Pants, Minds Wide Open

In an era of extremes, are pants going too far?

We live in an era that is defined by extremes. For example, how do we live in a world that contains both the sublime musical experience of “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” by Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony and, on the other side, repugnant trash like “You’re Beautiful” by that ugly English man whose name I actually forget because he sounds like 1800 other ugly English men with strangled falsettos? Western culture is so extreme!

I, for one, have always championed the stalwart Protestant notions of moderation and sobriety. Not that I am a Protestant (I’m descended from shiftless Irish potato farmers), but I think those values are important, especially in fashion and drug abuse.

That’s why I was slightly disturbed by fashion’s recent adoration of wide-leg pants. Wide-leg trousers were all over New York’s fashion week, and have recently been embraced by such luminaries as Fergie (god, “Glamorous” is so awesome!!!) and Eva Mendes.

I don’t really know how I feel about it. I have just started to accept skinny jeans and even enjoy them in a weird Brent Michaels type way, where I would I traipse around Cambridge, tucking my skinnies into ankle boots, trashing hotel rooms and writing searing power ballads in Laundromats.

I liked this existence. It was weird at first when I bought the same pants as Sienna Miller, but then I totally accepted it, and even began to think she had good taste in men.

This recent embrace of wide-leg pants implies something totally different, however. When I think of wide-leg pants, I don’t think of hipster celebrities or debauched 80s icons, I think of sailors. I also think of Farrah Fawcett and this bizarre time in 5th grade where I wore purple velvet overalls to school.

Not exactly a time I like to remember with fond nostalgia considering that I was also wearing a white eye-patch that clipped to my glasses.

There are benefits to embracing this new aesthetic. Now, you can put your keys in your pocket without showing the outline of them to everyone you have ever known. Also, now, if you feel like you have fat thighs one day you can hide them in swaths of fabric normally big enough to hide small elephants. These are all important facts.

As Harvard students, however, we are intimately familiar with extremes. I can’t even count the times I’ve seen a perfectly happy individual have a nervous breakdown caused by getting a B+ in a core.

We reside in a group of mentally mercurial, sensitive fools. Which is why I feel I feel that Harvard is especially well suited for adopting the wide-leg pants trend with ease: because if we can’t embrace the extremes of pant width, then who can?


1) Pair these pants with something tighter on top so that you don’t look like you were in the wild with only a burlap sack for clothing and a twin with whom you could only speak twin language.

2) Don’t make your pants so long that they cover your shoes. Victoria Beckham is the only person I know who can do this, and that is because the title of her exceedingly long tell-all is “Learning to Fly” and she makes no sense as a person. I can’t wait for her reality show.

3) Wearing large pants is not for the weak, so pair them with high heels. I know you can do it.

—Staff writer Rebecca M. Harrington can be reached at