Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Post: Tear-Away Pants

Welcome to another installment in this series of Children of the 90s guest blogs! We have several pieces in the works and we are still reviewing applications, so if you are interested in contributing to Children of the 90s, shoot us an email to!

Let's all welcome guest blogger Laura of The Butterfly Collector blog. A little about Laura, in her own words:

I’m Laura and I like the smell of bread. Due to possible over-exposure to all things pop-culture throughout my years, I tend to have a dry sense of humour that has the synapses of my mind tying various thoughts together in strange ways. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and love my city. My blog is mostly about my adventures in life as I try to experience as much as I can. I am addicted to twitter (@lowqis) so if you want to see what I am up to, catch me there!

Be sure to check out Laura's blog and follow her on twitter to see more of her amusing musings! Here, she writes about some of the least functional but most poplar athletic wear trends of the 90s: tear-away pants. Take it away, Laura:

Tear-Away Pants

This weekend I ran the Ronald McDonald House “Rock the House Run.” My first 5k since the 90s (when I joined the high school running team to meet a boy I had an unrequited crush on). But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about Ronald McDonald wearing some wicked “tear-aways” in his traditional colours.

Ronald McDonald and me after the 5k

Remember these awesome pants?

Image from

Not only could you rock the Adidas trend, but also do it in such a way that at any moment a wardrobe malfunction could happen that as a teenager could lead to years of lying on a couch, dealing with the esteem issues that such embarrassment might have caused. OR, it could prepare our young selves for the biggest fitness craze to hit the new millennium – strippercize!

When I saw Ronald rocking his sweet tear-aways, I was brought back to my youth --when all I wanted was to own anything Adidas, the ultimate way to be one with my peers. Tear-aways were pretty high on my wish list. I liked the idea of only tearing them away up to my knee (or a little bit higher depending on how scandalous I felt – anything to garner the attention of my crush of the week!). I liked the idea that if it were to get too hot, I could rip them off and continue about my business. I also liked the idea (even if its not really factual) of fashion meeting function.

Brand names were not a huge priority in my house and shopping at Zellers (think Target or Wal-Mart) for knock-offs to suffice my need for the latest trends took place a lot (hey! Don’t judge. I was making $5 an hour on a good day babysitting). So off I went to find an appropriate pair of these fabulous pants. Somehow, knock-off designers missed the memo about the ability for these pants to fully be removed by tearing them away (hence the ever clever name of “tear-aways”). On the knock-offs, the entire side seams of the track pants would be snap buttons but the waist would still be intact, leaving only the fabric from the legs to flutter in the wind. This was perfect for the scandalous fashionista in me, but not-so-perfect for the functional part of this design.

How I evolved with this trend through out the 90s and beyond

  • When I was 13, I had a pair of knock-off tear-aways. I was just your regular Sporty Spice in the making.
  • When I was 15, I owned jeans that were slit up to the knee, exposing my “flirtatious” calves.
  • When I was 18, I owned pants that laced up the outside seams from my hips to my thighs (think Christina Aguilera in the “Come on Over” music video) that I loved to wear to the night clubs. Scandalous!

And like Christina, I would up the sex appeal of this leg-baring trend with the ubiquitous belly-baring tops that fashion dictated we wear in the 90s.

Thank you Adidas, I salute you for creating a pant that formed my fashion sense during my impressionable years.


AlwaysWright said...

OMG!! I had a blue pair of these and thought I had arrived in terms of sport fashion. They were great to wear if it got hot as ou could just undo the buttons but like you say they flapped about. I also thought I was sporty spice, though I did get told I looked like her.

Red Goddess said...

I myself have been trying desperately to forget such items as the tearaway pants...I am stunned that Ronald McD found a pair. And what was the right way to accessorize such an item?

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to say that I cried for a week after my parents went to Estonia (which was then the promised land of knock-off goods) and brought back a pair of knock-off tear-away joggers.. The only problem with them was? They had TWO stripes instead of THREE!! I was going to get SO much grief & I was totally the most uncool person of all time!

Oh, the problems of teenage life!

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