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Rethinking the Harem Pants Trend


Going to fashion school has opened my eyes to many trends I hadn’t considered wearing before. When harem pants first became popular, I thought (as most of us did at CF) that the fad was hideous and unflattering. After all, who would want to wear saggy pants?

But now that I attend FIDM, I’ve realized that harem pants can definitely work for college girls. When worn with wedges or heels, they make your legs look mile-long. They also look amazing with a fitted top that shows off your figure and a cute cropped jacket. When wearing these pants, just be sure to keep the rest of your outfit simple; you don’t want your accessories and jewelry to make you look like a genie.

Harem pants are the fashionista’s version of sweatpants. Although I hated these at first, I now know they are incredibly comfortable yet still edgy and stylish.

Still not convinced? Here is how I would wear harem pants…

Harem Pants Sample Look

Product Information: Tank – Delias, Jacket – Buckle, Pants – Topshop, Shoes – Endless, Bag – Forever21, Ring – Windsor Store

Overall, I think there are many girls who can really pull this trend off well. Of course, there are also times it can look really, really bad. After all, who wants MC Hammer to come to mind when you walk down the street? So long as you stick to the tips above, however, I promise it’s possible to make this trend work.

Has your opinion of harem pants changed?

So now that you know my thoughts on harem pants, I want to know what you think! Do you think I’m crazy for liking this trend? Are you with us on our original thoughts on this trend, or have you started to rethink these pants? How would you wear them? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!

Posted on on September 21, 2010 / Filed Under: Trends / Tags: , , ,

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41 Responses to “Rethinking the Harem Pants Trend”

  1. 1
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Yes I agree. I used to think no one will wear it but now its actually cute. honestly the trend i changed my mind about was clogs! haha.. i used to hate it. now i think it is cute

  2. 2
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    But would this work on short girls?

  3. 3
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:50 am

    while i’m still not quite ballsy enough to try this trend out, the first pair of harem pants you featured seem way more wearable than the versions that are tighter around the ankles (or most pairs i’ve seen for that matter).
    i think i’d be less reluctant to attempt this style if i lived in a more fashion-forward place or a big, bustling city. in my neck of the woods, harem pants will eternally be associated with the crab dance. hammertime!

  4. 4
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I understand the phenomenon of hating an unflattering trend, only to eventually come around to liking it. This happened to me with leggings and rompers. But I still am not a fan of harem pants. They just seem so unflattering to me. Maybe I’ll come to like them yet. I think it helps that you go to a fashion school, where style is on the cutting age. Like Courtney said, it kind of depends on where you live. In New York or LA it would be more acceptable. In the little town I live in and small town I go to school in, people would look at me like I was crazy. Also, I feel like harem pants would be more flattering on a tall, thin figure–not my short, curvy body.

  5. 5
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:40 am

    The more i see them the more I am warming up to them, although I dont think my body type could ever really pull them off. I agree with the need to keep the rest of the outfit simple and body conscious! The worst is when everything looks too baggy! It might be just me…but do harem pants remind anyone else of the “rolled up sweat pants” look that was ever-so popular in middle school?

  6. 6
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I agree. Before I thought the trend was hideous, but I’m reconsidering. I like harem capris paired with high heels. I’m unsure about wearing the full on pant still, only because I’m so short it seems like they may swallow me.

  7. 7
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I love the way they look on some people.
    But I am very petite, so I’m too afraid to try them out myself. It might look like I’m walking around in a huge tent….=/

  8. 8
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I would still never wear them. I’m not short or curvy, so I could probably pull them off with heels, but my look is laid-back and mostly heel-less, except for special occasions. And on those special occasions…well, harem pants wouldn’t be appropriate.

  9. 9
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Unfortunately I’m still not convinced (though your outfit idea looks good – but you have to show it on a real person). The pics above with the girls in them look decent but people stretch this trend WAY too far – they pull out there MC Hammer pants thinking it’s okay to wear them again – and no, unfortunately its not (least in my opinion). If there was a VERY slightly baggy style of harem pants then I would probably say yes … but when they show huge baggy pants, then no. Sorry. But glad you are looking into the trend.

  10. 10
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I think they would work we’ll for tall girls. I’m 5ft so I don’t think they would be a good option for me. It also depends who is going to wear them. Some people have a body type and an eye for clothing so they can pull off anything. I think it would be a hard piece of ones wardrobe to base an outfit around .

  11. 11
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve actually always been a fan of harem pants… or, at least, harem pants in the style of the first picture you featured, rather than those that become ridiculously tight at the ankles. Unfortunately, harem pants just look kind of ridiculous on me. I’m only 5′, and for every pair of harem pants I’ve tried on, the “sag” has resulted in the crotch of the pants going well past my knees. Not exactly the most flattering look. So while I will continue to admire them on girls with supermodel figures, I’ll have to pass on wearing them.

  12. 12
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I freakin love harem pants! So cute and comfortable.. the small town I live in be damned!

  13. 13
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I like them, but I think that for my weight/height they would make me look like a circus tent :/

  14. 14
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t mind them in theory, but my legs are my best asset. I prefer to show them off rather than hide them in baggy material.

    I agree that they can look cool on some body types, though!

  15. 15
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    To me they’ve always looked very confortable, but I’ve never considered wearing one because I imagine they will look really weird and ugly in someone with my body type: 5′ 2″, large hips, tiny waist and small breasts. Maybe I’m wrong, so one day I wanna try a pair to make sure.

