Gone are the days when ‘jeans and a nice top’ meant skinny jeans, most likely black, or maybe – if you’re particularly indie – ripped. Nowadays, you’d be wise to question, “Mom jeans? Flares? Bootlegs?”. Video may have killed the radio star, but wide-leg killed the skinny jean.
Okay, so maybe “killed” is too far. After all, skinny jeans are still a staple of any young woman’s wardrobe. “They go with everything!” and “They accentuate my curves!” are classic epithets that you’ll hear many a woman proclaim. Yet it’s certain that skinny jeans aren’t as necessary as they used to be. Indeed, Mo Riach, head of design at Topshop, told Drapers: “We are finding our customers want more variety in terms of fit. There’s definitely still a place for the skinny jean, but it’s no longer enough to have just one silhouette in your wardrobe.”
Nick Eley, head of design at ASOS, concurs. “Our customer still loves our hero styles such as the Asos Design Ridley skinny jean and our ASOS Design Farleigh slim mom jean, but we are seeing more and more sales coming through from wider-leg silhouettes and straight legs.” Nor does this seem to be something solely affecting the womenswear market, as Joel Clark, junior menswear buyer at BohooMan, told Drapers: “We can sell a core black jean day in, day out, but the customer is really looking for styles that stand out from the rest of the market.”
A few months ago, I found myself and a group of friends having a highly-fuelled debate about whether Joni or Jamie Topshop jeans were better. But, in retrospect, how often do any of us justify wearing our Joni and Jamie skinny jeans when we want to create a distinct and fashionable outfit? In the fight between Joni and Jamie jeans, Topshop introduced another competitor into the ring: the Mom jean. Classically edgy, and undoubtedly much more comfortable than skinny jeans, the Mom jean offered a valiant attempt at revamping tired-out wardrobes.
Yet even more powerful is the recent revival of the flared jeans. They offer all the tightness of skinny jeans around the bottom, allowing you to show off your favourite asset, whilst offering an edginess and fashion-forward look under the knee. However, this isn’t just my opinion, as it would seem that the world of twitter agrees. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I have seen on more than one occasion a meme featuring an out-of-breath SpongeBob SquarePants, used by Twitter users to express their disgruntlement towards the tightness of skinny jeans. In short, the skinny jean experience is thus: a battle to put on, hopping from leg to leg; and a war to take off, after having eaten during the day.
All this talk of jeans, but what about trousers? I find myself, and those around me, turning more and more to trousers, in any fabric: cotton, velvet, suede. When you’re going out for a meal and you know a food baby is looming, skinny jeans just don’t make the cut. Who wants people to think you’re pregnant when you’ve actually just enjoyed a good burger and fries? What’s more, there is nothing quite like a vertical striped trouser to create the illusion of model-legs, and undoubtedly a pair of statement velvet trousers act more like the ‘nice top’ than the actual top in the classic ‘jeans and a nice top’ combination.
So there you go, I’ve said it: I don’t find skinny jeans as necessary anymore, and I don’t think many other young women do either. Yes, I may wear them a lot, but when I love my outfits, I find it’s not when I’m wearing skinny jeans: maybe it’s because they have simply become ‘too ordinary’. So long live the skinny jean, and never forget I do love you, but I’m glad my options are widening and that I don’t need you like I used to.