Skip to comments.Butting in on fashion: Gen-X sinks to new lows
Posted on 08/03/2003 9:42:49 AM PDT by Dog Gone
How low can we go? I am talking, of course, about today's waistbands.
If you thought the belly-baring thing was bad enough, take a good look at the sartorial depths to which fashion has now sunk. The Los Angeles Times last week declared it "the summer of the pelvic bone." Last year's already obscene low-riders have gone the way of high-water polyester pants.
Today's hip-huggers have almost nothing but hope to hang onto anymore. The "normal" inseam-to-waist rise of 8 to 9 inches is shrinking faster than Britney Spears' record sales. To wit, Levi's has introduced a new line of jeans called "Too Superlow" for women. Upping the ante, or should I say lowering it, the teenage-girl brand Gasoline markets "Down2There" -- adjustable low-rise jeans with a built-in bungee cord designed to help the wearer drop her pants to even nastier nadirs.
Canadian teen singer Avril Lavigne's perilously sagging pants are a global youth phenomenon. "My butt crack showing is like my trademark," she gracefully explained to a music reporter. Salon.com writer Janelle Brown approves: "(T)he butt crack is the new cleavage, reclaimed to peek seductively from the pants of supermodels and commoners alike."
The late Sen. and social critic Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous phrase "Defining deviancy down" has taken on a whole new meaning.
Grown-ups, be forewarned: Avril's fashion nonsense is seeping into other markets. Levi's recently launched a "Dangerously Low" line for men. Another of its low-rise men's lines is dubbed, appropriately enough, "Offender." Actor Brad Pitt has popularized the Diesel brand low-risers. Toronto-based writer Jim Oldfield says the trend has overwhelmed mainstream men's stores and orders are already piling up for the fall. One Canadian merchant helpfully advised Oldfield that hip men are wearing the jeans commando-style.
In other words: "Underwear is, like, not required."
Even expectant women can't escape these drooping duds. Popular young actress and mom-to-be Kate Hudson has been photographed parading around in low-rise cargo pants and toddler-sized crop tops to show off her growing belly. At a recent trip to my neighborhood mall's maternity store, the only jeans in my size were ridiculous low-risers with flared bottoms that needed hiking every time I exhaled.
Trust me: This nouveau plumber's crack chic does not look any better on the overweight guy crouching under your kitchen sink than it does on a six-months-pregnant lady trying to bend over to pick up her toddler without mooning the world.
What will it take to convince the current cohort of exhibitionistas that sleaze is not sexy -- that less is not always more, that low is low-class? If Generation X-rated can't be persuaded to cover up out of moral necessity, perhaps they will listen to medical authority. A warning about the health hazards of low-rise pants was published in the Canadian Medical Association six months ago. According to Dr. Malvinder Parmar, a painful condition called "meralgia paresthetica" is causing wearers of hip-huggers to experience "tingling or a burning sensation" in the thighs.
Dr. Parmar's treatment: four to six weeks in -- the horror! -- loose-fitting dresses. Must have been worse than swallowing cod liver oil.
Avril and Britney and Brad need to show their fans that a little extra fabric is not a death sentence. The late Kate Hepburn melted hearts while fully clothed in turtlenecks and roomy, belted trousers. She was a "hottie" who showed us her cheekbones, and left the rest where it should be left: to the imagination.
Alas, modesty has been long out of vogue. But it's a fashion rule of thumb that what's out eventually becomes in. The day when "clothed is the new naked" can't come soon enough.
Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist based in North Bethesda, Md. firstname.lastname@example.org
A large part of the market for these jeans is teenage girls and boys whose PARENTS spend the money on their kids' clothes. How about these parents get some common sense and just NOT BUY THEM. Let their little darlings whine and moan about how their parents are ruining their lives and their little psyches by not letting them be like everybody else. Could be a good lesson in NOT going along with the crowd.
Call me an old fuddy duddy all you want, but I frankly don't want to see excessive cleavage in front OR in back!
They were all repulsed by the girls at a concert they recently attended in Dallas who in my kids words were "fat chicks in low risers or short-short skirts." No one can accuse my kids of being prudes, but I must have gone right somewhere.
One word of advice to parents of teens/pre-teens who do wear the cleavage pants: SIT-UPS. We have to look at your kids flabby guts as well as their asses and it ain't pretty coming or going!
