From the Hip

It takes a certain type of person to wear hip-hugger – mainly, someone with a perfect body.

By DAVID SPEAKMAN special to next

Like many new clothing trends in Fort Wayne, they first appeared on fashion mavens at trendy nightclub dance floors.

Hip-huggers – slinky body-hugging, gravity-defying pants which barely cover the backside – are the newest addition to the retro fashion scene. A 1970s-era fashion world response to the feminist “She Decade,” hip-huggers “celebrated” the female form – albeit an ultra-toned, thin and anorexic female form.

Although originally designed for women, men too can be found donning the occasional pair of hip-huggers in the unisex ’90s.

These pants, jeans, shorts or skirts, often made of cotton or polyester, are not for the meek. Usually worn with a body-conscious ribbed or waffle-knit top, ’90s hip- huggers can dip way below the navel in front.

Hip-huggers range in price from $20 to $80, and can be found at stores such as Merry-Go-Round, Rave and L.S. Ayers. Or you could go the cheaper – and more authentic – route by finding a pair at a local thrift store.

The rising popularity of navel piercing may help explain their modern-day appearance. With their natural dip, hip-huggers won’t rub the freshly pierced the wrong way – and won’t do anything to hide the proudly pierced.

Because of its body-revealing qualities, however, the hip-hugger won’t be embraced in every wardrobe. In fact, it probably will be a “fashion don’t” for most.

“If you’ve got a bad body, you might as well just forget about wearing these,” said 22-year-old Cherie Damos, a Fort Wayne resident we found wearing a pair of hip-huggers at Glenbrook Square. “You know there’s people out there who still wear them and shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t dare wear them if I wasn’t looking good. Anyway, that’s the point of fashion.”

How do you know whether you can pull off this hot trend in pants? A good body is key. If the average person looks at your thin waist or toned figure with envy, hip huggers might be for you.

According to fashion magazines, such as February’s issue of Self, hip-huggers actually have a slimming effect. If your tummy is less than toned, they recommend tucking in a shirt and adding a blazer.

Otherwise, hippy chicks and those whose abs of steel are more like abs of flab should probably just say no to this low-slung design.

Depending on your fashion taste, some styles are cut lower in back than others. But even if the refrigerator-repairman look is what you’re going for, remember that others have to look at you too.

Like thong swimwear, few men or women can successfully wear hip-huggers – the right way. But if you can, indulge yourself.