Baggy clothes are a fairly consistent fashion trend, but parachute pants took the fad to a whole new extreme. Popularized by M.C. Hammer in his famous video, “Can’t Touch This”, their loose-fitting design allowed the rapper to twirl about constantly without danger of friction. They were kind of like the pants worn by Barbara Eden on ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, if you were to make them even more garish and expand the sides by about fifteen inches. Parachute pants also weren’t just a clever name – if you were to accidentally tumble out of a plane at 30,000 feet, they would automatically inflate and float you safely down to the ground.
If the pants had remained on MTV, then maybe everything would have been all right. They would have faded from people’s memory, and this dark chapter in our nation’s history could have eventually been put behind us. Fashion outlets began offering the puffy leggings for sale, though, giving schoolchildren everywhere the chance to dress like a man who would blow through $20 million in less than a decade. It didn’t matter that you needed to be an 800 pound Leviathan to actually fill out the pants, they were the latest thing, and as time has repeatedly shown, that’s all that’s required for a style to succeed.