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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My “Never Is the Next New Thing™”* fashion theory proposes that the most provocative/grating/startling looks — the ones that make you say, “I would NEVER wear that!” — are the ones most likely to become trends, big or small. We need to be jolted out of our fashion complacency before we move in a new direction.

Last June, I predicted that knickers would be the new pants silhouette. And gorgeous blogger Vyque of Fasshonaburu found a fabulous example. Behold these J Brand pants.

J Brand Earhart Modern Flight Pants. $238 at Intermix. Click to shop.

Slouchy and cropped with elasticized cuffs, the pants gently hint at the classic knickers cut while avoiding the costume-y feel that might result from too-full legs and too-tight cuffs. J Brand named the “flight-inspired pants” after famed pilot Amelia Earhart. Earhart herself often wore long, flowing pants, though I’ve seen at least one photo of her wearing jodhpurs. Though jodhpurs were ankle-length, in Earhart’s time they were very full in the thigh and tight starting just below the knee, so I see where J Brand got the knickers vibe.

Last summer, J Brand had a monster hit with its Houlihan skinny cargo pants, so when J Brand does something, it’s worth paying attention.

Clowning around in my Houlihans and LOLZ rings for Jennine Jacob of Eat, Sleep, Denim.

Interestingly, the real Earhart launched a short-lived line of clothes in 1934. In a 2009 article for The Huffington Post, writer Gioia Diliberto called Earhart “America’s first celebrity designer.” That same year, Mary Hall, also writing for HuffPo, provided additional details about Earhart’s designs. I’m amused that Earhart added shirt tails to women’s shirts, so that shirts didn’t come untucked and expose skin when women bent over. According to Hall, Earhart said, ” I made up my mind that if the wearers of the shirts I designed for any reason took time out to stand on their heads, there would still be enough shirt to stay tucked in.”  Imagine the shirt tails she’d have to design to cope with some of the low-rise pants we wear nowadays! The tails would be down to our knees.

Are you ready to take on traditional or ultra-toned-down knickers?

*It’s really trademarked! I’m not kidding around this time!

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30 Responses to “Never Is the Next New Thing™: Knickers Update”

  1. Lara says:

    I’ve told you before, I love me some knickers! There were some in one of the pre-fall 2011 collections and I lost it and can’t remember now. They’re definitely coming in fashion.
    So…. what’s your next prediction?

    • WendyB says:

      I’m still convinced that bi-level or “mullet” dresses will gain better acceptance and fight their way off the worst-dressed lists. I noticed that the “official” fashion police hated on Halle Berry’s Nina Ricci gown from the Golden Globes (http://www.popsugar.com/Pictur.....s-13289626) but I’ve also stumbled across a fair number of people who loved it. Of course, it’s easy to love Halle in any look.

  2. Jackie Joy says:

    We have both silhouettes at my place of work (a large retailer on the cheap side of things) — we all had to buy the skinny side-zip cargoes before they were popular because the company saw them on the runway and invested heavily in them, and wore them for a corporate business. (Did NOT flatter my bubblebutt at all.) But anyhow, shows you can be fashionable at all price points.

  3. mystyle says:

    Hi my dear-I love the ‘knickers’!! I have a very similar pair that I thrifted last summer in a khaki colour and wore quite a lot, I’ll be getting them out again this summer too! xx

  4. Jackie Joy says:

    A corporate visit*** — not a corporate business.

  5. Someone says:

    Nope. No knickers, never, nohow.

  6. I’m loving never.

    I do love my frail white Victorian knickers though.

  7. Denise says:

    This reminds me of the time my grandmother brought me back a pair from Montreal which was always ahead in fashion. I was about nine I think and since I hadn’t seen them before there was no way I was wearing them to school. They were cute, a fine cord in pale blue but I felt like a dandy in them. Trendsetter I was not. Several months later they were everywhere so I started wearing them. They were pretty tight by now and one day when I was at the mall I felt a bit strange in my nethers and looked down to see my zipper wide open and nearly in a full-circle shape. It had blown open from the strain of doing it up when the pants were so tight. There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere.

  8. Eli says:

    I had a pair of knickers! I think I sold them to Buffalo Exchange a while back. They really did make me look like a newspaper boy though.

  9. Rubiatonta says:

    While I am sure that there are many who will rock the knickers mightily, Rubi won’t be among them. Shudder, shudder.

  10. K-Line says:

    I suppose “there’s no way I’m wearing those” is the response you’re looking for?

    BTW: My kid loved your skinny cargos. Looking over my shoulder she said: “Did she make those??”

    • WendyB says:

      Ha ha! Your kid is so used to your handiwork that she expects it out of everyone! You must assure her that your skills are exceptional and I certainly don’t share your talent.

  11. I thought you were talking about undies!

  12. Sheila says:

    I’m with you on the mullet dresses, Wendy – they will make a comeback!

    You’re rockin’ those cargos!

  13. miss sophie says:

    lol!! wendy, your brilliant commentary on the crazy game that is fashion never ceases to make me laugh. this is totally true. see: tapered (i mean skinny) jeans, pleated carrot pants, harem pants, all of the 1980s.

    btw, off thread but i saw your comments on Racked about Jennine’s blog and those awful poseurs. go IFB supporters and TEAM JENNINE!!!

  14. Esther says:

    I would definitely wear those! Haha! Maybe I’m crazy…?

  15. SiouxsieL says:

    It’s all about the fishnets under the knickers.

  16. Hmm I don’t own a pair of knickers but I will def think about it now =)

    • WendyB says:

      The J Brand pair really is kind of a combo cropped pant/capri/knickers thing — I am up for trying them on! Not very risky at all, looks like a good everyday pair of pants to me!

  17. qin says:

    Look so comfy <3

  18. When I first read about the Houlihans a while back, bad memories of ill-fitting 1970s pants came rushing back–but every image I’ve seen of women in these pants has been so flattering!

  19. Christine says:

    I love the idea of knickers (I thought you meant underwear too, like Suzanne) but doubt they’d look good on me.


  20. ediot says:

    you look so great in them pants. so cute.
    hope you’re having a nice week so far darling


  21. Jacqueline says:

    Amelia was on to something. Refinery29 seems to agree with her on shirt length, at least in this post.


  22. Al says:

    thank u !
    love the shoes

  23. Lenya Jones says:

    I love my Jbrand skinny cargos. They look great on everyone. Such easy pants to wear. I may have to look into those knickers. I like the look of them and of course since you predicted the trend, I will have to follow 🙂

  24. {gemmifer} says:

    You say “knickers” and I instantly think of the periwinkle blue baby cord knickers I wore to my friend’s Bat Mitzvah in 1980-something. I thought I was that decade’s equivalent of the bomb, especially since I paired them with white Capezio jazz shoes! I’m not sure what I think of a resurgence; I’ll have to see what options become available. Then again, capris always hit me in a weird place, so the same might happen with these knickers.