The rise in a pair of pants is the measured distance between the crotch of the pant and the waist. Low-rise jeans, also called hipsters, hip huggers, or low-cut jeans, just a few of the alternate names, are characterized by a short rise that sits significantly below the belly button instead of at the waist. The first versions of these jeans were hip huggers, worn in the late 1960s and early 1970s, mostly by people of the hippy culture.
Hip huggers in this early stage did feature a lower rise, but often were only an inch or two (2.54.5.08 cm) below the belly button. These low-rise jeans were often very snug to the knee and then flared into bell-bottoms. With hip huggers, nothing between waist and knee was left to the imagination because of their form fitting style. Many hip hugger wearers joked about having to pour themselves into the jeans.
When low-rise jeans were reintroduced in the early 1990s, some did resemble the hip hugger style. Others had a flared bottom or boot cut, and yet others were less tight. Trends in the 2000s have shortened the pants length of many types of jeans, and they may be featured with a Capri cut, a palazzo style pant, or a pedal pant style. Straight-legged jeans have often replaced the flared leg or boot cut style of the 1990s low-rise jeans.
These jeans have not been appreciated by all. Some have a waistband so low that they do display the top part of the buttocks, especially if you bend over, sit or squat down. Some have declared them to be indecent because of this exposure. Both men and women may wear low-rise jeans, and especially when women wear them, it’s considered a fashion don’t to let the underwear show above the waistline.
For women, wearing bikini style underwear usually easily solves this problem. Some women do insist on wearing thongs that are high cut and plainly visible above the low-rises jeans. This is considered not classy and a fashion faux pas. For men, underwear showing above the rise is more common and accepted. Gangsta fashion, with extra-large pants often makes a point of showing boxer shorts above the waistband. For most occasions, though, underwear and boxer shorts are supposed to be under clothing, and displaying them is not considered in good taste.
Though not everyone enjoys wearing low-rise jeans, many admit that a slightly lower rise in pants is figure flattering. Pants that sit just above the hipbone, instead of fitting at the waist elongate the figure. Many now make fun of the higher waist style of jeans more typical of the past, calling them “mom jeans.” Several comedy shows have poked fun at the high waist jean in this manner, as only suited to moms of a certain age.