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12 Modern Ways to Wear Parachute Pants for a Chic Look

Today’s fashion sure has so much to be grateful for from the early 2000s. From denim maxi skirts to bucket hats, here comes another Y2k fashion trend that made a massive comeback in 2023 and will surely rock 2024—parachute pants!

This retro athleisure item trended on TikTok last year and made it to top runway shows. But don’t take my word for it, designers like Stella McCartney stunned the audience at her SS23 show with models decked out in billowing boilersuits. Similarly, Miu Miu and Hermès showcased parachute-inspired pieces like smart shirt dresses with parachute pulls and functional Gore-Tex pockets. And to cap it all, videos featuring this trend garnered at least one billion views on Tiktok.

Olivia Dean wearing parachte pants

The resurgence of this nostalgic relic lends credence to the fact that old trends die hard. So if you’ve always wanted to take a trip down memory lane by donning stuff you wore in your childhood, now is the time to do so with a pair of parachute pants.

To help you out, ahead is our edit of the best parachute pants outfits to recreate. It breaks down how to style these oversized pants and embrace the timeless Y2K trend the modern way.

Brief History of Parachute Pants

Pink parachute pants set from the 80s

These pants first emerged in the ’80s. They’ve been in the fashion scene since the 1980s and became popular during the breakdancing era. These trousers spread further when a popular rapper made them his favorite. As Fashion Expert and Celebrity Stylist, Cindy Conroy, shared with The Zoe Report:

 “The love affair was set aflame later in the [’80s] decade thanks to rapper MC Hammer … His flashy harem pants and energetic dance moves were the perfect pairing.” 

During this time, these pants were originally called ‘Hammer pants’ or ‘flight pants’. They were made from a much lighter weight fabric, and as the name implies, their looseness draws inspiration from the rainbow-striped parachute you must have seen in books and animations when you were a child.

Initial parachute pants used fabrics similar to the windbreaker-like materials—ripstop nylon—used in making real ones. This made it easier for the pants to adopt its signature puffy balloon silhouette and its name. 

Furthermore, different companies manufactured these pants then, but the clothing company, Bugle Boy, boosted their fame. Parachute pants were a mainstay of 80s fashion. Later on, these trousers resurfaced in the ’90s and 2000s, with celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Aniston, rocking them like never before.

Parachute Pants Today

Bella Hadid wearing  a pair of parachute pants with Salomon sneakers; Versace sunglasses

Today’s parachute pants now have a modern makeover. Though they’re no longer strictly made with the ripstop fabric of the 80s, their parachute properties still stand. 

Similar to cargo pants, these bottoms are another round of relaxed, functional trousers that ooze comfort. Perhaps, it’s why Some people assume these hammer pants evolved from cargo pants. But what distinguishes them is that unlike the structured utilitarian cargo pants, the waist and hems of parachute pants are usually cuffed, elasticated, or with drawstrings.

These baggy pants have reinvented themselves while staying true to their utilitarian roots. Now, they feature different lightweight fabrics and feminine silhouettes while incorporating the sporty feel peculiar to the 1980s. Some may have drawstrings or belt loops, while being high-waisted or low-rise. The options are limitless. Best of all? They’re accrueing fans among celebrities. We’ve seen stars like Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, Hailey Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, and Bella Hadid, make iconic looks with this fit. And the trend isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Loewe jacket and pants

Of course, they’re versatile as they can be easily dressed up or down for the perfect athleisure outfit. With this popularity, you may feel out-of-touch if you’re yet to explore the trend. But not to worry, in a few seconds, you’ll be digesting all the outfit inspiration you need to slay these bottoms.

How to Make a Style Statement in Parachute Pants

pretty girl looking gorgeous in her beige parachute pants outfit

Parachute pants are comfy with their wide-leg design and breathable materials. The dramatic volume of these bottoms make them a must-have for bold dressers. In addition, they bring a fashionable streetwear vibe to your outfit. It becomes better if your watchword is “the bigger the better.” You just know you have a best friend in these pants, to keep you comfy and relaxed all day long.

