Friday, October 21, 2011

harem scarem or, what's up doc?

by frédérik sisa

Ever hear of “carrot” jeans or “arc fit” jeans? I hadn’t, and when I finally came across them at Topman and ASOS, I was ready to pull out my red thermonuclear WTF!? stamp and brand this post with it. But then I calmed down and remembered that as ridiculous as these look to me, some people, somewhere, like and wear them. Who am I to go off on a fashion police rant? More power to them for wearing what they want.

But enough about them. Let’s get back to me and my opinion, which is that I don’t really “get” these jeans at all. Obviously, they’re a version of harem pants. They’re also comparable to the style of wearing pants so low that underwear requires a spelling change tonunderw-air. In fact, that’s what these carrot jeans, so-called because they’re wide at the hips and tapered at the legs, initially reminded me of before the harem pants kicked into view: dropped crotches with long enough waists for undies to stay under.

From a particular subjective aesthetic standpoint, I suppose pants like these need no justification other than the fact that (some) people like it. Those who don’t, of course, don’t have to buy and wear them. From a design standpoint, however, I’m not clear as to how carrot pants actually work except as ornament, and even then the ornamentation seems odd. A belt buckle, I get. It’s a useful accessories that can be decorated to attract attention to one’s pelvis (or not) as one sees fit. But the dropped crotch of these harem pants wannabes presents a distorted image of the wearer’s pelvis. Some even look like “old man” pants, or the kind of style Steve Urkel would appreciate.

Topman Peg Leg Jeans...hmmm. It's missing a pirate.

At least in Asia they have the good sense to offer actual harem pants instead of garments with a vegetable marketing package. These designs strike me as more successful than ASOS and Topman’s offerings.

Having said that, I think the issue is that harem carrots look unbalanced when the crotch is only dropped a little bit, resulting in an abnormally long pelvis. If dropped down closer to the knee, it starts taking on the character of a pantaloons and, while definitely not for all tastes, at least creates a profile that contrasts the clothing form with body form instead of merely exaggerating body form.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think? Do these carrot jeans appeal to you? Is there room to appreciate the design that’s gone into these bunny pants? Or are these just a niche item?

Note: Images borrowed from ASOS, Topman, and for illustrative purposes. They'll be taken down at the request of the copyright owner. Etc.

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