As Parsons professor and fashion historian Beth Dincuff Charleston tells the Wall Street Journal, "It's a gutsy move to wear ugly clothes." For some women, wearing clothes that invite insults and laughter is well worth the mockery.
In the wonderfully titled piece, "Ridicule Keeps Fans of Harem Pants From Getting Too Big for Their Britches" Rachel Dodes interviews several women who claim that they're not going to let go of their fancy harem pants anytime soon, regardless of what critical friends, family members, or strangers have to say about it. "I feel like I look very chic in my harem pants," Maggie Betts, who spent $400 on a pair of black silk harem pants, tells Dodes, "Anybody who makes fun of me doesn't know the truth and is a loser."
The pants, as hideous as some of us (by some of us, I mean: me) think they are, are actually selling quite well, and Dodes notes that the reactions they elicit might be the reason. The attention might not always be positive, but it's there, and the women who wear the pants enjoy the challenge of wearing pieces that require confidence to pull off. "It's a form of antifashion," Professor Dincuff Charleston tells Dodes, "If you can pull it off, you know you're incredibly stylish."
Here's where I run into a bit of trouble: is it really "antifashion" if these women are dropping hundreds of dollars on these pants because they saw them on the runways and in the pages of Vogue and on the legs of famous celebrities? Is wearing a pair of pants simply because they're so ugly really that daring if the people who "get fashion" are right there with you? If they're selling "quite well" in several stores? If everyone who makes fun of you for wearing them "doesn't know the truth and is a loser?"
In the end, I suppose it comes down to what you feel most comfortable in. If some women truly love their harem pants, then more power to them. But as with every other stylistic choice ever, the rest of the world doesn't have to love harem pants, as well, and they certainly aren't a bunch of losers for opting to side-step the Hammer-revival trend. The fashion magazines may continue to push this trend for yet another season, but sometimes, you can't make fetch happen, no matter how hard you try.
[Image via BBC]
Ridicule Keeps Fans Of Harem Pants From Getting Too Big For Their Britches [Wall Street Journal]