Thankfully, there are also plenty of easier-to-recreate outfit inspos of these bottoms. So, whether you’re looking for a casual outfit, a night out, or an iconic look, these versatile pieces will see you throughout the seasons. 

Here are edgy ways to wear parachute pants to look stylish all year round:

Balance with Skintight Silhouettes

Pretty girl donning an ash-colored hammer bottoms ensemble

A pro tip when creating fashion-forward outfits with this item is to balance proportions by wearing something skintight on your upper body. So think:

Crop Tops

pretty girl donning hammer trousers with a crop tank top and a crop sweater

Whether your parachute pants are low-rise or high-rise, you won’t look wrong if you show some skin with a nice crop top. This can be a tank top or any cute top that flaunts your midriff.

Baby Tees

parachute pants and baby tee outfit

A well-fitted tee also pairs well with this look. It helps you frame your upper body while drawing attention to your pants.

Turtleneck

a girl wearing hammer pants with a black turtleneck top

There’s nothing wrong in covering up to your neck and possibly your arms. A turtleneck lets you do that. And since it’s figure-hugging, it’ll make a good pair for your baggy pants.

Crochet Top

crochet knit top and parachute pants outfit

This may or not be skintight, but since it gives sneak peeks of your skin, it works. It’ll look great with your hammer pants.

Corset Top

pretty girl donning corset top and parachute bottoms outfit

What better way to highlight your upper body while keeping the volume down than to wear a corset top? You can go for one with lacings so it cinches your waist and gives you an hourglass silhouette.

Go Baggy on Top

Pretty Asian girl donning a large tee with her baggy bottoms

If you aren’t a fan of tight-fitting bodice, this one is for you. So, try:

Hoodies

Jennifer Lopez wearing a white hoodie and sky blue parachute pants

A hoodie when paired with these baggy pants creates a timeless streetwear fit that leaves you looking and feeling stylish. 

Button-Up Shirts

Olivia Dean pairing her baggy pants with a shirt

A Large Tee

lady taking mirror selfie in top and pants

Loose-fitting T-shirts pair well with these pants too. They give off that late 90s/early 2000s hip-hop vibe that keeps you feeling retro-chic.

Some Layering

Pernille Teisbaek wearing Prada vest and bag; Rains pants

Consider layering your pants with bomber jackets, sweaters, cardigans, coats, jackets, etc., to keep you warm and add an extra layer of style to your outfit.

Create a Monochromatic Ensemble

lady wearing a brown baggy ensemble

Keep the components of your outfit under one color palette. This works for either neutrals or bold colors, and helps you create a subtle yet très chic outfit.

Accessorize

a stylish lady donning baggy pants well-accessorized with blck sunglasses and a blach handbag

These little add-ons never fail to magnify your outfit. So, don’t forget to adorn your hair with headpieces such as a Mea Culpa beanie, scarf, wide-brimmed hats, bucket hats, baseball cap, and even a gorgeous hairstyle. In addition, throw on some earrings, rings, waist beads, facial piercings, bracelets, sunglasses, etc. Wearing a fashion item is one thing. Styling them is another.

Go for Not-so Casual Shoes

pretty girl donning baggy bottoms with a jacket

Sneakers are the perfect footwear for this outfit. But if you wanna go a step further, think Crocs or boots for a not-so-casual fit. Furthermore, if flip-flops are on your radar, wear the platform ones to elevate your look. And if you’re a fan of heels, don’t hesitate to wear them with your hammer pants.

Parachute pants are the ideal way to switch from a regular contemporary outfit to a retro-modern look. Use the tips we’ve shared in this piece to nail your wardrobe choices. And be sure to take lovely photos when you recreate any inspo that best catches your fancy.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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