I think perhaps she's walking and they're bouncing to and fro.
Here's a couple to hopefully counteract that very disturbing photo in post #46.
Strauss and Howe, in their work 13th Gen, pretty much the seminal work on Gen X and an interesting intro to their other books, Generations and The Fourth Turning, call it a little differently. They feel the Gen X generation was born from 1960 to 1979, on the basis of the shared experiences that most held.
Which just goes to show that all the terms are pretty much made up out of whole cloth. Notice how comparatively gigantic the "Baby Boomer" generation supposedly is; the "oldest" of them are only a few years away from retirement age, which means Boomerdom seems to apply to anyone born from around 1945 to 1965, while the X-Y-Z zones only appear to encompass a 10-15 year period each.
Strauss and Howe place the Boomers, as most do, as a somewhat pre- and post- war generation that was born from 1940 to 1959, on the basis of the shared experiences that most held. That they also cohort by about 20 years is also appropriate given the fertility cycle means that typically women actually had kids and started a new generation every 20 years or so.
It's all BS in the end really, in terms of dates; the terms only have relevance in terms of how the members of each group think and act, the overall Zeitgeist of the given group. And IMHO, the only real differences between Gen-X and Gen-Y are that Gen-Y is growing up to be far more conservative and less whiny than Gen-Xers, who all thought they were going to change the world (gee, wonder where they got that idea from) through their big dotcom fraud, and are all pissed off that they didn't get to retire at 30 after all. Gen-Y, by comparison, have far more level heads.
Funny. I'm much less likely to think that Gen-Y is conservative than you are. They are certainly more regimented and seem more led, but I think that of the two, Gen X is more conservative in deed, while perhaps not word. There are more Gen Xers that started businesses than any other generation before, and not just because there are more people now, but on a percentage basis. Might be that the Gen Y kids are more sullen instead of mouthy, and that is interpreted as more respectful of their elders. But I think that it's just that generationally, every other one 'sucks.' Think about it. Everyone wrote (and writes) about the baby boomers like they are the most important group EVER. Everyone hates Gen X. Everyone LOVES Gen Y--can't get enough of Britney and Avril! I've seen more outpouring of 'ain't they the greatest' in the last months than I remember during the Gulf War--what's so different?!?!
And it's way too early to say anything about the Gen-Z zeitgeist, or even to declare Gen-Z to legitimately exist, if you ask me
I'm pretty sure you could go back to Strauss and Howe on this one, and they'll tell you that the Millenial/Gen Y kids (1980-2000) haven't really made an impact culturally yet. And Gen Z is just being born.
There's a fundamental issue with me in the notion of calling a group of people born fifteen years apart three different 'generations.' It shows a lack of knowledge regarding the meaning of the word generation! It certainly seems odd that there would be a dividing line on the decade marks, and I'm sure that's not completely to everyone's satisfaction. But I think it's the best grouping I've seen of those with fairly common shared experiences. Certainly, someone born in 1980 and someone born in 2000 will be different, but their formative years will just as certainly be the Clinton government era, and they will shoulder the burden left behind by Slick Willie pretty equally.
It's the Baby Boomers who are by far the WORST American generation ever!!! You are the me-me-me-me generation! With you people as our parents and currently running things it's amazing we aren't even more screwed up especially considering the way you really screwed up what once was the best educational system in the world.
It is from your generation that the Clinton's spawned from and it wasn't until the Gen-Xers all reached voting age until we finally got a Republican congress.
Even now as all you boomers are aging and can no longer have any fun you selfishly are trying to make sure nobody else does, That's why we have smoking bans in bars, Lawsuits against McDonalds, Body armor needed on kids just to ride a bike, and all the other new health/safty Nazi crap that comes out seemingly every day.
America will be fine once you people get to old and finally get out of power which can't be soon enough.
Oh yeah and BTW Thanks for the National Debt you will be leaving us.
Gen X '60-'75
Gen Y '75-'90
Generations are marked by the culture landmarks. The first Gen Xer would be one who does not -- due to age -- remember seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
The first Gen Yer would be one who does not remember Ms Pac Man or TV before cable.
Gen Yers will be with us for a few more years. They are kind of likeable.