Low-rise jeans are back – and the lower the better | jeans


In fashion, the disappearance of skinny jeans is now old news. The style to replace them in 2022? The favorite of the early 2000s: low-rise jeans.

Now, as then, the lower the belt, the better. Models Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid and singer Dua Lipa have been wearing low-waisted baggy styles since last summer, often with a bare midriff exposed. And that other style trick last seen in the 2000s — the “whale tail,” or wearing low-rise jeans with the strap of a thong showing — is also back. Lizzo and Kim Kardashian West have experimented with this look. Ratajkowski and fellow models Kendall Jenner and Emily Fox were all seen trying on ‘thong jeans’. Rather than jeans worn low to show off the wearer’s undergarments, these have the suspenders pre-sewn into the waistband.

It’s not just celebrities. Searches for low-rise jeans are up 58% year-over-year on global fashion shopping platform Lyst. On reselling app Depop, searches have increased by 36% over the past three weeks. Asos, which sells thong jeans, expects low-rise jeans sales to increase this year.

The trend is part of a wider interest in Gen Z’s Y2K style. Alexander McQueen launched his so-called bumsters in 1996 – pants worn so low that the top of the wearer’s buttocks were exposed – while the Gucci by Tom Ford had visible thong straps, and sometimes just thongs, on the catwalk around the same time. In the early 2000s, celebrities like Keira Knightley, Jennifer Lopez and Destiny’s Child wore low-rise jeans, and the whale tail was on the red carpet, worn by Christina Milian and Pamela Anderson.

Asal Tehrani, the woman behind Bella Hadid’s favorite Depop store @susamusa, attributes this influence to this era. “Low-rise jeans are proving popular due to the resurgence of the early 2000s,” she says. “I’m thinking of Paris Hilton and The Simple Life, Jennifer Lopez and Keira Knightley red carpet time.” Morgane Le Caer, head of content at Lyst, agrees. “From tube tops to velor tracksuits, 2000s trends have made a noticeable comeback among Gen Z shoppers and TikTok users,” she says, “so it was only a matter of time before that low-rise jeans enter their wardrobes. To get the look, Tehrani recommends looking for brands Miss Sixty, Von Dutch and True Religion on vintage apps and sites.

New brands are also participating in the trend. Miaou, a brand launched by Alexia Elkaim in 2016 and now known for its corsets, has started selling thong pants in 2021. She was directly inspired by “the girls I looked up to in the early 2000s representing whale tails”. She says the thong was an instant hit: “Our clientele were thrilled and we sold way more than expected.” While Elkaim wasn’t surprised, she acknowledges that this is a more extreme end to a trend. “It appeals to the girl who dares to show her thong,” she says. “It’s definitely a statement.”

It’s still unclear whether low-rise jeans will continue to become a trend and eclipse other denim styles. “The question is, will low-rise jeans take over high-rise jeans in 2022? said LaCaer. Tehrani thinks not – because they don’t have the same mass appeal. “Even though low-rise jeans are iconic, they’re definitely a statement piece,” she says. “They’re bolder to wear and harder to pull off compared to a classic high-waisted fit. I don’t think low rise jeans will become the dominant denim style because they’re not made for all body types.

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