Blunder #1 | Zubaz
You may not remember when these were the new hotness, but you might have seen them at the gym or in Saved By The Bell reruns. Screech wore ‘em on occasion, and they were all the rage with the sports and wrestling crowds. They came in every color and pattern, including custom multi-colored zebra stripes for your favorite team.
Blunder #2 | Parachute Pants
Often confused with hammer pants and their modern progeny (foreshadowing!), the actual parachute pant was slim-cut and usually made out of shiny polyester or nylon material with colorful accent zippers all over the legs. These were presumably for securing your valuable Tamagotchi or POG slammers while you jumped out of an airplane with a (you guessed it) parachute strapped to your back. They didn’t breathe very well, but they did have some utilitarian benefits. Perhaps the grand-pappy of modern cargo pants?
Blunder #3 | Hammer Pants
“Please Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em!” was the mantra repeated in his albums and lyrics, but it’s hard to imagine being intimidated by a guy who’s pants are reminiscent of saggy diapers. The classic hammer pant varied in color from metallic gold to bold patterns, but black was a common choice as well. These are currently being re-branded as “Harem” pants and have graced the legs of such esteemed artists as Justin Bieber and Psy in the last few years.
Blunder #4 | Jeggings/Meggings
Another flash in the frying pan of fashion fame, the true jegging is actually a legging, or tights without feet, that is printed to look like jeans. Anything this clingy that is actually made out of denim belongs to the skinny jean family, sub-genus “super-skinny” or “oh-my-god-how-do-I-get-these-off”. Jeggings worn by men become “meggings”, as referenced in this excellent review by gothamist.com author Jake Dobkin back in 2013. Whichever letter you use, pants like these are definitely conversation starters –or enders.
Blunder #5 | Pajama Jeans
To be honest, I was trolling through all the photos of these jeans on the internet and only served to confirm my suspicion that these might be the best thing ever invented (besides the Snuggy). In pictures, they are very convincing with dark denim-colored knit fabric, fake seam stitching and sometimes even real back pockets! I have been assured, however, that the difference in material is obvious to the naked eye. A trustworthy colleague who has been in the physical presence of these mysterious pajama/jean hybrids tells me that she took a cursory glance at the wearer of these pajama jeans at a party and determined their true nature after only a moment. Who wants to get caught wearing pajamas to a party? Apparently, they need to step up their texture game –then I might be willing to try it.
Blunder #6 | Tight Rolling
This isn’t exactly a type of pants, but it is a fashion trend that affected pants in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So widespread was this fold of the cuff that even our star celebrities were doing it on stage and screen alike. Ask anyone born before 1980 and they will tell you without a doubt that tight rolling your jeans before school was as essential to your day as tying your shoes (or securing the Velcro zip-straps on them). There was some debate as to whether the folds had to begin left-to-right or the opposite, but pulling the fold from the outside of your ankle seemed to accentuate the calf and prevent the funky bunching with particularly stiff denim.
Blunder #7 | Acid Wash Jeans
Every now and then this eye-catching icon tries to pop back up and take off again. When they first hit store shelves, it was like millions of 80’s moms cried out in terror –and then suddenly were silenced. The best way to wear them, of course, was to rip them to shreds as well. Some kids, who couldn’t afford to pay designer prices for jeans that were half-destroyed, even tried making them at home. Maybe it was an expression of modern teenagers’ existential or socio-economic dilemma, but I’m betting they just wanted to piss off their moms. Either way, you don’t see them very often, but they never really go away.
Blunder #8 | Sagging
Another trend that is more a choice than an actual statement, the saggy jeans are still stirring up fashion savvy armchair critics all over the country. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the practice of sagging –and some communities have even spent time and money trying to legislate this look out of existence! The trend has mostly been executed by males, but it’s definitely become the butt of many jokes since it’s inception. We’d love to offer some insight on the controversy, but there’s just no way to explore it with a straight face.
Blunder #9 | Raver Pants
These might be a little obscure, but in the late 90’s there were at least a few stores at the local mall where you could pick up a pair of these ridiculously wide-legged pants. Often they were made of denim and wouldn’t be complete without patches, colorful accents, criss-crossing straps, and chains dangling from random spots on the waist or crotchal-region. Maybe they were supposed to accentuate the groovy dance moves all the cool kids were doing at rave parties back then, but they seemed awfully heavy for a hot room full of strobe lights.
Blunder #10 | Overalls
These babies go way back to before any of us were around –but they became a medium for some pretty great expression in the 90’s. The ladies in TLC experimented with overalls of just about every color, material, and accessory. They even went as far as pinning condoms all over their sassy pants to raise awareness about “safe sex”. One shoulder strap, or two?