Letting It All Hang Out

How low can we go? I am talking, of course, about
today`s waistbands.

If you thought the belly-baring thing was bad enough,
take a good look at the sartorial depths to which
fashion has now sunk. The Los Angeles Times this
week declared it "the
summer of the pelvic bone
."  Last year`s already
obscene low-riders have gone the way of high-water
polyester pants.


have almost nothing but hope to hang
onto anymore. The "normal" inseam-to-waist rise of 8 to
9 inches is shrinking faster than Britney Spears` record
sales. To wit, Levi`s has introduced a new line of jeans

"Too Superlow"
for women. Upping the ante, or should
I say lowering it, the teenage-girl brand Gasoline
markets "Down2There"—adjustable
low-rise jeans with a built-in bungee cord designed to
help the wearer drop her pants to even nastier nadirs.

Canadian teen singer Avril Lavigne`s perilously
sagging pants are a global youth phenomenon. "My butt
crack showing is like my trademark,"
she gracefully

to a music reporter. Salon.com writer

Janelle Brown
approves: "(T)he butt crack is the
new cleavage, reclaimed to peek seductively from the
pants of supermodels and commoners alike."

The late senator and social critic Daniel Patrick
Moynihan`s famous phrase "Defining deviancy down" has
taken on a whole new meaning.

Grownups, be forewarned: Avril`s fashion nonsense is
seeping into other markets. Levi`s recently launched a

"Dangerously Low"
line for men. Another of its
low-rise men`s lines is dubbed, appropriately enough,
"Offender." Actor Brad Pitt has popularized the Diesel
brand low-risers. Toronto-based writer Jim Oldfield says
the trend has overwhelmed mainstream men`s stores and
orders are already piling up for the fall. One Canadian
merchant helpfully advised Oldfield that hip men are
wearing the jeans commando-style.

In other words: "Underwear is, like, not


expectant women
can`t escape these drooping duds.
Popular young actress and mom-to-be Kate Hudson has been

parading around in low-rise cargo pants
and toddler-sized crop tops to show off her growing
belly. At a recent trip to my neighborhood mall`s
maternity store, the only jeans in my size were
ridiculous low-risers with flared bottoms that needed
hiking every time I exhaled.  

Trust me: This nouveau plumber`s crack chic does not
look any better on the overweight guy crouching under
your kitchen sink than it does on a six-months-pregnant
lady trying to bend over to pick up her toddler without
mooning the world.

What will it take to convince the current cohort of
exhibitionistas that sleaze is not sexy—that less
is not always more, that low is low-class? If

Generation X-rated
can`t be persuaded to cover up
out of moral necessity, perhaps they will listen to
medical authority. A warning about the health hazards of
low-rise pants was published in the Journal of the
Canadian Medical Association six months ago. According

Dr. Malvinder Parmar,
a painful condition called

"meralgia paresthetica"

is causing wearers of hip-huggers to
experience "tingling or a burning sensation" in the

Dr. Parmar`s treatment: four to six weeks in—the
horror!— loose-fitting dresses. Must have been worse
than swallowing cod liver oil.

Avril and Britney and Brad need to show their fans
that a little extra fabric is not a death sentence. The
late Kate Hepburn melted hearts while fully clothed in
turtlenecks and roomy, belted trousers. She was a "hottie"
who showed us her cheekbones, and

left the rest where it should be left:
to the

Alas, modesty has been long out of vogue. But it`s a
fashion rule of thumb that what`s out eventually becomes
in. The day when "clothed is the new naked" can`t come
soon enough.

Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores

for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click

for Michelle Malkin`s website.