Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Spanish harem

Whilst frequenting the towns and beaches of the Andalusia, I noticed that the tourists there seemed to have developed a particular fondness for harem pants. They were everywhere. Wandering on the steep precipices of Ronda, lay idle on the beach at Sanlucar, loitering by orange trees in Seville, drinking amber coloured wine and gorging on free tapas in Granada, watching a shoot out in the wild west in the Almeria desert (yes really) and finally meandering between brightly coloured parasols in Nerja.

Before you cast aspersions and accuse me of wearing harem pants in all of these places, I must firstly assure you that t'was not I, then *waggle* my finger disapprovingly at you.

I first registered this foreign fad after seeing a spate of the said garment in Ronda. It seemed like a good idea (for professional research purposes of course) to keep track of how many I encountered on my journey. During a particularly lovely glass of vino rosado in the Albaicin region of Granada (all work and no play makes Edith a very dull fashionista indeed) I lost count somewhere after 20.

This of course got me musing somewhat incoherently. Few items of clothes are able to divide public opinion so venemently as the harem pant. So why has the harem pant become a hit with holidaymakers? NY, London, Milan and Paris are arguably the fashion capitals of the world and far more trend forward. And yet very few people are seriously seen rocking them on their streets. This, despite the major design houses pushing the look down the runways season after season, a flurry of bloggers discussing their merits month after month and fashion students promoting them in their graduate collections year on year. Thus far the slouchy, dropped crotch trouser that is the harem pant has eluded us, remaining inconspicuous in the street style stakes and failing to be adopted in any mainstream way.

It is obvious to most sane people (please note, I myself to not claim to be sane) why this is. As an item of clothing the harem pant is not flattering. Not in the slightest (mind you, that doesn't always matter - the skinny jean movement it proof of that). At best you look stumpy and possibly flabby, and at worst like a dwarf with elephantiasis. The harem pant isn't all-bad though. After all, they are definitely the prolapse friendly trouser. If your intestine happens to fall out of your arse you are definitely going to want to own a pair of these bad boys (along with a inflatable rubber ring).

However, I don't believe that all of the holidaymakers I saw in Spain have had the displeasure of a vital organ slipping out of place. So by golly there must be another reason for this unfathomable craze!

Another 2 glasses of vino rosad0 I realised there is... And it's simple! The joy of a vacation is that it's a break from your everyday life. You don't have to go to work, clean your house or eat your 5 a day. And that dear Watson is the crucial element to the harem pants winning formula. You see, very few people could wear this style of trouser to work and not feel self-conscious or worse, inappropriately dressed. But once abroad the harem trouser fulfills almost every holiday specification you could ever have. They are a stark contradiction to the normal working wardrobe, they are light and comfortable, and finally they couldn't possibly make you look any worse if they crease in transit. DO. YOU. SEE. THE. PURE. SWEET. FRICKIN. GENIUS. OF. THEM. NOW?

This frankly startling realisation combined with the wise words of Queen Michelle from Kingdom of Style about the harem pant has me convinced that they truely are fashion greatness personified!

"whenever I see ladies rocking these 'difficult' trousers I am simply filled with awe and admiration at their balls for laughing in the face of conventional ideas of 'sexy' and doing their own thing."
I'm now absolutely convinced that I need a pair! These ones from Topshop fit the bill perfectly; they're a bargainous £22. Obviously I won't be wearing them to pound the streets of London just yet, I'll save their first outing until my next trip abroad. But until then I am strangely comforted by the knowledge that should I manage to accidentally dislodge an organ from inside my body in the mean time, I'll be suitably attired to deal with the situation. Edgy with medical benefits? No wonder harem pants are all the rage.



Anonymous said...

I first truly encountered harem pants as a fashion item while in Irsael this summer. I bought a pair of less-than-opaque ( I wear tights/leggings underneath), green, silver shot fabric. To be quite honest, I think they're absolutely beautiful. They have a flow and shape to them that hints at some other-worldy charm and a heady, exotic elegance. Honestly, they could only be considered unflattering if you thought the same of skirts; they cover and fall in much the same way, and yet make an infinitely larger statement, with infinitely greater charm and style. I'm a seventeen year old from Tucson, AZ that wears my harem pants frequently, with plenty of compliments at school (Quite the achievement when you consider how stratified and homogeneous high school culture and fashion are). The biggest reason that they're not worn "over here" is that there's not many places that sell them as cheaply or with as much variety as the middle east. I think that harem pants are absolutely beautiful.

Anonymous said...

i'm not too fond of them, yet, i would love to try it on!! forever 21 has something similar for even cheaper :)

La C

4EverShop said...

i like that kind of pants but to see them on somebody else. i am very conservative regarding fashion. i only wear what looks good on me and not whats is fashion. fashion is not for everybody. clothes should make you look beautiful and not the opposite

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