How To Not Fumble Parachute Pants In 2023 (Millennials Will Get The Struggle)

Parachute pants are the nostalgic fashion item that you didn't know you needed in your life. Spotted on celebs like Rihanna, Hailey Bieber, and Bella Hadid, these bottoms have really been experiencing a moment on social media lately. If you're unfamiliar, parachute pants are baggy nylon trousers that typically feature drawstrings at the waist and ankle. Though they're similar to cargo pants, they differ in structure and fabric.

Parachute pants originally became popular in the '80s, with celebrity stylist Cindy Conroy telling The Zoe Report, "The love affair was set aflame later in the ['80s] decade thanks to rapper MC Hammer ... His flashy harem pants and energetic dance moves were the perfect pairing." The bottoms saw a small celebrity resurgence in the '90s and 2000s, being worn by members of TLC, Christina Aguilera, and Jennifer Aniston.

Nowadays, parachute pants have been given a modern makeover, showing up all over social media after being elevated by today's It-girls. With this popularity, you might be wondering the best way to style these bottoms for a modern look. Lucky for you, we have all the outfit inspiration you need.

Pair with a baby tee

Baby tees are another staple of early aughts fashion that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. For the uninitiated, baby tees, also known as tiny tees, are shrunken, form-fitting t-shirts. Because they were popular at a similar time as parachute pants, they serve as the perfect pairing option when creating a Y2K-inspired outfit. Think "big pants little shirt."

A great example of such a combo comes from @unzalicious, who features a baby tee with a checkered sleeve detail and a heart design paired with black bottoms. All-white sneakers, sporty sunglasses, and a netted tote bag round out the rest of the look.

Embrace the baggy

Parachute pants have an undeniable streetwear vibe, which can be embraced by pairing the bottoms with a similarly baggy graphic tee any time of year. As an example, we love the look from @1ianaspam, which consists of navy blue parachute pants and a white t-shirt with a blue graphic design. Sporty sunglasses, statement earrings, and a variety of bracelets serve as the perfect accessories for the ensemble.

When styling your own parachute pants, consider experimenting with comparably oversized silhouettes to play into their billowy design and streetwear feel.

Pick a patchwork pair

You can also style your parachute pants by playing into them as a statement piece. The free-flowing, baggy shape already makes them an eye-catching clothing item, but you can further embrace this by choosing a pair with a patchwork design.

For instance, the Instagram post from @casey.ellana shows off bottoms with different pieces of green rectangles styled with a plain black tank top. Not only is this patchwork design created by being made of recycled materials, which is a sustainability plus, but it also makes the trousers even more of a statement piece.

Wear your favorite bodysuit

The baggy construction of parachute pants creates a balanced contrast with the form-fitting style of body suits. In this way, the pairing creates a really stylish, poised look. We particularly love how this pairing works in the outfit from @nilsyyyyyyy, who pairs a blue and tan body suit with cargo green pants. A super-cropped turtleneck sweater, black Uggs, and a snakeskin bag finish out the look, creating a well-balanced, cohesive fit.

For your own parachute pants outfit, we recommend playing around with contrasting shapes to create an evened, fashionable look.

Go wild with animal print

Combining parachute pants with a bold-printed top is another way to style these trousers. We particularly recommend experimenting with animal prints, as the combo can create a really fun look. For example, we're big fans of how this pairing looks in the Instagram post from @omrie_. This outfit consists of a zebra-printed top with white scrunched parachute pants. Black sandals, a silver purse, and a black hijab round out the entire look.

Even though these bottoms are something of a statement piece by themselves, we still suggest testing out boldly printed tops if you want to create a really fun fit.

Have a minimalist moment

If you'd prefer to let your parachute pants be the star of your outfit, then styling the bottoms in a minimalist fashion is a great option. Because the trousers are such a statement piece, they can work really well with a simple, stylish top.

As an example, the outfit shown off by @jennyxngyn features a black, long-sleeved shirt with green parachute pants and classic Converse sneakers. The overall ensemble is pretty simple, but it works with the billowy, standout design of the bottoms. If you dig this look, feel free to have your own minimalist moment.

Choose a corset-style camisole

We've also seen plenty of parachute pants paired with corset-style tops, which create a super stylish look that can serve as an everyday outfit, or transition to glammed up for a night out. These tops typically feature the structured cups of a traditional corset and sometimes take a rounded V-shape.

We really love how this combo looks in the Instagram post from @destinyxrayne, who keeps their look simple by pairing a black corset top with navy blue bottoms and black and white Nike shoes. For more examples, check out the Instagram pic from @railenelilian and the TikTok from @ayaaaf18.

Experiment with layers

Parachute pants also provide the perfect opportunity to experiment with different layering options. Because of their fun shape, you can create many interesting outfits by playing around with different clothing combinations.

We love how the layers look in the outfit from @hannahmapplethorpe, who wears a mesh top over a black bra to complement their green parachute-style bottoms. A long black coat and a cream sweater are layered next, working well with the color-matched shoes. Overall, the entire look is such a fierce vibe.

Pop off in purple

Similarly to bold prints, bright colors can also be used to put together fun parachute pants outfits. We particularly love the bright purple color in this ensemble from @chahat_saraogi. In this look, a purple waistband peaks out from their beige bottoms while a purple netted top, similarly colored bucket hat, and pastel-accented sneakers bring the rest of the color to the fit.

If you're looking for more colorful looks featuring parachute pants, check out the posts from @baileymcwhinnie and @mai_cqp. Otherwise, don't be afraid to feature bright hues in your own outfit.

Style a sweater off the shoulder

If you're dressing for weather that's a little cooler, sweaters can go really well with parachute pants. There's lots of different styles of sweaters, from ribbed and cable knit to turtleneck and cardigans, so you have plenty of room to experiment.

We particularly like the off-the-shoulder styling featured in the TikTok from @aliciamarieee. For this outfit, a cream-colored sweater is paired with brown parachute pants. All-white sneakers, a black cross-body bag, and a clipped updo make up the rest of the look, creating a cozy and stylish feel.