It was the declaration that rocked the fashion world – or at least, the world of denim loving millennials with a deep-rooted loyalty for skin-tight jeans: Gen Z announced via TikTok that the era of skinny leg jeans was over.
It was time for Gen Y to embrace straight leg jeans and other “loose” styles, or be branded irredeemably uncool. Is this true, though? Whilst we’re almost certainly uncool by now, should we be rushing to ditch our calf-hugging denim…? Or is there still some life in those form-fitting pants of yesteryear?
Defining Popular Fashion is Like Filling a Punctured Bucket
Defining what’s “in fashion” is impossible, because sooner or later, you have to start again. The natural ebb and flow of what’s ‘in’ sees new styles and trends introduced, popularised, and then ushered out to make way for the next new thing. Unconsciously or not, we are addicted to reinventing ourselves and separating our identities from those who came before. With that being said, it makes sense that Gen Z is so eager to bury our icons and introduce their own.
Can You Still Buy Skinny Jeans?
For now, yes. In a world of fast fashion, skinny jeans have bucked the trend by staying popular for an unusually long time, owing their long-standing popularity to their ability to flatter most body types and pair well with most outfits. Stores like Myer continue to boast a healthy selection of these still-popular pants. However, more brands are dropping this bygone fad altogether, and shoppers will find a greater range of straight leg jeans to choose from.
Change is Hard, Changing Jeans is Harder
While the prospect of change may seem daunting at first, it can also be liberating. As the body positivity movement grows and women the world over learn to be comfortable with the skin they’re in, ditching the skinny jean makes sense.
Looser fits celebrate the human form in all its wonderful variety, accentuating curves rather than strangling them, and adapting to suit the body they adorn rather than trying to squeeze the wearer into a restrictive, one-size-fits-all mold.
These newer cuts also open up a world of possibility where you can really experiment with your wardrobe and explore your personality outside of rigid conventions and bland, sensible looks.
And When Skinny Jeans Disappear…
Straight cuts offer a conservative option for the modern millennial looking to get with the times and try something new – without the overwhelm of diving straight into baggier styles.
Like their slimmer cousins, straight leg jeans are nearly universally flattering and can be mixed and matched with different outfits, dressed up or down, worn with boots, or even have the cuffs folded up for a more casual feel.
Alongside the straight leg, retro styles such as the flared beauties of the 70s are seeing a contemporary resurgence, as well as ‘mom jeans’ as popularised in the 80s and 90s, and the perennial favourites known as ‘boyfriend jeans.’
The emphasis with each is a relaxed yet stylish fit that lets the wearer move comfortably through their day while still looking fantastic.
Our Verdict: Are Skinny Jeans Really Dead?
Of course, with all that said, there is no doubt that we have yet to see the last of skinny jeans. While their popularity may be declining, there is certainly no skinny-legged shortage at this stage – they will continue to cling to life until the tide of fashion brings some new iteration on the theme back into the limelight. Bootcut jeans never died, they are just there, servicing the loyal few who love cinched in waistbands, and skinny jeans may head down the same path.
So, what should you do in this brave new world of free-flowing denim? We think it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace and explore what works for your body, your personality, and your lifestyle.
If sticking with what you know and love – the enduringly charming skinny jean – is where your heart is heading, then don’t feel you need to hop on the loose fit trend.
However, if you have been waiting for just such a moment to branch out and try something new, and perhaps even something more flattering on you, then let this shift in fashion philosophy give you the courage to start your own wardrobe revolution.
Kate has over a decade of fashion experience, covering everything from catwalk looks to cost effective catalogues. When she isn’t writing about clothes, Kate loves watching bad rom-coms and relaxing on social media.