When It Was Cool Explores the Inexplicable 1980s Fashion Trend- Parachute Pants.

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

After the baffling success of my article on tight rolled pants, I thought it of great public interest to explore another inexplicable fashion trend of the 1980s- parachute pants.  Let's get a few things straight.  First of all parachute pants might not be what you think they are.  If you think parachute pants are this...

Fresh new kicks and pants.  You got it like that now you know you wanna dance.

Fresh new kicks and pants.  You got it like that now you know you wanna dance.

... then you are thinking wrong.  Those are Hammer pants.  Named after a rapper who you can't touch.  I can't explain that trend either but those aren't true original parachute pants.  For one thing, Hammer pants have 1000% room for your junk while parachute pants have Negative 100%.

No, actual parachute pants were made out of the same material that, well, a parachute is made from.  Kind of self explanatory.

Taking "flying by the seat of your pants" to a literal level.

Taking "flying by the seat of your pants" to a literal level.

Why someone thought that was a good idea is beyond me.  I suppose if a material can endure falling through the sky from several thousand feet then it must be good to make pants out of.  Oh, but contraire mon frère.  These abominations were only around for a minute because they snagged on everything.  Also, like everything else clothing related in the 1980's, they had to have zippers all over them.

Zip it, zip it good.

Zip it, zip it good.

When you put a plethora of zippers all over a material that snags on everything it is a recipe for disaster.  Also, I would presume these things would melt at the very sight of a flame.  Fortunately, I never owned an authentic pair of parachute pants.  Not because I was smart enough to avoid this monstrosity because all my friends had them, but because by the time I saved up the outrageous amount of money these things cost they were already out of style.  I seem to remember them costing north of $60 in like 1985 which, in 2017 money, is about the cost of a boat or a small plane.

Often misidentifed as parachute pants, this is a 1980s fashion monstrosity all it's own.

You can best identify actual parachute pants by the amount of unnecessary zippers it has and lack of crotch space.

Another trait of real parachute pants is the zippers on the front of the pant legs which, when zipped, make it totally impossible to pull up, pull down, or get blood circulation to your feet which, hopefully, are sporting sweet, unlaced L.A. Gears.

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