Hipster jeans are a type of blue jeans or denim pants that have a very low waistline. These jeans were first popular in the mid to late 1990s, and were usually constructed out of stretch denim. The design for hipster jeans is based upon a short zipper, even as short as two or three inches, and a very low waist in the front and back. Hipster jeans are also sometimes called low-slung pants, low-cut jeans, hipsters, or hip-huggers. The name hipster stems from the placement of the jeans low on the hips and is not known to be related to ‘hipsters’, a group of young people with particular, indie-related fashion and culture that do not consider themselves mainstream.
An earlier version of the style was present in the 1960s and 70s. Hip-hugger pants of that era were slim fitting, low-waisted pants that fastened at the hips just below the belly button, rather than at the natural waistline. The natural waistline is generally considered to be the slimmest part of the torso, and located about 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters) above the belly button. Today's hipster jeans might be considered an exaggerated version of this style, with a waistline several inches below the belly button.
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Both versions of the style were worn with a variety of tops or shirts. Throughout the 60s and 70s, hip-huggers were worn with short, midriff-baring tops, or halter tops, or with longer, flowing, or skirted shirts. The hipsters of the 90s were often worn with short, slim-fitting tops that covered just to the waist, leaving several inches of skin.
The concept and design for the hipster jeans of the 90s may have come from various sources, but is most likely to have come from two Australian designers, Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, who created a line of jeans in stretch denim that fit much lower than any jeans had that were worn in the past. This particular line of jeans was produced under the label Sass & Bide™ and sported a two-inch zipper. Clarke and Middleton’s design was first introduced in 1999. More recently, Sass & Bide™, is credited with starting the skinny jeans fad that became popular in the early 2000s.
Hipster jeans spawned the recent fad of females exposing their undergarments in the back. The style was most likely made popular by young artists and celebrities who wore hipster jeans with an exposed thong. This exposure has sometimes been called a whale tail.