I recently started a thread on the YLF forum about how people around my age (45 and a decade in each direction) might be the peak denim wearing generation. It seems that Generation X — people born between the early 1960s and early 1980s —  have made denim a significant part of their style. Of course, I’m speaking very generally and there will always be exceptions. 

Baby Boomers and the generation before that wear jeans less frequently. My late Mum was the perfect example. She never wore blue jeans because she thought that they were too casual for everyday dressing. Yet both her children wore jeans regularly from their twenties onwards, and still do

I’ve also noticed that younger generations don’t wear jeans as regularly as their parents do. Instead they wear athleisure bottoms like leggings, jeggings, shorts, joggers, yoga pants, track pants, combat pants and basketball shorts. All soft fabrics with lots of stretch or ultra roomy fits, and a lot more comfortable and casual than jeans. 

I’m starting to think that the casualization trend started earlier than I thought it did. And maybe it’s really about children dressing more casually than their parents. Gen X dressed down by wearing jeans. And Gen Y is dressing down further by wearing athleisure. Is this about comfort? Being less dressy? Or do teens just want to wear something different to their “uncool” parents? Whatever the reason for the shift, retailers and brands have responded with an explosion of jeans in very soft fabrics and lots of stretch.

I have a denim heavy style, and I prefer traditional, non-stretch denim. Still, I love all the innovation going on in fabrics and I love watching younger generations making fashion their own. And if Gen X does indeed represent peak denim, I think it’s fun that this iconic fabric will be a big part of our generation’s style legacy.