Style Glossary: The Harem Pant

Get low with harem pants like the Fashion Student Pants.

It’s harem time! While they may seem like a recent trend, these long, billowy pants have a history longer than both I Dream of Jeannie and MC Hammer combined. If you ever wanted to know more about drop-crotch pants, this Style Glossary post will give you the low-down!

While there are varying shapes and silhouettes depending on the cut – from parachute to pantaloon – the term “harem” is less a specific garment, and more of an overarching classification for any pant that is loose at the crotch and fitted near the ankles. The earliest harem pants are said to date back as early as 16th-century Persia. During the Orientalist movement in the 19th century, harem pants were popularized by French designer Paul Poiret, whose exotic line of lampshade tunics and harem pants encouraged women to liberate themselves from constricting apparel.

Harem pants today, such as our Fashion Student Pants, can be identified by a top half that drapes like a skirt, flowing into a bottom half that fits like a skinny pant. Personally, I own about five different pairs, and in my wardrobe, they’ll never go out of style! They’re as comfortable as, and a great alternative to walking around all day in your pajamas – minus the flannel, holiday, or college-themed prints.

What’s your stance on harem pants?

About Julianne

Julie is a modern day Renaissance woman and die-hard bloody mary enthusiast. When she’s not sprinkling magic fairy dust onto ModCloth’s social media channels, you can find her eclectic point of view on food, fashion, music, and DIY documented here!

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  1. Molly 09/24/2010 at 3:19 pm #

    I dig these. Problem I’ve seen, is girls think they look fat or something and buy too small of a size and the pants don’t drape properly. If they are too fitted through the calf they just aren’t cut to flatter…

  2. Sophie 09/24/2010 at 3:25 pm #

    I personally don’t think I will ever own harem pants, but I have seen them worn well. The ones I’ve liked have been on the less droopy side, though, so I think it’s easy to go overboard with the level of crotch drop. They’re very trendy, too, so I foresee ridicule a la parachute pants in the future, but I guess that’s fashion for ya!

  3. Katie 09/24/2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Nope nope nope never. Trend or not, “drop crotch” looks ridiculous to me.

  4. Kim 09/24/2010 at 4:56 pm #

    No. Drop crotches look like giant diapers!

  5. steph 09/24/2010 at 4:56 pm #

    I think probably 0.1 percent of women can pull these off and those are NOT the women who wear them. Harem pants are just not flattering in any outfit I’ve seen so far. If anyone could probably change my mind, it’s ModCloth, but i’m hesitant ladies. We’ll see. hehe

  6. Salma 09/24/2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I’m thinking beige harem pants with a brown beaded belt and a black blazer with strappy sandals would look cute.

  7. Kate 09/24/2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I will never wear any variety of harem pant and am yet to see them worn well – big fat ‘no’ from me.

  8. Marcela A. 09/24/2010 at 9:56 pm #

    I think they can look extremely classy and stylish AND be versatile at the same time. i’ve had a jeans version for a couple of years that i love and can wear with absolutely anything.

  9. lizette 09/25/2010 at 1:19 pm #

    i love love love hareem pants! i live in florida and the first pair i found was off an european site and the second pair i found at H&M and they are wonderful! so comfortable.. to give you an example of how i worn them >

  10. Bec 09/26/2010 at 11:31 am #

    Harem pants definitely are comfortable and comes in handy when you have to squat to do your business (say you’re traveling in India, China, etc). The tight ankles make sure your pant legs don’t sweep the gross floors, and the loose top section makes it easy for you to take it off and put it back on quickly, so you can get out before the stench kills you.

    However, the “ultra low crotch drop” is useless. Would be awkward to have the crotch of your pants accidentally sweep a dirty floor. And yes, they can have an unfortunate resemblance to a loaded diaper.

    The harem pants that are loose on top WITHOUT going too crazy billowy and WITHOUT much of a crotch drop are the ones to get.

  11. Hadley 09/26/2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Your blog is great and I love your style! And now you come along with harem pants and I can’t help but think “Does this site get BETTER?” I used to wear harem pants all the time! They are soooo cute!

  12. Vasil (ModCloth) 09/27/2010 at 10:49 am #

    One of the greatest trends ever!
    LOVE them–btw they are not only girls’ pants!
    Also, I do not understand people who always connect trend and appearance. These two things do not always go together! And do they have to?!

  13. kay 09/27/2010 at 11:47 am #

    I agree that harem pants are extremely trendy and only look good on some people. I know that I cannot pull them off myself, however, I believe they are best worn by someone whose style is very urban. A good example would be the character of Vanessa on Gossip Girl.

  14. C 10/04/2010 at 2:48 pm #

    I really do not like this style of pant. I do not see myself ever wearing or owning a pair.

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