Saturday, June 21, 2008

Young Adult Fashions in Central Mexico


Cindi Bower

Until I came upon an article written by Debra Lo Guercio entitled "Giving the kiss of death to low-rise jeans", I thought low-risers were exclusively a Mexican fashion. After doing some research on the internet, I discovered this U.S. fashion trend began in the 1970's. The latest revival began in 1995.

Where was I? My husband and I did not move to Mexico until 2003. How could I have possibly missed noticing all those bared bellies and hips in the USA?

One reason could be that I don't have children. Children, especially teenagers, want to wear the latest styles they see their favorite movie and music stars wearing. Another reason is that I've always dressed for comfort, not for the sake of fashion. Finally, shopping has never been my favorite pastime, so I didn't spend much time at the malls. Since malls are the preferred hangout of teenagers and young adults, I missed seeing many of the fashion trends.

The city where we live in Central Mexico does not have a mall (thank goodness!) so the teenagers, kids, and adults hang out in the parks, on sidewalks, and in the streets. Here, we are exposed to clothing fashions in a way we were not in the USA.

Most children here wear conservative and not-overly attractive uniforms to school. Even then, the girls strive to express their individuality with hair ribbons and jewelry. The boys, unfortunately, can't do much to look different from the other boys. Outside school, though, the "uniform" is anything but conservative.

Low-risers are the style of choice for teenagers and young adults, at least in central Mexico. The young men have adopted the hip-hop or rap style of very baggy pants. The young women favor very snug low-risers paired with very tight tops.

As the style dictates, the young men wear their pants belted at mid-hip (or lower!), crotch hanging between the knees, and several inches of material covering the shoes and dragging the ground. The other day, I saw a young man whose jeans were belted below his rear end! I cannot see how these pants can be comfortable when they threaten to fall down with every hip swivel and threaten to trip the wearer with every step. I guess style is more important than comfort. At least the fashion dictates that boxer shorts are worn underneath the pants with the waistband pulled all the way up to the waist. No exposed flesh there.

Not so for the young women. Since Mexico is still rather conservative, the tops here are not as brief as, say, Britney Spears wore hers before her pregnancy. The tops, though so tight it's difficult to imagine the wearers being able to breathe, end just above the belly button. A wide expanse of flesh is exposed between where the top ends and the low-risers begin.

Some women look OK in this style, though even the thin ones look as if they have to buy their pants three sizes too small so they will stay up (sort of). This style is not attractive on the too-thin, though. Who wants to look at jutting hipbones? And forget about the women who carry a few extra pounds. Just how attractive is an inner tube of flab jiggling above and over the waistband?

I laughed at Ms. Lo Guercio's descriptions of US women in their low-risers. She could have been describing what I see here in central Mexico every day. I guess women everywhere want to follow the latest fashion trends even if the clothes aren't comfortable or attractive.

Low-risers are still the fashion today in the USA even though Vogue declared the trend over in May 2002 ( Since young Mexicans like to copy the fashions of their peers north of the border, I imagine low-risers will be in style here as long as they are in style in the USA, unfortunately.

I'm going out now to see if I can find a pair of pants with more than 2 inches between waist and crotch. Wish me luck! I'm not optimistic!


No comments: