it, “Please don’t let us fall back on low-rise jeans.”
But some women who were born in the early 2000s feel differently.
“For people who have more rectangular bodies, it adds extra folds to the pants that add a curve to the hips and shape an hourglass,” said Prisha Jain, an 18-year-old student studying economics at New York University. makes.” ,
Tess McNulty, 18, a film student, also in her first year at NYU, said the genre could be accessible to a wide range of bodies.
“I think there’s a new wave of people saying, ‘Wear what you want, curves look good, you don’t have a flat stomach to wear low-waisted jeans,'” she said, using a little more colorful language. said while doing
McNulty recently wore it buttonless jeans On the way to grab free ice cream for NYU students in Washington Square Park. She sees the style as a way of adopting a slogan seen on TikTok: “You don’t have to fit your clothes, your clothes should fit you.”
“You don’t have to feel bad if your pants don’t fit,” she said. “Wear them without buttons and it’ll be sexy and cool.”
Sophie Flores, 25, who was about to switch to buttonless jeans, agreed.
“If you wear anything with confidence, people who look at you will absorb your self-confident energy, and I can assure you they’ll think, ‘Hey…they look amazing! Flores wrote in an email from his home in West Hollywood, Calif. , He also said that Y2K was a big part of the appeal of the nostalgia trend.
“It’s been since 2018 with people like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner showing jeans without buttons and thongs,” said Valerie Steele, a fashion historian who works at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
McClendon sees connections to a larger historical arc.
“It reminds me of the original low-rise jeans that were in the 1960s,” she said. She compared the current taste for plunging waistbands—including the dress slacks seen at Frankie’s Shop in New York—to hippies cutting their waistbands with scissors.
“If you think of Mud Jeans and Les with Flowers, it was playing with this aesthetic from the ’60s that was all about breaking up and showing off the body,” McClendon said, referring to the two jeans brands. Said who were popular. Early aughts.
Could part of the appeal be embracing the look that confused older generations?
McNulty doesn’t think so. “Maybe if you’re 13,” he said with an eye roll. “It doesn’t really apply to me.”
Nevertheless, she shared a selfie in her family’s group chat, in which she was dressed in her jeans and rolled up without buttons, which provoked a reaction from her parents.
“He just did an ‘exclamation point’ reaction,” she said.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.