You're not imagining it: American men from sea to shining sea, o'er amber waves of grain, have embraced slim-cut pants. Jeans are perpetually skinny; suit bottoms look like pixie-stick wrappers; tux bottoms are strangling gonads right there on the red carpet, in full view of TV cameras.
Over at the Washington Post, fashion critic Robin Givhan assesses the state of our union and its slacks. Slim-cut pants began as a high-fashion phenomenon, the stuff of runway shows and multi-thousand-dollar suits. Under different circumstances, this trend might've passed by the vast majority of American office workers, an asteroid zooming by safely clear of Earth's orbit.
But for mysterious reasons known only to the gods of fashion, the trend trickled down. Gone (for the most part) are the billowing chinos that make grown men look like 13-year-old Model U.N. prodigies:
The ubiquity of this trend, even in offices far away from the expected crucibles of creativity, had an executive at a Maryland real estate development firm recently marveling, with some chagrin, that the men in her office were given to wearing particularly close-fitting trousers, which she described as "tight."
Maryland, guys. Maryland. The very name of the state conjures images of Dockers.
But like all trends, close-cut pants are reaching the tipping point of ridiculousness. Don't fly too close to the sun, Icarus!
As the mass market has embraced the leaner silhouette, uncomfortable extremes and just plain bad ideas have come to the fore. For example, there are those who go too far: Men who want their trousers taken in to the last binding inch; those who want a suit jacket with a waistline that fits like a corset.
And under the category of bad ideas: "There's that weird hybrid that happened: a slim jean that sometimes sags. And you get this waddle" as you walk, Kamarake says.
Behold, the reason we can't have nice things.
Givhan points out that, like everything else in fashion, all too soon the tide will turn and men's legs will be swimming in fabric once more. And we all know how Cher Horowitz felt about that:
Photos via Getty.