woman in white jacket and blue denim jeans standing beside brown brick wall during daytime

Why I won’t let go of skinny jeans (No matter what New Gen says)

woman in white jacket and blue denim jeans standing beside brown brick wall during daytime

Fashion has always been a battle between the generations. Teens from TikTok recently decided to put a nail in the proverbial coffin of skinny jeans. You may have heard that Gen Z decided to cancel skinny jeans and asked everyone to throw theirs away to avoid appearing lame. Or worse, you could be old.

Straight-leg, bootcut, and flare denim are back. This is the same type of jeans that was popular in the 1990s when Gen Z was infants being cared for by millennials.

I was born at the intersection of Gen Z and millennial, so I have no idea how to feel about this latest development in the pointless intergenerational conflict. My birthday falls between the two fighting groups. This means that I don’t know which side I must support or identify with. I have always been happy to wear what makes me happy and will continue to do so. This is my position on the issue (and I’m sure many of you will agree).

Do you still wear skinny jeans?

As a style editor, and a skinny-jean-loving millennial/Gen Zer I see major flaws to Z’s quest to change the fit. Fashion is always changing and fashion trends are often reintroduced, but I see skinny jeans not as a fashion trend. I see them as the solution for those who are vertically challenged.

Aren’t you tired of trying to fit into clothes that don’t suit your body?

It’s important to recognize that not all millennials wore skinny jeans. My denim history makes me cringe at 5’2″. My height has always been lower than my peers. The denim gods didn’t help us through our most awkward years. My mom bought me flare jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch when I was in middle school.

Jeans marked “short” and “petite” didn’t look very small on me. My stubby legs were not a good fit for the low-rise, midriff-baring, wide-leg jeans that millennials loved. My excess pant bottoms were a burden and I would walk through the halls carrying them around, and when I returned home the dirt and debris had dried on the ends.

Also, I was limited to wearing my jeans one time before I had to throw them in the washing machine. This is contrary to all the rules regarding laundering denim. The choice was between washing jeans after each wear (which was expensive) and paying out of my pocket to hem my legs to match mine (which again, was costly). The tailor still chuckles at the amount of fabric she had to remove.

After being featured in the Dior Homme autumn/winter collections, skinny jeans were finally made available to the masses in 2005. Although I didn’t think I would love anything so thin and narrow, I tried them on and fell in love. They were too long for my liking, but I was able to fold them down a few inches or scrunch them up at my ankles. I was able to move freely and the tight fit miraculously gave me two inches more leg.

Shortly after, I discovered boots! Wedges! They were easy to see, so I could wear them. Instead of wearing baggy jeans or bootcuts that would hide my shoes, I can now wear any shoe I like, even my favorite toe pumps and my knee-highs. My skinny jeans allowed me to wear pants for the first time.

It took us some time to get there (I’m thinking of you, jeggings), but skinny jeans evolved and matured. They eventually became a wardrobe staple. Skinny jeans brought back high-waisted jeans with laced hems and intricate back-pocket detailing. The denim world is open to unlimited possibilities because of Skinny jeans. They wore loose-fitting jeans that could be worn.

This is all to say that I am a survivor from the low-rise bootcut era and have no plans of returning. Baggy jeans are still popular, even in this age of COVID where loungewear and athflow rule supreme. FYI: I don’t wear skinny jeans while working remotely. However, I think women’s fashion is often too criticised. If you find a style that suits your body, then you should show it off loud and proud, no matter how many TikTokers or young men you pass.

Aren’t you tired of trying to fit into clothes that don’t suit your body?

The skinny jean may be stronger than Gen Z believes, to end the story on a positive note. Chip Bergh, Levi’s chief executive said that he didn’t believe skinny jeans would disappear on the women’s side, despite the clear trend toward looser fitting clothes overall. Emma McClendon (author of Denim: Fashion’s Frontier) also agreed, telling The Guardian recently that “skinny jeans always have a way to bounce back.” They are a versatile and adaptable garment, which can be used in so many cultural contexts that they will never go out of fashion.

Gen Z, here’s your chance. Thank you so much for keeping my skinny jeans. We’ll have some words with you if you decide suddenly that high-waisted jeans don’t look cool anymore.

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