Of all the retro styles being currently adopted by the next generation, I was most excited for the news that my favorite style and brand of pants were finally coming back into style, baby!
I’m talking about manly men flexing their muscles while wearing pleated denim dresses. An unmistakable era of PlayStation 1, DDR machines and ultra-misogynistic rap rock. A distant time when skateboarding was king and everyone waddled around noisily in the pantaloons of the modern age. Of course, you know that I’m talking about….
The Age of JNCO jeans.
It was a simpler era. A time when your body weight was composed of 60% pants and your virility/masculinity was determined by your tube size. I had several pairs of JNCO ultra-wide pants, but the most obnoxious pair I had were the King Kong Tubes which came to 60″ diameters at the bottom of each leg and had a giant embroidered monkey on the butt. These were considered my “special occasion” pants since they completely encumbered even the most basic of movement (by design??) and also took up an entire washing machine by themselves. The bottoms of the cuffs held a giant triangular pocket that you could literally fit a dog or small child inside. This is in no way meant as a joke, I have really walked around the living room with my nephew in my back pocket. The downside to doing this is that he still calls me Uncle Dressy Pants.
I usually picked up my JNCO’s at the local mall, but that same mall had another shop that peddled slightly more reasonable wares. Pacific Sunwear (also known as “PAC SUN” by all of us sk8r bois) carried a slightly less insane brand, Bullhead. These were a 22″ straight pipe medium density baggy ass jean that allowed for freedom of movement and felt just as home onstage as it did on a skateboard/smashing violently into the lip of the halfpipe. I loved these and I’m still angry that modern incarnation of Bullhead only carries a line of spandex skinny jeans. Just like Southern people, pants also refuse to acknowledge the ghosts of their past.
So you can imagine the sheer amount of calls/texts/DMs/emails/faxes I got when JNCO announced on facebook back in 2019 that they were going to be back with a vengeance just like that genital inflammation of yours. Back in the day, I was the permanent clown prince of populous pantaloons, so everyone I personally know took a minute of their day to let me know that “my look” was going to finally come back into fashion once again. I’m not going to lie; I did find this news exciting and started digging out some of my old favorite pairs of stupidly massive pants and some old glow sticks. But as it turns out, nothing gold can stay- during one of my many moves, I must have gotten rid of my 60″ JNCO Gorillas at some point. This discovery filled my heart with sadness knowing that I could not become the modern fashion icon I was finally able to fulfill. Sometimes when I think about those pants, I hope they are doing okay. I like to think they ended up as a mattress cover or a sailboat sail or something cool like that.
Losing your Gorillas sucks, but in the end, it’s okay because the JNCO revolution/reinvention never really happened. The prices attached to this retro look were laughable, nobody in this day and age wants to shell out $140.00 to look like a walking Godsmack concert. They have already been stripped completely off Amazon and are being offered at a 30% discount directly on their own website. So it’s pretty safe to say this particular fad is already well entrenched in the T.J. Maxx stage of its life cycle. While I haven’t been out in public much in the last uh, two years, I think I have only seen super baggy jeans one time and even I thought they looked kinda weird and out of place while chilling in the waiting room of the plasma donation center.
If you google “JNCO Jeans cool yet?” you will be stuck in a deluge of results that will make you begin to question reality. It would seem that random bloggers have tried to bring this fashion look back to life for the last ten years or so. They have also failed at this for the last ten years or so. 2019 seemed like the best chance for JNCO’s to return to the catwalk, but when they were initially listed at prices of $350, other websites called them out on that shit. They still don’t offer any pants that are ridiculous as Gorilla pipes, which is a shame. If you are already this deep into the bluff, you might as well grab a wheelbarrow full of denim and go all in. As hard as I want it to be a reality, JNCO jeans are still very, very NOT back in style.
Call me a nostalgic old man, but I think that JNCO jeans were a lovely time capsule of the 90’s and a great choice of clothing for guys like me with super skinny chicken legs. My legs matched the rest of my body, but I could at least hide some of my (lack of) build behind a rotund veneer of denim. I strangely miss how the bottoms would get scraggly, ripped and trashed from stepping on them or getting them slightly wet in a puddle. I guess just I miss looking like unfashionable hot mess.
But you have to admit, with my massive pants, I was always prepared at any moment to leap from a plane with my built-in wingsuit.
Teh Ben is a pants anthropologist/pants apologist, but is currently wearing extra breathable mesh shorts at the moment. Follow his fashion mistakes on his YouTube channel, his Instagram, and his JNCO friendly Twitter account. He’s also on Parler too if you are fash.