Hip huggers not only hugged the hips, but highlighted the belly button in a bold fashion move. First worn by the daring mods, hip-huggers found their niche in the swinging 60’s, when revealing the body was de rigueur.
Pants cut low on the hips, instead of the waist, revealed the sensuous curve of girls’ (and some boys’) bodies. A favorite of dandy rockers like the Rolling Stones and the Who, this dramatic, unisexy style was the first to reveal the midriff in a casual style, shocking the conservative world. Two decades earlier, both the halter top and the bikini had created stirs in the fashion world for their revealing design, but the hip hugger was stirring up trouble in everyday wear.
The 60’s altered the fashion world: no longer would conservative leisure dressing be regarded as prestige. Being scantily clad was for the fashion forward: a wide palette of colors and technologically advanced fabrics made the 60’s a time of space age delight. Scandalously low hip huggers were often worn with a wide belt that helped to secure the low-cut pants, preventing them from falling off the body. And since these belly-exposers arrived during a high time for androgynous fashion, men were exposing their skin, too… and loving it.
While hip huggers are usually thought of as tight-fitting flares, the only true requirement is that they be slung low on the hips, instead of fitting at the waist. Hip huggers returned in the 90’s when couture designer Alexander McQueen became famous for his ‘bum pants,’ extreme versions of hip huggers that cut so low in back they exposed the top of the buttocks. How cheeky!
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