Kylie Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid and more stars and fashion notables seem to think so. They are ushering in a Gen Z fashion trend of leaving the house in just tights or underwear-esque briefs – no outerwear required. Sound risqué? It’s just the latest way this generation is taking creative clothing liberties to rebel.
“Fashion is just expressing what’s going on broadly in culture,” says longtime business of culture journalist Christina Binkley. “We’re in a rule-breaking era.”
Here’s why it seems like runways, red carpets and sidewalks are seeing less pants than ever before.
What is the ‘no pants’ trend?
It can mean a couple of different fashion choices, but boils down to a lingerie-inspired outfit. Some step out wearing tights as pants (remember the uproar a few years back about wearing leggings as pants?), men’s briefs with nothing else layered on top of it (see: Hadid) or a bodysuit as an entire outfit.
We have Fashion Week and famous models to thank for this look trickling down to regular folk. Designers like Bottega, Miu Miu and Burberry showcased different takes on pants-less looks, and then it was a matter of time before fashion influencers such as the Kardashian-Jenners, the Hadids and Julia Fox made it the buzz-iest fashion trend since Barbiecore.
“If you did that in the office, that’s the stuff of nightmares,” jokes Binkley. But while it’s a decidedly NSFW fashion trend, it isn’t terribly indecent by the fashion world’s standards.
“In a lot of these cases, they’re not any more revealing than they would be if they were in a bathing suit,” Binkley adds. “It looks a little shocking to those of us who aren’t accustomed to seeing that, but these are just rules that somebody made up at some point.”
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From ditching bras to going pantsless: Gen Z is just the latest generation to rebel through fashion
The “no pants” trend isn’t just for Gen Z – everyone from Kim Kardashian to Taylor Swift to Tessa Thomson to Rita Ora are getting in on it. But the non-celebs embracing it skew younger, and fashion experts say it’s on brand for this generation, which has previously experimented with going braless.
“We’re known for taking things to the next level across the boards,” says Aiyana Ishmael, an editorial assistant at Teen Vogue and self-proclaimed “elder Gen Z.” “That’s why Gen Z enjoys trends like this: Because we’re like, ‘OK, this feels insane and I like the idea of grabbing onto this insanity.’ … It feels so different and probably something that feels rebellious.”
Breaking the rules isn’t exactly a new concept in fashion. The ’70s sexual revolution prompted braless looks, which have going in and out of style.
As Gen Z culture-makers, the oldest of whom are now in their mid-20s, look to make their marks, they face one thing their fashion predecessors did not: the fleeting, over-saturated and competitive nature of the internet.
The ability to constantly refresh our timelines means we’re always asking “What’s the next big thing? What’s the next viral moment?” says Ishmael.
Do you dare try the no pants trend?
For the non-celebs looking to get in on the trend, there’s a time and a place.
Ishmael recently dressed like Bella Hadid for a week as a project for Teen Vogue, which included recreating Hadid’s famous men’s briefs outfit for a day at the office.
“I was laughing with my co-workers, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope no one higher up sees me while I’m walking around in these tiny shorts,’ ” Ishmael jokes. “I think it’s definitely tricky when you’re not a celebrity, but definitely something you can still explore if you want to.”
It’s best to save that fashion experimentation for a night out, she notes. For further inspiration, look at the celebs who rock this trend the best. Ishmael points to Fox as a fashion influencer to embody for confidence.
“Her style is so unabashedly herself,” Ishmael says. “She’s very opinionated and even if (what she’s saying) isn’t true, she feels very sure of herself. Whenever she’s wearing the craziest of things… it feels so honest and true to herself, which is the key to wearing anything. As long as you’re owning it, that’s really what holds down the outfit.”
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