How Juicy Sweatpants Are Responsible For This Generation's Obsession With Asses
July 1, 2014 marked the end of an era for mean girls and their rhinestone-encrusted butts everywhere: Juicy Couture has officially shut down all of its US stores. Meaning, if you still want to buy luxury velour loungewear and intimidate other 13-year-old girls in the mall, you’ll have to shop online.
I couldn’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia when I heard the news. I admittedly still wear a few choice terry cloth bottoms (those that aren’t too outrageous in color or don’t have writing on the ass) -- no longer for their status-marker but more so for their comfort and relative tailoring, like an upscale pajama bottom, if you will.
And the rest, the ones that tried too hard to reinvent the wheel (think the Michael Jackson-esque moto-neck zip-up), are neatly folded and color-coordinated in the depths of my closet back home.
Perhaps I’m waiting for the day they make a comeback, although I think those famewhore tracksuits of yesteryear will more likely disappear with their once iconic label.
The thought of so many expensive, sumptuously fabricated garments that used to signify bitchy-cool now lying in a pile on a forgotten shelf kind of upsets me. Is this how I’ll feel about designer crop tops and bandage skirts one day?
Before there was Lululemon, before there was Solow, before the rise of leggings and trendy athletic-wear, there was the Juicy Couture tracksuit.
Tabloid-hunted-socialites-turned-reality-stars (Paris and Nicole, I’m looking at you two) and off-duty celebrities alike all donned the unmistakable matching pant-and-J-dangling-zipper ensemble.
I even remember Jennifer Lopez rocking the bubblegum pink shorts version alongside Ja Rule in her 2001 music video, “I’m Real,” giving the brand a major upgrade.
Oh, weren’t those the good ‘ol days when computers still had slots for CDs and Taylor Swift wasn’t around. (She would have definitely worn the ruffled version that said “princess” on the back…)
Despite them being obvious loungewear, there was something kind of sexy about these relaxed velour pants, as evidenced by the girls who wore them. They sat low on the hips, so that a sliver of midsection could be seen.
They were tighter than actual sweatpants but still comfortable enough to sit cross-legged in. And they were expertly tailored to fit loose on the leg but tight on the hips, thighs and butt. Girls of all ages were happy to finally find polished daywear and guys were happy to ogle their ASSets. There was something for everybody.
And so the beginnings of our generation’s obsession with backsides began. Unbeknownst to us naive ladies at the time, the Juicy Couture sweatpants was an early introduction to the female booty for middle-school boys everywhere.
The attention to our butts was even further magnified when the label caught on and realized this would be the best place to market itself, effectively bejeweling “Juicy” on the ass of its mass-produced pant. If people weren’t already staring at your butt, they sure were now.
Juicy Couture capitalized on previously unchartered territory. They pioneered a trend that is now totally commonplace: writing on the bum. Which makes sense -- everyone is checking out everyone else’s ass. The butt really is the place to be.
Think about it. Jeans are labeled on the outer back pockets, twerking is the dancefloor move du jour and people are still talking about Kim Kardashian’s goods.
Did Juicy Couture start the movement or did they just catch on earlier than everyone else that the backside is clearly the best place to grab people’s attention?
Presently, the writing-on-the-butt fad has more or less phased out, first replaced by trucker hats and then eventually (where else?) the chest, only we’re calling them “graphic tees” now. But back in the early 2000s it was all about the booty.
We affectionately sung about it in Nelly’s “Hot in Hurr” and Destiny Child’s “Bootylicious” songs and we emblazoned words on the backs of our bottoms with pride.
But why stop there? Soon, it actually became trendy to describe yourself using specific adjectives on your ass. Plain soffe shorts took a nod from Juicy Couture and started printing words like “cheer,” “hottie” and “dancer” on the back for the appropriate customer.
You could announce to the whole world that you played softball with just your folded-over cotton shorts. Wasn’t life so simple?
It was even slightly controversial to have writing on your bum, which also made it cool. Parents wouldn’t allow their 12-year-old daughters to walk around with “Juicy” on their ass, just as schools would ban writing-on-the-butt-shorts from dress codes.
Even if you weren’t trying to convince people you were a “QT” with your butt, it was still the topic of conversation.
Soon though, we all grew up. “The Simple Life” went off-air, Jennifer Lopez found a new husband and the iconic tracksuit was cheapened by knock-off imitations. Juicy isn’t forever, as we previously believed.
Now, the couture is no longer considered couture. The decade of Juicy sweatpants has officially ended, along with the writing on the butt trend. And while we’re sad it’s gone, boy did we enjoy watching you leave.
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