80s Parachute Pants
As one of the most recognizable trends of all time, 80s parachute pants were definitely a one of a kind trend…until they once recently tried to come back as harem pants, but they were just not the same.
Parachute pants were an essential garment of break dancers and hip hop enthusiasts everywhere.
Used by mainly by break dancers, the pants cut down on the amount of friction between the body and the dance floor of choice, whether linoleum, cardboard, or any smooth surface.
These pants enabled them to do their thing and bust a move much more smoothly. The heavy nylon material used was also incredibly durable and long lasting, which was necessary for all the caterpillars, flares, backspins, floats, windmills, coffee grinders, and any other moves that required slickness and flexibility.
Early in the decade, parachute pants were tight, or at the very least, form fitting. To add to the coolness, they often had random zippers that didn’t necessarily serve any important purpose and were normally a contrasting color so they would stand out.
They were available in many colors, though black and grey were the most popular, followed by red. The waist of the pants was similar to regular pants, using a button, drawstring or snap closure, and naturally, a zipper.
As break dancing became increasingly popular in the early 80s, so did the pants. Like a lot of clothing that went on to be a staple of fashion, parachute pants did just that.
Much like the 80s leg warmer trend where you didn’t have to be a dancer or exercise guru to wear them, you didn’t have to be a break dancer to wear parachute pants, they were now a hot trend in fashion.
With the increased demand for parachute pants, they began to be designed and marketed for their 80s fashion, as opposed to function, and were slightly modified. The normally heavyweight nylon fabric was swapped for a lighter nylon, resulting in a more wearable and user-friendly pair of pants.
Much later in the decade, parachute pants started becoming big. With a crotch hanging as low as the knee and more than enough flashy fabric, they were still, technically parachute pants, but just a different breed.
Dancers, mostly in the hip hop scene, not necessarily break dancers, would wear these pants for not only the freedom of movement, but for the way they looked and ‘flowed’ while dancing in them.
Thus, they retained the name of parachute pants, mostly because of the amount of fabric, even though they were not made from heavy material. They were a lot flashier, in loud patterns and even sequins. These are the pants that MC Hammer made famous.
Though mostly worn by men, women occasionally wore 80s Parachute Pants, who were either break dancers themselves, which was rare, or they just loved the trendiness of them.
They were just cool pants that looked awesome and everyone wanted a pair, whether or not they ever intended to break dance in them at all.