Stirrup Pants

By Alli Denning

As with many other 80s fashion trends, stirrup pants seem to be making a reappearance. Now, we at Like Totally 80s think the 80s were fabulous in all their bodacious outrageousness. So, it is with a heavy heart that we have to give a thumbs down to this particular 80s fashion comeback.

Vintage 80s stirrup pants

Love this example of stirrup pants in the 80s. She looks super-cute in hers (also love her hair, that sweater and the earrings), but this is about as good as they get. They did not flatter most people.

Stirrup Pants in the Mid-80s

Let’s step back and do a brief historical recap of the stirrup pant and its place in the timeline of 80s fashion. Stirrup pants hit their fashion zenith in the mid-80s, in 1985-1986 to be precise. They consist of a knit fabric pant that tapers gradually in towards the ankle, where they have a stirrup. The stirrup is an elastic strap that fits under your heel. I am sure that if you are an equestrian of some kind such a pant would have some obvious appeal and usefulness, but if, on the other hand, you are just getting dressed to go to school or the grocery store, there really is no excuse. Even on the best of figures, stirrup pants had a tendency to make the tops of your legs look big. They create a triangle-leg effect that is not flattering or desirable

Stirrup Pants Re-Invented as High FashionIn the 80s, stirrup pants were worn with belted shirts (belted low on the hips) and oversized sweaters and sweatshirts. On the shoe front, there were several ways to go. Perhaps most often done was a pair of ankles boots with scrunchie socks, where the sock color coordinated with the color scheme of the outfit overall. Stirrup pants were also frequently worn with flats (as is shown in this vintage picture featuring both 80s love and 80s fashion) or with Converse Chuck Taylor’s.

For a few years in the mid-80s, these pants were ubiquitous. I remember in particular a girl at my junior high (we’ll call her Amy) that sported stirrup pants 5 days a week. She had lots of colors and lots of ways to mix it up, but it was all stirrup pants all the time. Surely, that is too much of a not-so-good thing.

A Stirrup Pants Comeback, Really?

So, it was a little disconcerting (ok, a lot) to see the fresh, new stirrup pants hanging innocently on the racks at Old Navy this last weekend. But, it isn’t just the mass, discount retailers that are getting in on the ride. Check out this pair of Jean Paul Gauthier stirrup pants that sell for a whopping $895.00 (see pic at left). Do. Not. Want.

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Author: Alli Denning

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