Whether it was Alexander McQueen’s revolutionary bum trousers that inspired it or what then was a new obsession among gym-going men to expose their pelvic bones, I don’t remember anymore. But when the first few years of the 2000s came in, I started to wear the low-waist. Didn’t matter that I had no bum whatsoever to flatter, nor that bone to expose. Most of the fashionable friends began wearing them. They’re all you see on TV, on billboards, on the racks. Suddenly, the waistline has moved from, well, the waist down to somewhere near the hip. Suddenly, just when my normal-waist formerly dark 505s have aged into a covetable fadedness, when they’ve just achieved that rock star cool, they needed to be pushed back in the closet to make way for the new and exciting low-rise.
Being a short man with slim hips, the new waist should logically be an unattractive choice for me since it needed a wider hip—not to mention a considerably plumper bum—to hold on to. But I wore them anyway. I was young and very easily swayed by the next fashionista. Never mind that the lower waist made my torso look just about as long as my short legs. Its cut sort of jived with the slim silhouette I’ve always insisted on since becoming aware of which clothes look good for my built. It made my legs look leaner. And since I usually have to get a pair from the women’s section because of my smaller proportions, and because of the low rise’s considerably abbreviated crotch, the pants also made me feel like a girl. Apparently, the worst have yet to come: the low-rise skinny pants.
'I bought it during that momentous jeans explosion of 1998, when Tom Ford declared it was cool again to wear jeans anywhere and be boheme.'
Throughout its eight-year respite at the far end of the closet, I would always catch a glimpse of my pair of Levi’s 505s, and always thought how cool it would be to be able to wear them again. Early this year, I thought of finally ending its reclusion. It was, after all, turning a decade old. I bought it during that momentous jeans explosion of 1998, when Tom Ford declared it was cool again to wear jeans anywhere and be boheme.
I brought the pair to one of those tailoring shops in Recto (beside the Isetann underpass) and had it adjusted to my now 32 waist. Like friends who never saw each other for years, we took a little time getting the hang of each other. More importantly, what seemed a little awkward at first was getting reintroduced to its high waist. Disconcerting more like. Did I really use to wear it this high? For the first few times I would casually pull it down to my hips but it would stubbornly inch its way back up, as if asserting its own person. Why do I suddenly want it to be who it isn’t? We were natural buddies from the moment I first wore it. We had such good times together, too many wine and caeperinha and Blue Ice, seen too many nights out in Insomnia and Giraffe and ABGs.
So I gave in. So yeah you can say we’re back together. It helps, of course, that I just recently noticed that most of my grown-up guy friends have always worn their waistlines where it should be. That the return of the wide-legged trousers last season had made the normal waist essential again matters little. I seem to have arrived at an age where I barely care about trends anymore when it comes to my wardrobe. Now at 34 (age, not waistline), and at the risk of sounding like Oprah, here’s what I know for sure: the higher waist makes my short legs look longer. While that alone is enough for me, they also allow for a wider, longer crotch, hence the boys have more room to move around. And yes, the considerably longer crotch actually makes it look like I have a more considerable bulge. I no longer feel like a girl. In fact, I think I’ve become a man.
Appeared originally in Metro hiM 2008.