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: Tear-Away Pants.
Tear-Away Pants were a fashion trend borne out of the utilitarian world of athletics. The pants were most often made out of slippery or shiny “windbreaker” fabric, and had snaps vertically spanning the side seams of the legs, allowing the wearer to rip the pants off at a moment’s notice. Presumably, the pants were invented so that athletic type people could remove layers of their outfits as they progressively got warmer throughout their workouts.
During the late 1990’s, Tear-Away Pants slowly began to leave the gym and creep into the day-to-day wardrobes of certain subsections of teenagers. In my high school, this meant that the boys who looked like even sweatier versions of Canadian Boy Band “B4-4” were almost always seen wearing a pair of glistening silver Tear-Away Pants with their wife-beater tank tops. These boys would also frequently have their pants ripped off by pranksters passing by, looking for a laugh.
Now, before all you athletic types start sending us nasty emails about how much you still love your Tear-Away Pants (“So comfortable! So easy! So shiny! How dare you?”), let me just say that in my opinion, Tear-Away Pants are absolutely acceptable outerwear under any sort of athletic circumstances. Going to the gym? Rock your Tear-Aways. Going for a run? Tear-Aways it is. Quickly transitioning from a chilly game of outdoor autumn basketball to your Bikram Yoga class? Definitely the Tear-Aways. But to wear these pants outside of the aforementioned situations, or transportation to and from said situations, is where we have, in hindsight, learned to draw the line.
Britney Spears is probably the most important celebrity to popularize the Tear-Away look. At the 2000 MTV Music Video Awards, she famously wore an entire Tear-Away outfit and tore it away to reveal a tiny skin-toned sparkly jumpsuit. Scandalous.
At some point in time, teenagers smartened up and decided to leave their Tear-Away Pants for gym class. Perhaps this was because they grew tired of smart-ass classmates disrobing them in the middle of the cafeteria. Or perhaps they just didn’t want to be associated with B4-4 anymore. In any event, legwear moved toward being a little less shiny and a little more sturdy. And although I love a good round of “Get Down” as much as the next girl, I must say that I think this was a very good thing indeed.