Please Stop Trying To Make The High-Rise Wide-Leg Crop Happen

This is fashion trending at its worst.

Everyone is carrying these goddamn pants and I’m pissed. They’re horrendous and let me tell you why. But first, let us take a look at some of the offenders. I fear you will recognize all these brands and feel at least some twinge of betrayal. Et tu, Old Navy?

The biggest offender is Everlane, which is just straight-up lying in its ad campaigns and saying that these pants look good on everyone. They very obviously do not look good on short people, or people with hips, or people who are anything over a fit-model size, which is technically larger than most of the models Everlane uses but that’s for another blog post. Have a look and tell me if any of this looks normal to you:

Then there’s J. Crew:

And Anthropologie:


Banana Republic, too:

Madewell. They so would:

Old Navy, why would you do this when we already have Gap and Banana both in on the ruse:

Okay, you get the point. Here are all the very expensive ones at Polyvore. Just because your crazy pants are Derek Lam or Tibi doesn’t mean they look good. It means you are doing the thing the fashion people want you to do right now. Haven’t you ever watched The Devil Wears Prada?

Indeed, this “kicky” pant length was lauded by Vogue in the pre-spring of 2015, after all the runway shows for spring featured the wide crop. Two years later, the fashion has trickled down to us normals who shop retail, and I am calling bullshit.

Look, I won’t deny that a lot of fashion is a certain amount of bullshit, but this has gone a belt loop too far. Everlane is the worst offender in propagating the fake news that this is “the most flattering pant you’ll ever try.” Racked did an entire piece about whether and how they fit, and please just take a moment to enjoy yourself while perusing the testimonials. Said Meredith Haggerty, “I tried on these pants in my size, 12, in black, and I felt like the love child of a teen Juggalo and a pregnant sailor.”

There’s something off about these pants, right? They’re slightly longer than a Gaucho pant but with a very specific JNCO vibe—not quite a culotte, not yet a full sailor pant either. They’re neither here nor there in the “bottoms” category. Don’t even get me started about what happens about where the butts go in these pants, because I haven’t found them yet.

In my many years as an obsessive clothing analyzer, I have learned two very important lessons about “fashion” that can serve as helpful consumer safeguards:

  1. Most clothes look great on a wire hanger. THIS IS THE SECRET TO EILEEN FISHER. I’m telling you. Stuff on a hanger is drapey and almost two-dimensional and hangs just so and has a very relaxed vibe. It’s easy to appreciate great craftsmanship and fabric choices of a garment on a hanger. But when you put your body inside that garment, it’s a whole different story. Your body has lumps where mine doesn’t, and vice versa. It’s fucked up but that’s just what we’re dealing with here.
  2. Finding a “flattering fit” is all about ratios. Dimensions. The way one thing looks in contrast to another. What’s showing and what’s not. Some people have tiny waists but big hips, which makes it very difficult to find the right pant size. Do you fit your body at its widest or its narrowest parts? Shoes that cover up too much of your foot look insane and unflattering, whereas flats with a more open line that cut across to your fifth metatarsal are sexy as hell and make your legs look longer. How clothing looks is one thing, but how it looks on you is entirely another—an idea that is often hard to balance with things like label loyalty and, ugh, sizing, which is the absolute worst.

This second principle is the key to the high-waisted wide-leg crop. “If we just make the pant leg wider, it makes the ankle look daintier, and if the pant sits at the waist, it’s almost like a midi A-line silhouette.” BUT NOT EVERYONE’S FEMURS ARE THE SAME LENGTH and a lot of other things, so as you can see above many people’s dainty little ankles get covered up by the entire hem, brushing the tops of your shoes, and giving you the look of a young man who has grown a few inches since college but refuses to replace his “work pants,” three jobs deep.

Dear fashion: I see what you’re doing. The jig is up. THE SEAMS ARE SHOWING. Trends are all about “what’s the cool thing now” and not necessarily “what actually looks good.” Anyone who experienced the eighties knows that. But this reeks of being marketed to, hard, with little regard to the truth of the product. The truth is these pants look great on skinny women with long shins who can stand to wear heels for more than a special occasion. Which is not me and not most of us. Also they look kinda dumb!

Many of these pants are on sale now. I hope that means they go away soon.