Harem pants are clothing forever associated with ‘dancing’ girls bought and sold for the pleasure of oiled sultans. On the other hand, they’re flattering, magical, and speak to the soul of genies in bottles and Arabian Nights…
Remember the movie Aladdin? Am I the only person who thought Jasmine was so beautiful, with her long black hair, curled tip shoes and… yes… her harem pants? I know I’m not the only person who imagined herself falling in love with Aladdin while draped in attire stolen straight from Scheherazade’s wardrobe. So why is it that when I wear my olive green harem pants with my white tank top and cute gold and brown slides, people feel the need to make genie jokes? I thought we were all in this together. Hell, even Aladdin wore harem pants – and he became the sultan. If you haven’t guessed it yet, this is my ode to the harem pant.
As a feminist, you can put forward the motion that you are stealing the attire of ‘woman as bought-and-sold chattel in harem’ in order to re-appropriate a costume forever linked in the modern mind with slaves and female trafficking and dancing girls whose only male company is eunuchs and oiled sultans.
As a hopeless mythology-loving romantic (yay! Everyone, hands up!) you can, with a touch of magic and a pair of harem pants, aspire to be the kind of woman who lives in bottles, hangs out with djinns and can tell a fabulous tale every night for 1,001 nights if she really puts her mind to it.
Harem pants have a snug waistband that starts the loose and flowy leg that tapers at the ankle. For some reason, they surpass many boundaries of acceptable fashion – which is why they are such a mooky choice of attire. Harem pants force people to take a chance on their style and step out into the world.
It takes a very confident person to rock harem couture and do it well. It takes a real woman to wear harem pants while walking down the street singing along to “I’m a Genie in a bottle, baby…” and not raise an eyebrow when you hear the faint snickers behind your back. Take pride in your fashion, never fear. Harem pants are here.
I forgot which demi-goddess I saw wear these lovely things best; I think it was around the same time I fell for liquid leggings (ooh, baby). Nonetheless, I do remember the day I first tried on a pair. I slipped on the harem pants, combined them with a black tank top and told myself in the mirror, “You’re going to be turning heads with this one.” My cheek-to-cheek smile dropped when I realized that those heads would be turning in the other direction.
To this very day, I still get mixed reactions on harem pants. My feelings remain the same – it’s a love affair. I found them especially useful when I was pregnant and needed something stretchy and comfortable. I dared to be bold, bought another pair of delectable harem pants and wore them with a black t-shirt, black leather jacket, and black pumps. I felt like Catwoman, and it felt good.
So, when you walk into your favourite olde curiosity shoppe and see a gauzy, flouncy pair of harem pants hanging in the back rack of the clearance section, have confidence in your style. Buy a pair, if you dare. And, once you’re suitably attired, become either a ninja assassin or take up tribal bellydance.