We can trace the born-again origin of the trend to one singular moment in recent fashion history: When Conseulo Castiglioni sent down a pair of black stirrup pants down the Marni fall 2016 runway during Milan Fashion Week. And then we saw it again at Demna Gvasalia’s debut for Balenciaga a week later in Paris. Hold up, stirrups?! we wondered, dubiously. Is the ’80s workout staple really about to make a comeback?
Sure enough, it has. But to understand stirrups and how it’s worn today, it’s important to acknowledge how it was first conceived—as horse-riding breeches at the turn of the 20th century. Identified by the strap underneath the foot, stirrups were designed to hold the pant in place, which fast forward a few decades, proved to be great for dancers (and faux dancers—who remembers Dancercise?!) in the ’80s. And while leggings lived on, stirrups faded into irrelevancy. Until now.
So how is it styled in the year 2016? If the street-style stars have anything to say about it, stirrups are completely superfluous, not serving any other function than to garner as many likes or paparazzi snaps as possible. They’re worn neither as workout wear nor as an equestrian-riding essential. Paired with pumps (worn with the straps either tucked inside the shoe or around it—both, it seems, are OK), acceptable stirrup-centric looks revolve around impeccable menswear tailoring, standout embellishments, and contemporary shapes. Scroll through for a look at street-style examples to see what we’re talking about, and then shop a few of our favorite stirrup pants to get the look yourself.