Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Skinny jeans: dead trend or dead gorgeous?

Fashion is a beautiful way of representing who you are and making you feel confident in your own skin. For me, fashion is something that I gravitate towards, mainly because of the freedom it can provide, alongside the accessibility of finding inspiration of how to style the new ‘big baggy jeans’.

Once upon a time, skinny jeans were a staple and default alternative to any other trouser, thanks to icons such as Kate Moss. But this staple item has lost its iconicity in our wardrobes. For example, my data collection of 50 Warwick students shows that 37% of people do not own skinny jeans anymore, and over 26% own them but choose to avoid wearing them.  To replenish the loss of this once fail-safe item, Warwick students would rather choose a mom, straight-leg, flare, or baggy style of jean. In fact, 76% of students surveyed own and wear these fits.

Fashion trends come and go in our lives, but are there some trends that should be abolished for a lifetime? Could that be skinny jeans? After over a year of comfort style, is that leech-like denim going to catch your eye when your trouser options have increased massively? What has shifted this movement away from skin-hugging jeans to loose-fitting jeans?

We should not publicly shame others for wearing clothes that we dislike

Inevitably, the digital transformation that we are experiencing affects every aspect of our lives – especially what is in and out of style. The street-style phenomena have reigned supreme over the last year – mainly due to the growth in social media – meaning that our inspiration of finding the perfect “fit” is seconds away. We can see the reality of how people are making trends fathomable rather than how a style looks in a luxury fashion house.

A pair of balloon jeans paired with a cropped cardigan is much more comfortable and accessible for all body types compared with skin-tight jeans. Although social media has its flaws of challenging us to love ourselves and our bodies, it has perhaps, made us more adventurous to fine-tune our personal style, and become confident in trying new styles. Because of this, brands are offering diverse ranges of denim choices. We can choose a style of jean that suits our style and our lives, rather than a style which needs to be peeled off our legs at the end of the day.

Gen Z seems to have become a manifestation of the collective dislike for skinny jeans. On social media platforms, such as TikTok, there is an accumulation of hatred for the skinny jean – youngsters claiming that pin-thin denim is officially out of style. Whether or not you agree with this view on skinny jeans, some people are skinny jeans purists, who have an underlying love for the trend. We should not publicly shame others for wearing clothes that we dislike.

Over 60% of people surveyed are against wearing skinny jeans

Something that will always direct the movement towards and away from specific styles is, of course, trends. 42% of Warwick students believe that it is mainly trends that diverge us from picking out skinny jeans for our outfit. Celebrities such as Bella Hadid have been styling baggy jeans in a variety of ways – either paired with tailored coats and stilettos or channelling the grungy look with oversized t-shirts and sneakers. An article in Vogue states that “the baggy jean gives any outfit a cool, effortless feel” compared to the “dressed up and streamline effect” skinny jeans give.

Many people dislike skinny jeans because they are uncomfortable and it is difficult to find the perfect size. Despite plus-size women representing 68% of shoppers, plus-size clothing is more often a small percentage of the respective availability and range of styles. Skinny jeans leave little room for body change (which is inevitable for everyone due to many emotional and physical changes) and rarely fit right. Over 60% of people surveyed are against wearing skinny jeans due to the fit never being right, the lack of comfort, and that they are simply too tight.

The fit of clothing is really impactful on how we feel within ourselves, and that often portrays our visual appearance. When I feel comfortable and stylish, I imagine that I portray positive and confident energy compared to days where I’m wearing something uncomfortable. Skinny jeans seemingly reduce body confidence as inferred by several Warwick students. 

As with any trend that circulates, skinny jeans will likely make a comeback

One person said that skinny jeans make them “stress about their stomach, legs and hips” but when they wear straight leg jeans, they are not worried about that “at all”. Others allude to skinny jeans “not filling women with confidence”, “hardly flattering anyone” and it’s difficult for those of us who have “smaller waists and bigger thighs”.

One of the biggest problems that ‘women’s clothes’ offer is having fake pockets on clothes, not having any pockets, or having pockets so small they may as well not be there. An article on The Atlantic states that “women’s pockets are often located near the hip area, where many women would prefer not to attract attention”. This could explain why 82% of Warwick students surveyed would select a mom, flare, baggy, boyfriend, straight or wide-leg style of jean because often these jeans have pockets.

As with any trend that circulates, skinny jeans will likely make a comeback. It is important to note that skinny jeans are the epiphany of a polarised trend, as you either love them or hate them. Whether they are the basis of your everyday style or a style that makes you feel exposed, everyone has their own identity which is perpetrated through their style choices. So rather than looking down at someone for an outfit you couldn’t be seen dead in, value them for being themselves.

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