Intense competition for jobs has finally persuaded many young men to abandon the legendary, low slung ‘cheeky’ urban style favoured by celebrities such as Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Justin Beiber and Dappy from N-Dubz.

Instead, smart, casual, waist-hugging trousers, worn as they were intended, are now the order of the day, says fashion store Debenhams. Debenhams spokesman Ed Watson said: “The recession has forced everyone to tighten their belts – an adjustment which has moved young men’s trousers back to their rightful position on the waist.”

“After fifteen, long, shapeless years, the age of trousers worn below the hips are finally over. At last, grannies can go shopping without having to be surrounded by lads’ underpants.”

Fears of being unable to find work and intense competition for available jobs is driving the sudden switch, Debenhams’ research suggests. Young men know they have to look smart and presentable when they turn up for interviews, and later when working in offices and factories. Sales of Debenhams’ smart causal trousers for young men have jumped by 108 per cent since the recession began, with the majority of its rising occurring over the last 18 months.

Many of the styles are now slim-fit, designed to hug the waist, making it virtually impossible or extremely uncomfortable to wear them across or below the buttocks.

Demand for smart shirts, suits, ties and shoes have also risen substantially. Watson explained: “Mature men have always known that looking good is a vital if you want to be taken seriously at work and have a rewarding and successful career.”

“The age old advice to ‘dress, not for the job you have but for the one you want to have’ is based on solid experience. Yet for the last fifteen years, this simple mantra seems to have passed many young people by – much to the frustration of their parents. Now, once again we are seeing that, in times of hardship, the nation’s dress sense increases dramatically because looking good suddenly becomes essential.”

The fashion for young men to wear trousers across or even below their buttocks first became extremely popular in the early 1990s.

Experts say it comes from prison culture. Inmates in American jails are not allowed to wear belts, and so their trousers are often baggy and hang very low on the waist.

The style was taken up by gangs, before spreading quickly into mainstream music culture and so into youth culture.

Debenhams menswear is available in all stores nationwide and online.

Georgina Heffernan