When you think of style icons, Bernie Sanders is probably low on your list. I’m not referencing campaign trail Bernie, with his hypebeast parka and sleek navy suit. I’m all about Bernie off-duty: the one who visits Ariana Grande concerts or walks around in stained button downs. His style should be dissected with the same fervor we approach female politicians. Feel the Bern, because at a second glance, his style is, looks at notes, cool. Canceling student debt is nice and all, but let’s praise his presidential crusade for the next it-pant: Grandpa Slacks.
We’re leaving dad jeans behind and bringing Grandpa Slacks into the new decade, which is appropriate because your grandfather—or great-grandfather, we’re not splitting gray hairs, here—wore these exact same pants in the roaring ’20s. This seemingly dated style is probably worn by a man named Marvin or Eugene. His favorite activities include quietly feeding birds and shuffleboard, if his darned hip allows. While he pretends to be a crotchety old man, he has a sweet spot for hard candies, corgis, and pudgy grandbabies. Prune juice is his beverage of choice. If he owns jeans at all, he probably irons them.
But let’s talk about his slacks. These are of the pleated-front variety, much to the dismay of modern menswear enthusiasts. Fabrics vary, but they should be itchy wool or military-grade gabardine. The color of said pants should be muted, nothing garish or loud; stay in the range of shades that are easy-to-chew, like oatmeal, meatloaf, mashed squash. These are not, and I cannot stress this enough, sexy. These tailored trousers are perfect, but they aren’t exactly flattering. The wide-leg fit should flow away from the body, and in no way will your ass be supported. Grandpa would never.
Frankie Shop, a cult-favorite shop loved by Insta-thots who favor neutral palettes, is spearheading this trend one grid post at a time. Their well-curated collection of minimalist designs includes a tight edit of baggy slacks, and there is barely a flat-front in sight. Instead of thrifting for a vintage pair that is unlikely to fit, opt for their high-waisted selects. The patriarch of your family would not approve, but add a touch of femininity by styling them with a cropped sweater or a fitted bodysuit.
We haven’t confirmed that Riccardo Tisci of Burberry pinned Carl from Up to his inspiration board, but we’re going to recklessly assume so, given his spring collection of three-piece suits and menswear classics. He wasn’t the only designer to go geriatric this season, either. From Chloé to Tibi, the spring 2020 runways were cluttered with grandpa slacks. If that’s not an ode to the greatest generation, I don’t know what is.
This is also a sartorial reminder that you should visit your grandparents this holiday season, if only to rummage through their tobacco-scented closet for pants.