If you’re just like us, we put our pants on one leg at a time. And if you’re just like us, you’re super excited for baggy pants to be in style. There’s more to these pants than meets the eye.
The Comeback of Baggy Pants
Plenty of Gen Z has grown up with skinny jeans being the norm. But, if you’re a millennial or Gen X, you likely remember the ‘90s as not too long ago: everyone sporting baggy pants, bucket hats, and plaid sets. Basically, the Clueless fashion playbook.
If there’s one thing this past year has taught us, it’s that comfort and sustainability can be at the forefront of our style without sacrificing aesthetics. And it just so happens that the baggy pants perfectly represent that mindset.
Baggy pants forego the restrictions of the previous decades and make room for freedom and moveability today. And, it’s not just for men. Women and gender-nonconforming folks are encouraged to wear a silhouette for comfort and fashion, not just something that hugs every inch of your body, making you look more feminine.
Loosely tailored trousers, belted loose knit pants, and high-waisted vintage jeans are replacing the constricting silhouettes that came with skinny form-fitting pants and skinny jeans.
The loose-fitting pant style has been steadily creeping in for a while but is set to be a surefire trend of Winter 2021. Here are some of our favorite takes on this style. It’s predicted that comfort, escapism, and nostalgia are at the forefront of what we want from fashion right now.
Part of practicing sustainability in fashion is wearing what you already have. Know that many pants of the baggy variety are made or upcycled with sustainable methods. If you opt for a secondhand pair of baggy jeans, a slouchy pant made from recycled material, or an upcycled pair of pants using multiple mediums, sustainability is the name of the game.
If you don’t feel like wearing your skinny jeans this season, you can use them for patches on your wide-leg jeans. If you don’t think they can be donated, try cutting them into shorts: anything to keep them out of the landfill. New denim takes about 1,200 gallons of water to create one single pair of jeans. Luckily for us, because baggy pants have been in before, there are many pairs that already exist, along with many ways to upcycle pants you already own. If all else fails, just hold onto your skinny jeans. They’ll be the hottest trend again in no time. That’s the thing about vintage shopping — nothing ever truly goes out of style. In a few years’ time, you’ll be back online thrifting for vintage 2010 skinny jeans.
Baggy Pant Styles
The key to baggy pants lies within their comfort and uniqueness. Here are some of the best tips we have for choosing and styling baggy-fitting pants.
You can opt for a slouchy, low to mid-rise wide-leg jean. This should feel comfortable, breathable, and moveable. Consider pairing wide slouchy pants with a tighter crop top or T-shirt.
Right now, fashion is all about feeling like you could break out into a dance no matter what you are. Even if you don’t, it’s the mindset and the possibility of what movement could lie ahead that keeps us entranced.
When choosing a baggy pants, especially a dark material such as dark-washed denim, try a contrasting top-stitch. This is the stitch that outlines the pockets and outer seams of the pants.
Because there is a hefty amount of material in a baggy pant, you want to find ways to define the shape of them. Choosing a mustard yellow top-stitch, for instance, will define the curves of the pants and give them the necessary detailing to pop.
A great way to use denim you already have is to create patches. When you create your own patches, you’re ensuring that there is no other pair like yours. Every patch and placement is a little different, thus making your baggy pants more unique.
Baggy pants make a great canvas, and it’s the fun DIY details that make them interesting. While we’ve seen baggy pants before in fashion, adding your own spin on these classic looks is something that's newly encouraged.
Color and Patterns
Baggy pants aren’t just limited to jeans and slacks. There are plenty of styles that are retro, bright, bold, or patterned. These pants are not only a blunt fashion statement that says, “I love myself, and I own my vibe,” but they are also an exceedingly comfortable way to express style.
While it’s easy to think baggy pants trace back only to the ‘90s, they actually began in the late ‘70s, took over in the ‘80s, and became streamlined in the ‘90s with jeans. Today, it’s all about loose, tailored baggy sets that encourage breathability and comfort. The great thing about a baggy slack is that you can dress them up or down fairly easily. Pair it with a blazer, and you’ve achieved a chic business casual look. Pair it with a loose-fitting T-shirt and sneakers, and you’ve got yourself a high-fashion street-wear look.
Another way to honor the DIY sensibilities taking over fashion is to add some embroidery. The great thing about adding these details yourself is that for relatively little time and embracing the learning curve, you can add the exact details, colors, and placement you want. If this all sounds like too much work, there are plenty of already embroidered pieces out there.
But, encouraging your unique individuality is highly encouraged and doable all on your own should you choose to do so. Allow this to be one more way you express yourself. Plus, when you modify your own clothing, you are creating one more connection to it. Adding meaning to your clothing is adding to its lifespan because you are likely to keep that piece even as your style changes and adapts.
Cut-outs are not just for tops; say it louder for the ones in the back! Cutouts are not super possible with skinny, tight-fitting pants, but they add one of the coolest, trendiest, most futuristic unique looks to baggy pants.
The simplest half-circle cutouts make a baggy pant completely stand out and look one-of-a-kind. Because there is so much material in baggy pants, giving them a cut-out is a way to show off a little more skin while also realistically adding some ventilation. Pair patterned tights underneath for an ultra-chic look.
A slit at the bottom of your baggy pants not only adds beautiful detailing but also shows off your shoes and elongates your legs. This style became popularized in the early 2000s with a capri length pant and chunky platform shoe. Now, this is one way to accentuate the loose silhouette of baggy pants while breaking the boxiness of them up.
Baggy overalls are back, too, and we can practically hear Rachel Greene cheering us on all the way from Central Perk. Baggy-legged overalls give that feel of artistry while adding a childlike playfulness to your wardrobe. Overalls are one of the easiest things to throw on and have a full-on look in one piece.
If Baggy Pants Are So Trendy, How Are They Sustainable?
It’s important to be skeptical of trends or anything the fashion industry is feeding you by showing on celebrities. While baggy pants are incredibly trendy right now, they have also existed before, so shopping vintage and second-hand is your best bet. They’re not a new type of clothing, so opting for an already existing pair is possible.
Additionally, don’t throw out your other pants. Baggy pants may be an option, but they’re not the only option. Consider updating a pair you’ve kept from the ‘90s with bleach dye, embroidery, or cut-outs, or find a second-hand pair that you really connect with. Wearing clothes that make you feel yourself is always here to stay; baggy pants just might be a part of that.
When shopping for denim, try and follow these guidelines:
- Only buy secondhand or vintage.
- When getting rid of clothes, give to friends before donating (a third of all clothing donated ends up in a landfill).
- Only purchase what you really love, don’t just get something because it’s trendy. No matter how much someone sells you on baggy pants, if they’re not for you, they’re not for you. Only get clothing you really connect with - this goes for denim and beyond.
Expressing Individuality Through Baggy Pants
Because baggy pants are, well, baggy, they look different on every body type, person, and gender. Baggy pants are inclusive and allow your unique individuality to shine through. This might seem like a lot of credit to give a pair of pants, but clothes are a form of expression, and baggy pants allow you to do just that: express.
A Perfect Pair
What’s not to love about a roomy, breathable pant that makes you feel comfortable, all while being a nod to the nostalgia of the ‘80s and ‘90s? In some ways, the resurgence of baggy pants for both men and women shows where we have arrived as a culture.
We are done with restriction; we want freedom. We want clothing that encourages movement. We want a wardrobe that gives us the same comfort that pajamas provide, without sacrificing style.