Throughout the decades, teenagers have attempted to prove their coolness by wearing questionable accessories, hairstyles and items of clothing. Hindsight Fashion is a section about those trends that, in Hindsight, we probably wish we hadn’t worn.
This week’s Hindsight Fashion is Mariah Carey Jeans.
Mariah Carey Jeans became a trend in 1999 with the release of Mariah’s hit single, “Heartbreaker”. In the music video (see above), Mariah’s “good girl” alter-ego wears a pair of jeans with the waist band cut off. This was years before true low-rise jeans were readily available for purchase. As such, teen girls everywhere began cutting off the waistbands of their jeans to achieve this midriff-exposing look.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Mariah every bit as much as the next girl. “Music Box” was one of the first albums I ever owned and I remember singing “Dreamlover” at the top of my little 10-year-old lungs for about a year and a half straight. But this whole no-waistband-jeans deal caused a number of problems.
First, I learned the hard way that this type of alteration does not work unless the jeans have a button-fly. I tried unsuccessfully to alter a pair of zipper fly pants and could not wear them because, without the top button, the zipper just kept coming undone. Secondly, when the stores did start selling this style of jeans (to people too stupid to alter an existing pair of jeans, such as myself), they really missed the mark. Sure, the jeans would have the waistband cut off, but they wouldn’t sit any lower than a regular pair of jeans. The only similarity was the imitation messy, “cut-off” waistband. And Lastly, Mariah inspired a whole bunch of people, in all shapes and sizes, to wear this style. And I’m not too polite to say it: It wasn’t always pretty.
In a couple years time, Britney Spears popularized the official low-rise jean, and people no longer needed to cut off their waistbands. Given my rocky history with the trend, I was glad to see it go. However, when I hit the 8 month mark, pregnant with my daughter, swollen inside my skin like a little overcooked sausage, I must admit, I thought more than once about taking the scissors to the waist of my maternity jeans. It wouldn’t have been as sexy as a Mariah “Heartbreaker” moment. But it sure would have felt good.