Pin It
alexander mcqueen low waist trousers spring summer 2019
Low slung leather trousers on the runway at McQueen SS19Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Are we all about to wear low slung trousers again?

Don’t @ the messenger

Real talk: are trousers about to – in the immortal words of Lil Jon circa 2003 – get low?

I know, I know. Trust me, I wasn’t expecting to write that sentence in this, the year of our Lord 2018, but here we are.

For years, high-rise trousers have reigned supreme. I’d put the breakout moment for high waistlines at Winter 2012, when the iconic American Apparel Disco Pant reached peak popularity and started to filter into the suburbs in the form of cheap knockoffs (easily identifiable by the misshapen pockets and the fact that they would stretch out around the crotch after a single wear). After that came the vintage Levi’s mom jean movement, and while the Disco Pant’s popularity would tank, waistlines haven’t recovered to pre-2012 levels since.

And now? Well, judging by the runways, that might be about to change. After a couple of tentative toe-dips into the world of low waistlines last year, more than a few designers showed hip-grazing designs this season. Cast your mind back to June, when Alyx’s Matthew Williams put on his first fashion show, featuring both menswear and womenswear lines. A couple of pairs of trousers, belted with his signature Rollercoaster buckle, hovered suspiciously below the navel. Fast forward to the womenswear shows, and waistlines at ChanelCharlotte KnowlesMarta Jakubowski, CourrègesVersace and Sacai followed suit. To name a few.

And then there was McQueen, where waistlines were the lowest they’ve been for years. For those of you who aren’t clued up on your low-slung history, Alexander McQueen debuted the Bumster – trousers so low they showed your bum, naturally – in 1993, and they would become an iconic part of the house’s design lexicon. It’s not the first time in the past few seasons that designer Sarah Burton has pulled pants down, so to speak – SS18 and SS17 featured low cut trousers (including flower embroidered jeans!) but this season, things went lower than ever.

So, why is this happening? Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that there are pictures of Britney in almost explicit Juicy Couture velour track pants and Ugg boots all over my Instagram feed, and vintage Dior Saddle Bags are now being sold for obscene amounts when six months ago they were £100. Bumsters blazed a trail in the 90s, but forget 90s nostalgia, grandma! Now it’s all about Y2K – the preferred aesthetic of Generation Depop (I feel old!!!). And the 00s were all about the lowest waistline possible.

Listen, I grew up in the era of Paris and Nicole, Britney and Xtina. I vividly remember the iconic moments these women contributed to the books of midriff history – from Brit’s 2001 “Slave 4 U” snakeskin thong worn over leather pants, to Paris’s practically mons pubis-revealing 2003 MTV Movie Awards look. A moment here, also, for Christina Aguilera’s lace-up low riders on the 2002 Stripped album cover – a visual recently referenced by menswear designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin. I remember trying to get those extremely tight and Miss Sexy school trousers that were definitely, in no way, appropriate for school.

Still, am I thrilled that this, let’s be honest, unfortunate fashion era is in the throes of a revival? Eh, I could live without it, but I gotta admit there’s something alluring about the idea of getting my long-hidden hips out again. It can’t just be me, though – we need a true #trendsetter, someone like Bella Hadid or Kim Kardashian West, to get on board for this to officially be happening. Sure, KKW is prob not gunna be seen in some Abercrombie jeans any time soon, but is it really so farfetched that she would opt for some Tom Ford Gucci trousers circa 1995? I think not. You have been warned.