  16. 16
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I’d definitely try them out if I found the right pair at F21 or somewhere inexpensive! I’m only 5’2″ but I’ve never let that stop me from trying a trend before.

  17. 17
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Harem pants are a YES in my book.

  18. 18
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    i still don’t like them to wear, but the outfits you put together are great!

  19. 19
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Who cares about having long legs when it looks like you’re wearing a diaper? I guess there just aren’t for me.

  20. 20
    September 21st, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Harem pants are simply stylish. Yes, you don’t need to embellish yourself with too many accessories when you’re wearing one. Either a real long necklace or a set of beaded bracelets is enough.

  21. 21
    September 21st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I do not like these pants! I have never tried a pair on, but I feel like it just looks like a saggy diaper.

  22. 22
    September 21st, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Noooo not at all :(

  23. 23
    September 21st, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with the diaper comments.. I do not think these look flattering on anyone. They don’t make legs look long; actually they do the opposite! I live in a city where a LOT of people attempt to wear them, and I’ve never seen a pair I liked. It increases the torso length and decreases legs.. and wearing them with heels is like wearing sweatpants with heels…..

    The only reason I would ever get a pair is for PJ pants.

  24. 24
    September 21st, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I still think they look like saggy crotch pants. I even tried a pair on for giggles and man were they uncomfortable! A lot of unnecessary cloth between the legs. I’ll be glad when the trend is gone. Though I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually seen anyone wearing them locally in real life.

  25. 25
    September 21st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Harem pants just aren’t for me. I don’t see the appeal. And I don’t think that “they make your legs look mile long”, but I guess if you can make them work that way, more power to you.

  26. 26
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Still a HUGE no for me. I agree with the diaper comments too. Even on the most beautiful women in the world, this trend looks silly and sloppy in my opinion.

  27. 27
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I’m very opened minded when it comes to trends. As someone said before, I tend to absolutely despise trends only to warm to them eventually. I once used to hate skinny jeans!!
    I really like the outfit you’ve put together, and I’d never rule a pair out but the truth is I’ve never even tried a pair on!! Maybe if I found a great, cheap pair I’d give them a go!!
    Like a few other people have said though, I’m medium height and curvy. Has anyone found a pair that flattered them who isn’t tall and skinny? I’d love to know!!

    Charlotte xxx

  28. 28
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    The harem pants were a joke when we called them hammer pants and now, you are recommend pairing it with a cropped jacket?
    I’m waiting for the suggestion to get a vanilla ice haircut and then a giant “april fools” the 80’s were amazing but from an 80s obsessed reader, this was a joke of a style then and its worse now. Live it through cult classic movies and music, NOT by being the saggy butt of this joke of a trend!

  29. 29
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Harem pants seem good in theory…but as with a lot of uber trendy things, I think where you are geographically matters as well. I can see a lot of New York girls getting away with wearing them and beings seen as stylish; however, I feel like most people in St. Louis would look at me like I lost my mind (or bowel control a la the diaper comments) if I were to step out in these. I love the idea of a stylish alternative to sweatpants, but the Midwest mentality in regards to fashion keeps me a little more on the (siiiiiigh) conservative side…

  30. 30
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Cait, I don’t know. If the harem pant is baggy in the legs, then I feel the style is acceptable. When it is baggy in the crotch/bum area, I honestly think that it makes skinny girls look like they have a FUPA. Yeah, I said it.

    Baggy legs = Sexy
    Baggy crotch = No Sex

  31. 31
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:23 am

    i have to agree with amber – the baggy crotch area totally doesn’t scream stylish to me, rather, someone had an accident & that’s why the crotch is below the normal area. sooo not sexy.

  32. 32
    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Anything that causes controversy will be legendary. Go harem pants!

  33. 33
    September 24th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I just got the soft gray knit harem pants from Gap online. They are the perfect compromise. Stylish enough to make the statement, not extreme, good fit. I will work on the right outfit with some help from this article. I might have ended up just wearing them for a workout. I am a hairdresser, so I can get away with things in my shop that are pretty fashion forward.

  34. 34
    September 30th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I kinda feel like even though they look good in the outfits you put together, you shouldn’t wear harem pants unless you are in a real, honest-to-goodness harem. Just sayin’.

  35. 35
    October 24th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I’m from India & the harem pants trend is extremely popular & also it kinda mimics the traditional dhoti.i think it depends hw u carry the harem pants.always pair it with a tank top & a pair of wedges.i have a dark blue pair of harems & they’re super comfy.toss a cute pair of studs & a long necklace & u’re good 2 go!!

  36. 36
    November 12th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I think they are great. I wore a pair all summer long. its the only trend listed that i like. I think the lace thing is over. Minimalism is comin up. Im not going to wear a baroque broock. But this is fine.

  37. 37
    April 19th, 2011 at 2:42 am

    I had no idea these were a come back from the 80’s: I hated 80’s fashion (but I was like 8 then so it didn’t matter.) I just discovered these super comfortable pants and have been picking them up in silk (even 100% cashmere) at Nordstrom Rack. They were so comfortable, I didn’t care if they were in or out. I feel great wearing these. They actually give my bottom some room…I hate pants with crotches that ride up on you. After wearing high-crotched pants my entire life, I have stocked up on these pants. Even if they are out of style now, I will still wear them jogging, and lounging around. I can’t believe that I didn’t discover these sooner…I guess they were probably too crazy for anyone to sell them until recently. They are the most comfortable pants I have ever owned. I don’t get the ecessively low pants, though, where the crotch is below the knees…I think that would just hinder my walk. I like the ones that give me some room but aren’t exagerated.

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