When I wore skinny jeans back in the ‘80s, they were high in the rise, tight, but without stretch because the fabric technology back then was less advanced. The denim wasn’t that soft either. Sometimes I’d have to roll around on the bed to get them on. They were uncomfortable, especially when I sat down. I remember liking my high rise, pleated, paperbag waist jeans a heck of a lot more because they were roomier all over, although tapered on the legs.
Skinny jeans disappeared when relaxed straight legs, boyfriend styles, and bootcuts became all the rage. About fourteen years ago, they made a comeback. This time round they had a mid or low rise thanks to some ‘90s influence, AND a bit of stretch thanks to evolving fabric technology. Adding 2% spandex to denim was revolutionary, making them instantly more comfortable. After decades of wearing flared and wider jeans silhouettes, skinny jeans were quite the sleek change. I remember resisting them when they made their comeback, thinking this time round that they were unflattering. But before long, I got used to the silhouette all over again. I then wore skinny jeans almost exclusively for a long time.
The skinny jeans that came back fourteen years ago were very different to the skinny jeans of today. As the years went by, skinny jeans became stretchier, softer, higher in the rise, and a lot more snug. They used to create a tailored fit, but now they are more body-con. Many give leggings a run for their money. The skinny jeans of even a decade ago are what we call straight legs today. I’m not sure why skinnies evolved this way, but my guess is it’s part of fashion’s trend towards extreme comfort. Skinny jeans today, although very snug, are comfortable because they are soft and stretchy. They also work well tucked into tall boots.
If you’re after a pair of skinny jeans that aren’t so tight, look for a pair of straight leg jeans with rise measurements that are to your liking. Today’s straight legs will make you feel sleek without the cling on the upper and lower legs. They will look tailored instead of body-con, and be “your skinnies”. Relaxed straight legs are much roomier in the legs and have a ‘90s appeal. They can look equally great, but might not be as sleek as you’d like.
Over to you. What do you think of the evolution of skinny jeans?