How to Style Low-Rise Pants in 2021

Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day in January that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from going without a cellphone for 40 days to trying the polarizing low-rise pants trend.

I have an immediate reaction when I hear anyone say the phrase low-rise. My eyes widen, my anxiety flares up, and a cringe makes its way across my face. As you can imagine, I avoided the waistline at all costs—that is, until one day I stumbled into a vintage boutique in my neighborhood and tried on a pair of low-slung pinstripe pants that I surprisingly didn’t hate. I’ll admit I liked them, even.

After that moment, I couldn’t help but notice how fashion’s attempts at bringing back everything Y2K. From cushy flip-flops to velour tracksuits to, yes, low-rise pants, the fashion era that everyone loves to hate is happening again and although it made me nervous at first, I had to see what the hype was all about. So I faced my fears, ordered a few low-rise trousers (and one pair of low-rise jeans), and in the spirit of guinea pig journalism, I just went for it. 

On the runways, plenty of designers have been putting a modern spin on the trend, as evidenced in a number of S/S 2021 collections. So I gathered a handful of my favorite styling moments from Dion Lee, Christopher Esber, Sandy Liang, and Sportmax and used them as inspiration for how to make the scary trend actually wearable. I should explain, however, that the styles I tried on weren’t the low-rise skinnies of yore but slouchy and wide-leg silhouettes that feel current for 2021.

Whether you’ve been seeing them bubble up too or are simply curious to see how I managed to style them, keep reading for four low-rise pant outfits I put together and the runway looks that inspired each.

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