The Extinction of Skinny Jeans

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Virtue and Vice

A variety of skinny jeans on display sold in a shop.

Lucy Lu, Photojournalist

Wide leg, cargo, bootcut. All of these are common types of jeans we see everyday. A popular, if not the most worn clothing piece, is jeans. It’s almost as if they’ll never go out of style, as from the 1950s to now, jeans have been a fashionable yet everyday staple in our closets; however, it seems recently that skinny jeans have been decreasing in popularity

How did skinny jeans go out of style? It all started in early 2021 on the popular social media platform TikTok when the younger generation, primarily teenagers tried to “cancel” the type of jeans and many went as far as to say they should be burned. This quickly caught the attention of the older generation and led to people on the app making duets and stitches, also known as reaction videos, defending skinny jeans. This was the beginning of a little generation war on social media where millennials and gen z would go back and forth debating and arguing on topics and opinions. As the trend of hating skinny jeans rose, the popularity of other wider-leg styles grew. This made many wonder if skinny jeans will ever return to their glory.

Skinny jeans became mainstream in the mid-2000s thanks to fashion brands and models like the Dior collections and stunning it-girls such as Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan. Many followed their style as the jeans were tight and showed off their figures. But, as the times have changed, fashion focuses a lot more on body positivity. The trend of showing off your body and dieting that often comes along with hip-hugging clothes is slowly fading away. Teens are gravitating towards more comfortable fashion pieces. For example, we see denim styles like straight-leg, wide, cargo, and mom jeans taking off.

If I were to wear tight bottoms I would just wear leggings instead, skinny jeans are uncomfortable and difficult to change in and out of.”

— Sierra Paz (9)

A simple google search of “women’s jeans” will recommend you all sorts of styles and washes; however, you might not notice that skinny jeans will most likely be missing from the recommended section. The Guardian reported that women’s wide-legged jeans have gone up by 97%. The more comfortable wide-leg styles are also trending as many believe it looks better on a broader spectrum of body types. “If I were to wear tight bottoms I would just wear leggings instead, skinny jeans are uncomfortable and difficult to change in and out of” stated Sierra Paz (9), a student at YLHS. Many teenagers seem to agree with this statement as Lululemon, a popular brand for leggings, is still the number 1 brand with high schoolers even though they sell mostly tight activewear.

As the preference for jeans divides generations, many millennials still choose to stick to the skinny jeans they love and are familiar with. In the end, wearing what you find most comfortable and feel the most confidence in is what’s important. Don’t let trends make you feel like you have to follow a certain style as time has shown over and over again that fashion is a cycle. So, what do you prefer? A classic skinny jean or a wider fit?