Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walk the Walk

In college, I had to take a class called History of Textiles and Costumes, with an amazing professor, Sigrid Weltge. It was one of my favorite classes, and our final project was to make a book full of images of fashion today, next to images of their historical inspiration. Lately, I've been noticing a current trend that I would include if I were working on this assignment now.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's seen guys walking around with pants hanging below their asses. I mean, pants had been low hanging for a while, but the other day I was walking behind a guy and couldn't help but notice that the pants were literally sitting below his ass cheeks.

How could these possibly stay up? Then I noticed the way he’s walking. Having his pants hang this low forced him to walk leaning way back, with his legs spread apart, and with his hand on his front hip, holding up his pants. Of course, then I notice that everyone wearing pants that low, also have the walk to go with it. It comes off as arrogance, but really, I’m convinced it grew out of necessity to hold their pants up.

This got me thinking about how fashion has never been solely about the clothes. This is far from the first example of people having to modify the way they walk to accommodate the style of the day. The first example that came to mind was women with bound feet. While having tiny feet was socially important for a slew of reasons, what was also important was the sway with which women walked on their lily feet. So important that even women who were too poor to have their feet bound (because they had to, you know, walk around to survive) would try to emulate the sway of women with bound feet to appear of a higher class.

Another example is Paul Poiret's hobble dress. This particular dress was so narrow at the bottom, it was sold with hobble garters, shackles essentially, for women to wear so that they wouldn't take too long a stride and rip their seams. This resulted in a very fashionable hobble that women walked with when wearing this very fashionable garment.

As with every trend, they often become more and more extreme, until they become ridiculous and crash and burn, to be replaced by something new. I'm hoping this proves true for this current trend, because I don't want to see how much lower these pants can go.


  1. Great post. The lily feet never fail to make me cringe at the gross appearance and thought of how the smell was considered an aphrodisiac. Did you really take that picture of the jeans below the cheeks (daring!) or find it online somewhere?

  2. Found it online. Didn't have my camera on me, otherwise I would have tried!
    I know, bound feet is a post worthy of its own! I had a photo ready to use of a foot not in its tiny shoe, but thought it was a bit much.

  3. From my mom, who had trouble posting:

    "And here I thought maybe you were outside Eastside with your camera. In that same vein, today I saw a young Dad pushing a stroller after picking up a toddler from Day Care. He had one hand on the stroller and the other holding the pants up. Several paces ahead of him there was a young Mom making better time because she had both hands on her stroller and her snazzy tight jeans weren't threatening to go south."