Ultra Low-Rise Pants

AKA: Ultra lowriders, bumsters, super low-rise

How to say it: as it looks

Traditional Features: 

body template

  • very short rise
  • waistband sits on the hips or lower
  • usually combined with a slim or skinny fit through the legs
  • often in stretch fabrics


…of the style: The rise on a pair of pants is the distance between the crotch and the waistband. Usually this is about 30cm, but in low-rise styles it is around 20cm and on ultra low-rise closer to 10cm.

The precursors to the low-rise and thus the ultra low-rise pant were the hip-huggers of the late 1960s. Essentially, the hip-hugger was a lower rise flare that was popular with hippies and members of the counter-culture movement. The style became mainstream and was popular through the 70s disco era but dropped off in the 80s when high/natural waisted pants took over.

Low-rise pants came back into fashion in the 1990s thanks to British designer Alexander McQueen and his Taxi Driver Collection in 1996. The collection featured the ‘bumster’ – an ultra low-rise pant that exposed the tops of the wearer’s bottom. The bumster caused quite a stir and had a significant effect on fashion – the ultra low-rise was born. While mainstream styles were never as low as McQueen’s version, the style remained popular through to the early 2000s with starlets like Britney Spears (eg. the ‘Slave 4 You video’)  and Christina Aguilera (eg. the video for ‘Dirrty’) helping to keep the look alive.

While the ultra-low rise still exists in the marketplace, the popularity of the style has dropped off due to negative connotations becoming attached to women who wore them and changing fashion trends.

…of the name: The term ‘low-rise’ is used for pants that have a shorter rise length than traditional pant styles as they ‘rise’ lower on the body. Ultra low-rise pants are an exaggerated version of this style.

For more info on low-rise pants and the ‘bumster’ try Wikipedia or Another Mag

Random Facts

  • the terms muffin-top, whale tail, bum cleavage and sagging were all invented to deal with the fashion fall-out from to low-rise pants.
  • In 2004 State Legislator Derrick Shepard of Louisiana, USA, tried to outlaw low-rise jeans and the display of underwear that the low-rise pants created. The law would have seen $500 fines given to anyone showing their whale tail or boxer shorts in public. The bill was rejected.

21st Century Ultra Low-Rise Pants

While they do still exist in the fashion landscape, the ultra low-rise pant doesn’t seem to be as ‘ultra’ as it used to be. Thank goodness!

guess levis

Guess, Levi’s

true religion wrangler

True Religion, Wranglers


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