They’re more than slouchy pants and pants worn very low on the waist. They’re drop-crotch pants, a style that no matter how much you pull them up will always be saggy at the hips, seat, and rear. If you need more visualization, see: Justin Bieber. Got the image? Now, erase it because this guide is on exactly how to wear drop-crotch pants without being compared to the Biebz.
If you’re digging the too-cool-for-school vibe of drop-crotch pants but are apprehensive about their “poopy diaper pants” rep, keep these three styling do’s and don’ts in mind:
1. Do go for a more tailored fit.
A tailored fit counterbalances the sag of drop-crotch pants. Juliette Binoche in a pleated style and Halle Berry in a tapered cut both positively nailed it. Note how they carried the look with cool confidence — a sure smile on their faces, hands on their hips, and a posed in a bold, legs-spread-apart stance — which is key in wearing drop-crotch pants.
You can also try Gavin Rossdale’s wrap-front style, which gives the droopiness a bit of shape and structure.
Juliette Binoche at the Certified Copy photo call held during the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 18, 2010; Halle Berry at the 2014 CBS Upfront Presentation held at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 14, 2014; Gavin Rossdale enjoys a day at the park with his kids in London, England, on August 2, 2014
Styles to try:
Oak Side-Zip Harem Pants, $253 / Camilla and Marc “Download” Trousers, $360 / McQ Front-Pleat Trousers, $605 (All from Shopbop)
2. Do just go with their chill and relaxed vibe.
Drop-crotch pants are all about just looking chill, relaxed, and cool, so just go with it. Style it with a loose tank, your favorite sneaks, and unbrushed hair like Gwen Stefani (bonus punk points for making drop-crotch pants your own version of maternity pants.)
This type of pants also have a hip-hop-dance-inspired element to it, so go crazy on the street-style accessories like Cassie. In the picture below, Cassie is exhibiting one of our favorite styling techniques: pairing loose-fit pants with skinny heels, which is ultra-flattering to calves and ankles.
Gwen Stefani holding Zuma Rossdale while shopping at The Grove in Hollywood, California, on February 4, 2010; Cassie guesting on BET’s 106 and Park on April 8, 2013
Styles to try:
NSF “Smith” Harem Cargo Pants, $198 / DKNY “Pure DKNY” Foldover Harem Pants, $195 / BCBGMAXAZRIA “Kendell” Pants, $138 (All from Shopbop)
3. Do try a boyfriend fit or a cropped cut.
A boyfriend fit and a cropped cut tone down the volume on drop-crotch pants. With these styles, you can worry less about the getting the proportions of the pants right since they’re more like slouchy, relaxed-fit pants.
Heidi wore hers like regular boyfriend jeans, except much cooler. Gwen wore her cropped pair like sweatpants with the legs pushed up, and even added a street-style-inspired sweater tied around the waist. We also spotted Beyonce wearing a pair of drop-crotch shorts, which she wore like a grunge plaid shirt wrapped around her hips.
Heidi Klum and family shopping for groceries at Whole Foods in Los Angeles, California, on December 30, 2012; Gwen Stefani out with her family in Primrose Hill in London, England, on July 23, 2014
Styles to try:
Now, here are the things to watch out for when wearing drop-crotch pants:
1. Don’t touch overly saggy and droopy styles.
These exaggerated styles are what give drop-crotch pants a bad name. The worst offender seems to be Justin Bieber; not only does he wear those awkward-looking diaper drop-crotch pants with disproportionately skinny legs, but he also still inexplicably wears them below the butt. Just stay away.
Peta Murgatroyd arriving at a dance studio for Dancing with the Stars in Los Angeles, California, on September 19, 2013; will.i.am at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards Vanity Fair Party held at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Hollywood, California, on March 7, 2010; Justin Bieber at Y100’s Jingle Ball 2012 at the BB&T Center in Miami, Florida, on December 8, 2012; Justin Bieber returning to his hotel after celebrating his 19th birthday in London, England, on February 28, 2013
2. Don’t pick just any drop-crotch pants — they’re not made the same.
Not all drop-crotch pants are made the same. Pink looked super cool in her Balmain printed harem pants on stage, but they might not translate well off the stage. We would’ve made Maria Menounos’ drop-crotch pants a do, but her pair was cut in a weird way that gave her an unflattering lump at the crotch (someone should’ve checked that.) Then there’s Gwen Stefani again; some things, like ’80s-inspired denim hammer pants, only look good on cool girls like her.
Maria Menounos attending the inaugural Big Knockout Boxing (BKB) event in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 17, 2014; Pink performing during her “The Truth About Love Tour” held at O2 World, Berlin, Germany on May 3, 2013; Gwen Stefani shopping at CVS Pharmacy in Hollywood, California, on July 4, 2010; Gwen Stefani outside her parents’ home in Los Angeles, California, on July 17, 2010
3. Don’t forget to check how you look from the back.
Lastly, but maybe most importantly, don’t forget to check how you look from the back in drop-crotch pants. They may look all cool and relaxed in front to you, but could look extra-droopy to people you’re walking away from.
Both Gavin Rossdale and Russell Brand in a star-print scarf fail the rear-view mirror test. Even the usually impeccably chic Jessica Alba failed it; her drop-crotch pants gave her a bad case of saggy butt.
Gavin Rossdale out and about running errands in Beverly Hills, California, on June 23, 2014; Russell Brand leaving a coffee shop in Manhattan, New York, on September 18, 2013
Jessica Alba paying a parking meter and going out to lunch with her daughter at Nate ‘n Al of Beverly Hills Delicatessen in Los Angeles, California, on September 13, 2010
Credit: Craig Harris/Dan Jackman/Derek Jarvis/Ivan Nikolov/Michael Wright/Bizu/DJDM/TNYF/WENN