My Love/Hate Relationship With Drop-Crotch Pants


For Love/Hate Week, TheGloss‘ editors are documenting all the things we’re ambivalent about: big breasts, Valentine’s Day, other stuff. I don’t usually experience contradictory attitudes toward things, I’m pretty all or nothing. There’s one thing that came to mind, though, one thing that could probably tarnish my otherwise completely stellar reputation as fashion editor of this site: I love drop-crotch pants.

There’s a whole lot of items out there that are acceptable in fashion capitals like New York, Paris, or London but make the wearer look like an idiot anywhere else (I’d argue, also, that they make the wearer look like an idiot everywhere). Usually these are hyper-seasonal “it” items like statement shoes or bags, or anything that’s going to catch a street style photographer’s eye. In New York specifically, there’s all kinds of things that people go wild for that don’t make a lick of sense anywhere else: spasmodically mixing prints, wearing stupid shoes, being Olivia Palermo, etc.

What I mean to say is I’m from a small town and I tend to think you shouldn’t dress like an asshole. I know fashion’s all about “expressing yourself” and shit, but at a certain point, it just becomes about getting attention. And if you just want attention, you should walk around with a sign that says “I will fuck your dog” or some such because it’s a lot more honest than suffocating under a bunch of clashing florals and platforms and denim shirts tucked into printed pants while you’re riding a vintage bicycle. I think people get away with this in New York because here everybody wants attention, and all these vain, bored people really like the competition. The streets can be a bit of an eyesore.

Anyway, until about 3 years ago I mentally indexed “drop-crotch” firmly in the place of “dumb shit people wear for attention” or “strictly for fashion victims.” I was even generous enough to think they photographed nicely in ads and editorials, probably because the models are always posed to emphasize the cut:

…Unfortunately, most people don’t go around in a permanent half-crouch with their legs spread. Because it looks stupid. Like drop-crotch pants.

Three years ago, however, my morality went out the window. I was walking to work through Union Square–which is pretty much like the Hell dimension from Event Horizon for agoraphobes–so I was trying to move fast. Then, through the crowd, I saw this lady and I just stopped: she was about 6′ with long, straight, graying blonde hair. I’d guess she was in her mid-40s. She was extremely small-boned and bird-like but also very severe. Imagine Patti Smith‘s aesthetic with Tom Petty‘s face and you’re in hilarious but accurate flavor country.

The woman was wearing a frighteningly well-tailored blazer (I’d wager a Demeulemeester), a long thin scarf, and then down below… she had drop crotch pants tucked into her knee-high, lace-up Doctor Martens. She was that perfect combination of “elegantly wasted” and Rick Owens-approved “darkly romantic” without getting too “mall goth.”

I loved her. I thought she looked perfect. …So I set about finding the perfect pair of drop-crotch pants. I started at Topshop because, come on, if you’re going to buy an item of clothing you know makes you look like an asshole, don’t spend more than $50, right? Wrong. Turns out, with these things, cut/material/draping are the difference between chic and “noticeably heavy diaper.” I bought a cheap pair and wore them until I caught myself in the mirror with an appalled look one too many times and so took them to Good Will. It was stupid and wasteful.

But at what cost?

After a few months of trying things on to no avail, I ended up at Commes des Garcon Black, the (comparatively) affordable temporary diffusion line of one of my all-time favorite labels. There, I was persuaded by a disarmingly charismatic, ethnically ambiguous fellow with fashion dreadlocks to buy a pair of drop-crotch trousers. Yes, this strange, beautiful little man with zero body fat and a t-shirt ripped in so many stylishly disheveled places would say things like, “Yeah, it’s such a classic style,” “It’s actually a really traditional cut for working women in Japan,” and kept referring to Rei Kawakubo like she had the other half of his BFF locket.

So I bought the pants and… I love them. They are beautiful. The high waist works on my disproportionately long torso and the fabric is lovely and–if you cinch them really tightly with a belt–natural pleats appear and then dissipate at the thigh. Still, I have worn them only a few times because I can’t shake the feeling that I look like an idiot. Rather, I can wear them in New York because you just look like one idiot among the many, but the second I go home, I look victimed out.

I love these pants so much that I have become weirdly defensive about the style as a whole. Once someone said to me, “You own Hammer Pants?” And I was like, “No! Hammer Pants are harem pants. Sure, they have a lower crotch but they have more volume and taper differently.”

Fuck you.

In other words, I love my drop-crotch pants so much that I’ve become protective of them, like they’re some sort of adorable puppy in a leg splint. I know it’s shameful, but I love them. How can something be both flattering and make me look like an idiot? How can I know they look fantastic but then get all self-conscious and think everyone on the subway is giving me the side eye? So, to tie this up, the substance of my love/hate relationship with drop-crotch pants is simple: I love them… but I hate myself for loving them.

Is there any item of apparel that you love, even though you know it’s wrong? And don’t be harsh in the comments: this is a place for healing. Also, did the past 1000 words (yes) desensitize you to “crotch” any? Because I’ve written it so many times but it’s still terrible.

One last thing.

Share This Post:
    • Annie

      I too have a shameful, shameful appreciation of the drop-crotch.

    • Meghan Keane


    • Roxana Rusowsky

      I used to have some really, really hideous shoes that I loved. I can’t even say their name, because I am ashamed. But I couldn’t live without them. I even added some diy magic to them that made them even uglier. And I loved them even more. It’s like the opposite of Erasure: I hate to love you, “shoes”.

    • Abigail

      It was NEVER fashionable, I know that, but I was seven years old, and I can’t be blamed. My grandmother bought me a thick, maroon head band adorned with large, fluffy, whiskered bears, applied with hot glue. It was morbid. It looked like someone had decapitated a bunch of tiny cat bears and hot glued their heads onto an already iffy fashion accessory.

      I wore it every day. Literally. Every single day for two years.

      • Lemona

        Why weren’t we best friends?

        My mom made me a shirt with a beach scene painted on it . . . and she made tiny soft dolls of our entire family (in swimsuits) that stuck to the shirt with Velcro.

        No one else thought it was cool, but I knew the truth: it was way cool.

    • Lindsey

      Ahhh. I think you should put up a picture of yourself in these fancy pants.

    • Cassie

      I like harem pants too. I think fashion should be more free, and that interesting shapes should be more appreciated. What exactly makes them bad? That they aren’t second-skin skinny jeans? Are they unflattering? In that case, you should wear them just to prove that you don’t have to look like sex on a stick 24/7.

      • kokosalexa

        Exactly. Don’t understand why everyone wants to look “hot” ( n by hot I mean slutty) 24/7. Girls,try hiding something once in a while.

    • Pamela

      I know you wrote this a while ago but in my search for another pair of drop crotch pants I came across your article. Yes, I love the damn things. Thousands of women were wearing them in spain and italy last year and I didn’t get any. So this summer I picked up a pair at Desiguel. I love them and will defend them to the death! In fact I’m thinking of getting a backup pair if these wear out.

    • tom

      why the shame… you wear something you like that looks good on you, and not to make a statement.