They say that the moment you realize you’re getting older is the moment old fashion trends you used to flaunt come back to haunt you once more.
Although it will probably be unlikely that plaid patch shorts, lace-trimmed capris, and Bobby Jack stack the shelves once more (I hope), our early child-selves are bursting with the opportunity to graduate from Mary Kate and Ashley’s It Takes Two-era into Britney’s all denim Toxic vibe.
With open arms, we welcomed the return of small sunnies, saluted the resurrection of baggy boot cuts, and embraced the revival of tiny tubes as if they never left us. However, just as in any other schoolyard, it wasn’t long before the big bad bully of the early 2000s came to stir up trouble.
That’s right, recoil in horror as the return of the low-rise jean is upon us.
As a child in the early 2000s, the hip bone exposing, belly-button showing, and “how low can you go before it covers no more” jean was easily paired with a long tunic crafting a style that was nothing less than iconic. Is it a dress? Is it a shirt? Nobody knows.
Still, the likelihood that we can get away with throwing that ruffle mini skirt over our low risers in 2020 is next to none, and the haunting nightmare of the collaboration of the tight crop and low bottom is slowly becoming a reality.
Hilary Duff, if you are reading this, now is the time to bring back wearing skirts and dresses over jeans. We’re desperate.
Doing a full 180 from the past decade, the low-rise is attempting to overthrow the beloved revival of the 70s and 80s high-rise, the style that came to us as a simple vintage statement yet stayed as a form of comfort and protection.
Like a hot cup of cocoa on a snowy winter’s day, the high-rise built a sense of warmth and security, shielding one of the most insecure and criticized parts of the female body– the midriff.
Oh high-rise, we are forever indebted to you. Your expansion into swimwear gave us the ability to lay at the beach in seas of people while cracking open cold ones and scarfing down whatever food was stuffed into a cooler. Put on a shirt in +34-degree weather out of embarrassment that someone may notice your stomach is not as flat as a board? Not with the high-rise.
Let us not forget the more sophisticated high-rise leggings that allowed us to indulge in endless holiday celebrations. We never had to consider the fact that having another slice of pie could result in the bursting of the button on our pants. When it comes to the holidays, high-rise, you are the true gift.
Alas, it was only a matter of time before the Bella Hadids and Kendall Jenners of the world were bearing their bare tummies in hopes of igniting the fire to bring back low-rise jeans. For the first time since Instagram models truly took the reins of influence, this certain fashion choice was met with extreme criticism and a plea for the fashion gods to reconsider in the name of the body positive movement.
The perfect alignment of the high-rise and fourth-wave feminism gave room for the growth of body image empowerment, a movement that has quickly molded into the mainstream, diminishing the unrealistic standards of body image that have anchored the culture of fashion for too long.
No longer expected to walk out of the house every day with the visibility of toned abs glistening in the sun, the high-rise instead works to accentuate the natural curve of the female body, making it easier to care less about what you’re eating, and harder not to love the natural shape of you.
So, does the revival of the low-rise jean mean we have lost all that we have worked for? That the aggressive and unnatural body standards of the fashion and modeling industry are back to haunt us?
No, not exactly. Rather, the slow progression of the popularity behind the low-rise jean makes a statement that the industries that target a specific type of person and body type are becoming a thing of the past.
Women are fighting to find themselves within the trends, influencing the influencer to promote healthier standards surrounding women’s bodies. Those standards, of course, being that everybody is beautiful, and no shape or size should be left out of what is dawned as trendy.
The low-rise now rests slightly higher than before, with more wiggle room in the rear and thighs to fit all that extra love in there. Perhaps more importantly, this lessens the stress of wondering how far you can move before something pops out of place.
Will the low-rise come back with full force? Yes, I’m sorry, it’s inevitable. Frankly, some women find this style more comfortable. I will even admit myself there’s a certain sense of freedom that comes along with it.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s revival needs to be feared. Take the risk knowing that, like an old friend, the high-rise will always be there awaiting your return.
Even if the rise is not for you, feel hopeful in knowing that the industry is beginning to listen to the voices of the majority, and their refusal to fit into any mold other than what they are meant to be.
Let’s face it, it’s just not trendy to be anything other than yourself.