Few items of clothing have been talked about over the last two decades with more disdain than the low-rise jean. Once a staple in the world of early-aughts denim, the immodest style is notorious for being uncomfortable (it’s hard to feel cozy when the skin between your hips and your pelvis is entirely exposed), impractical (you try yanking up your jeans with every step), and triggering given that most of its aughts ambassadors, like Paris Hilton and Keira Knightley, were thin enough to miraculously avoid a low-rise-induced muffin top. And yet, along with just about every other recently revived trend from the turn of the millennium, the denim style defined by three-inch zippers (if not faux leather laces) and exposed G-strings is irrefutably back.
Still living in denial? According to digital shopping platform ShopStyle, searches for low-rise jeans have grown by 44%, compared to 2020, when the first inklings of a comeback appeared.
I wish this was the part where I said: Don't fret, dear readers, low-rise pants have undergone a reckoning and the new class is far less intimidating than its predecessor. Sadly, that isn’t the case. In fact, the majority of the new iterations emerging on the fashion scene are even harder to embrace than before, back when rises were so short, there was rarely enough room for a belt loop (as seen on Amanda Bynes at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2002). Low-rise haters, meet your worst nightmare: the V-pant.
The defining feature of the V-pant is a waistband that dips low into the pubic region, making the style even more revealing than the low-rise jeans of the early aughts. V-pants first came to us courtesy of an array of Gen-Z favorite indie brands, ranging from Revice, a honeypot of Y2K denim, to Miaou, an Instagram-favorite destination for corsets, as well as ultra-low-rise faux leather kick flares. I.Am.Gia and SKIMS have, too, introduced versions of the trend in their recent collections, while Christopher Esber turned the V-pant into a V-dress, using a diamond-shaped cut-out that gives the illusion of a V-shaped waistline.
Last month, while doing press for her album Solar Power, Lorde wore Esber’s V-dress to perform on Good Morning America, thus giving the belly-baring look her eclectic stamp of approval. Kim Kardashian posed for a recent SKIMS campaign in a light gray pair of jersey bike shorts that featured a ruched, deep-V waistband. Her exact pair, from the Twist collection, is available now on skims.com for $42.
Clearly, the V-pant is gaining traction — and fast. (Whether the craze will usher in an uptick in Brazilian bikini waxes, is anyone’s guess.) But unlike the tight-fitting, thong-baring low-rise jeans from our past, which will never not be riddled with bad memories, this new style arrives en vogue with a blank slate. Rather than dismissing them before they ever get a chance, we’re opting to instead embrace the V-pant for what it is: yet another opportunity to show off our bodies post-lockdown, while we still can.
After running from low-rise jeans for 20 years, it’s time to face our fears (and maybe buy a vajazzler). If the V-pant beckons to you, here’s our guide to shopping the up-and-coming (and down-and-dirty) style.
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