There are plenty of things people are missing in quarantine. Family, friends, basic social interaction … the not-so-subtle rise of puddle pants. You’d be forgiven, of course, given that the only angle from which you interact with people is through a Brady Bunch square on Zoom. But take one scroll through Instagram (or one swipe through Tik Tok), and you’ll see that every so-called cool girl is wearing a pair of pants that look like they desperately need to be hemmed.
Puddle pants, which are slightly tailored curtains, have actually been around for years—and obviously, short girls (raises hand) have been wearing them against their will since birth. They’re an offshoot of the baggy denim trend of the ‘90s, but they’ve had a resurgence in the last year, and you can probably guess the reason.
With the rise of loungewear all day, every day, these pants graduated from something only fashun people wore, to the pant of the people. People who are embracing a closet with baggier silhouettes and relaxed fits in the name of quarantine. Bella Hadid, Rihanna, FKA Twigs, and Katie Holmes have been known to release some teen angst and rock the look, and there’s no shortage of outfit inspiration from street style stars and Gen-Zers.
But even when we head back into the world, puddle pants are guaranteed to be there. And why not? They’re insanely comfortable precisely because they’re the antithesis to the skinny jean. Puddle pants are relaxed and wide leg, and while they’ll usually come in a non-stretch denim form, they always have the ease of flared leggings. The hallmark feature is that they “puddle” at the ankle—in an intentionally oversized fit. To emphasize the laissez-faire “tailoring,” they’re typically worn over sneakers or flat shoes and meant to kiss the ground … and then keep kissing it, until they rip into tiny shreds at the bottom of your heel. Yes, just like they did in junior high.
The beauty of these pants is that they work across all kinds of occasions and moods. Puddle pants come in all sorts of materials, from denim to leather to trousers and, of course, loungewear-ready fabrics like cashmere and Pima cotton. You can find them in high-rise cuts, making them the perfect pair to offset a body-skimming mesh top, or you can also find them low-slung, as the ideal companion to a crop top for the warmer months. When styled, they look remarkably modern and cool.
Below, shop the best puddle pants available right now.