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The Comeback of Low-Rise Jeans and What It Means for Women

Léah Tattersall


Missoni, Spring 2022

Low-rise jeans are trending and Y2K fashion inspirations are impossible to escape on Pinterest, Tik Tok, and Instagram. Within the last year, more women have been wearing low-rise jeans out on the streets of Montreal, and all of North America seems to be adopting the trend as well by recreating outfits from the 2000s era. Undeniably, low-rise jeans are back in fashion and so is the body standard associated with it.

Young women responded to my Instagram story where they were asked to share their thoughts on this trend. “They’re cute but I feel like they only work on specific outfits and are harder to style,” expresses Layla, 18-year-old Concordia student who owns these type of jeans, “Plus, not everyone thinks they fit them and I feel like people have a specific idea of who should and shouldn’t wear them.” The unsustainability of low-rise jeans is one of the countless reasons this trend was short-lived in the past.

This specific style of jeans doesn’t bring back fond memories for some women. On May 6th, 2022, a Vogue article titled “How Low Can These Low-Rise Jeans Go?” by author Rachel Besser writes: “There’s no denying that, for millennials, the trend’s imminent return can be stress-inducing.”

With its belly-baring pants and other body conscious trends, the early aughts were a time that perpetuated fatphobia and a beauty standard striving for thin, young, and white. Diet culture was at its peak during this era and was keenly reflected through women’s clothing. Some millennials have also blamed the 2000s fashion movements for inducing their eating disorders. Why is this trend back and what effect will this body mindful and restrictive style have on women in the current decade?

This comeback is not surprising, according to Borys Fridman, co-owner for 48 years of Jeans Jeans Jeans, a beloved pants store situated in the Mile-end sector. “For you guys, it’ll be something on TV, something on Netflix, something on social media, that will all of a sudden click and become fashion,” Borys Fridman continues, “That’s what drives the market.”

Lola Garden, a young Australian woman, addresses her observations on this trend in a TikTok she posted earlier this month. “[...] Y2K low rise styles are trending, Bella Hadid just keeps getting skinnier, the Kardashians are removing their BBLs [Brazilian butt lift]” she shares, “and you can see the pro ED [eating disorder] sentiment growing online.”

Bella Hadid, a model who rose in popularity in the past three years, is followed by fifty-six million people on Instagram and is often seen wearing low-rise jeans. This shift in popularity from 2010s high-rise jeans known to accentuate the waist, making curves appear wider, to the return of low-rise jeans that are meant to highlight a flat abdomen and minimal curves, clearly illustrates an unfolding change in body standards for women.

However, clothing is becoming increasingly gender neutral and the established rules are constantly being rejected when it comes to fashion: people of all genders are seen embracing the low-rise jeans upcoming trend. With the body positivity movement, low-rise styles might not be as detrimental to women as they were for the prior generation. “There’s just something about the aesthetic of them that makes me feel confident,” says 18-year-old Dawson student, Emma.

Like Molly Jong-Fast says in a Vogue article from October 19th, 2021 titled “For Goodness’ Sake, Please Let Us Not Return to Low-Rise Jeans”: “We don’t have to ride this cycle; we can just say no to this trend.”



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