The Goods

Who Would Buy CIE Denim’s $385 Upside-Down Jean Shorts?

Upside-down jean shorts.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos via CIE Denim.

Who Would Buy This Thing? is a series that spotlights particularly egregious commercial objects and tries to imagine who might indeed pay money to own them.

The era of extreme denim is firmly upon us. First, there were the clear-knee mom jeans—and if the idea of a visible sweat fog didn’t deter you, there were the chafing-nightmare-inducing “plastic jeans.” For the rugged Americana lewk, there were Nordstrom’s $400 mud-splattered jeans. There was this crotchless, legless denim … thing. French fashion brand Vetements teamed up with Levi’s to create the cheeky butt-zipper jeans. These Carmar jeans featured “statement cut-outs on front and back” that left nothing but the confusing and hollow shell of a pair of jeans. These increasingly outlandish denim takes would leave anyone feeling a bit unmoored! In fact, maybe it’s that topsy-turvy feeling that inspired the latest interpretation of one of the most dependable staples in our closets.

First spotted by Bloomberg reporter Kim Bhasin, the inverted jean shorts from CIE denim are quite literally an upside-down pair of shorts. The $385 “Nancy” shorts feature a “high-rise, raw hem waste,” and no, that’s not a spelling error you need to email me about—the website copy actually spells “waist” as “waste.” The shorts are “made in NYC out of hand selected vintage denim,” and CIE’s designers apparently heard the large public outcry for pockets on women’s jeans because the Nancy features not two but four pockets. Of course, none of them work since they’re all upside down. Made out of 100 percent cotton light-blue washed denim, the shorts’ hems are adorned with belt loops, which means you’re out of luck if you actually require the use of a belt. CIE specializes in this particular genre of jeans; the similarly priced “El” shorts are the same as the “Nancy” except instead of a “v-back seam,” the “El” features “double-back panels,” a medium-blue wash, and functional back pockets (but still upside down). Wearers insert phones or keys into the pointed part of the pentagon shape that back pockets are normally composed of, rather than the flat part.

If shorts aren’t your thing, but you still want to take part in the upside-down trend, fear not: CIE has you covered. To fulfill your inverted full-length jeans needs there are the “Will,” “Mike,” and “Lucas.” (If for some reason you didn’t notice that all of the pants are upside-down, the heavy-handed referencing of Stranger Things characters should clue you in.) All of the jeans feature a relaxed fit and “belt loops that wrap around the ankle, back pockets up the calf and a waistband made from the original ankle hem” for the low price of $495. Should you need another reason to steer clear of these jeans besides the fact that none of them have pockets and their double-paneling means they look like a denim loincloth sewn onto a pair of jeans, CIE jeans only go up to waist size 30. What a blessing to be among the more than half of American women who wear above a size 10.

Price: $385 for the shorts, $495 for the jeans

Who would buy this thing? Tarzan, after discovering the existence of denim