“About my corpse.”
That was my answer when a colleague told me that Gen-Z had declared that skinny jeans were dead and that my loyal leg covers were now a “cheugy” nightmare.
I was horrified.
How the hell could jeans that have been a staple for several generations just come off? All because a generation – that didn’t even know the struggles of life with pre-skinny jeans – declared that it was.
Clearly, they never knew the pain we millennials endured in 1998 – dragging our long legged jeans across the floor, tearing at the hem and thus encouraging surface water to soak our legs and back. our DC shoes.
They were wrong, and I was determined to show them that. Skinny jeans were the eternal jeans and I wouldn’t give them up.
That was until I was invited to preview a new collection at a grocery store in my 20s and I started running, telling the impeccably dressed fashion shopper to “pick something to try on.”
When she grabbed the wide-legged jeans, I was horrified. It was clearly an act of sabotage and I wouldn’t accept anything.
Determined to laugh at the idea and say “I told you so,” I reluctantly pulled on jeans, folded a thick knit sweater, and turned to the full-length mirror. “DAMMIT!” I looked fantastic.
The jeans fit every curve perfectly and the baggy bottom created a balance I’d long forgotten could be achieved in a pair of pants. I was sold.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one speaking to VIVA’s fashion and creative director Dan Ahwa, who said there’s been a global shift towards wider leg styles.
“Be it the influence of surf and street subcultures from the skate pants and Dickie to the ubiquitous stretchy workout pants that defined the 2020 lockout period, generous pants are where things are,” Ahwa said.
“There’s a relaxed dress code now with what we do and the reality is that not everyone wants to wear a tie or a suit to work now. People can even wear stylish sneakers on the red carpet. like a pair of jeans will be more relaxed.”
From my tipping point, I became something of a skinny jeans rehab coach. Helping friends and colleagues who ask this question: “But what should I wear now?”
The possibilities in this new jeans realm are endless. So here are my top tips, top choices, and the answer to that really tricky question.
the jean transition
The first thing you want when looking to make the change from skinny to straight or baggy is the perfect transitional jeans. The main element of these jeans is that they need to be thin down to the thigh.
This gives you the feel of skinny jeans and the flattering look you’re used to on the thighs, but adds balance to the legs.
O Slim Fit Jeans by Maggie Marilyn offer just that. They fit on the butt and thighs, but have a wider fit below the knee, making them flattering as well as comfortable. A big win in my book.
the baggy jeans
After you’ve graduated from your transitional jeans and felt a little bolder, it’s time to try a wider leg style.
Opt for something with a high waist that girds you. That means your glorious waist will be the focal point.
Of course, this style can be scary if you’re no more than 6 feet tall. But the reward is worth it. Combine this look with a bold boot and tucked-in shirt and you can take it anywhere.
O RE / DONE High Lift Wide Leg are a brilliant option when trying for a wider leg, with Ahwa choosing the recycled brand as one of the best.
A similar version of Glassons they offer that perfect waist strap and are affordable.
the jean designer
Once you’ve found your groove, it’s time to invest in something quality that will last a lifetime. Something that doesn’t go out of style, even when the next generation declares it.
In my opinion, no one makes perfectly-fitting jeans better than the icon that is Anine Bing.
O Sonya Jean it’s a wardrobe essential, in a stiff denim that fits beautifully, and that’s critical when closing in on a new style at a designer price. You need to make the most of this cost-per-use and that’s where Sonya Jeans shines.
Pair them up with a pair of slipper sandals and a t-shirt well-loved in the warmer months. Then put on a large blazer and moccasin in the cooler months. You can’t go wrong.
Bonus Choices: o Annie Bing Kat Jean it perfectly combines the anguished look with an ultra-flattering high waist and will make you feel seriously slippery.
Ahwa recommends Kiwi brands KowTow and Wynn Hamlyn, who have been working to create sustainable denim options.
the jean mother
Mom’s jeans are a staple in my wardrobe and a style I’m constantly praised for.
The style gets a bad reputation because of the name – but if it was good enough for Princess Diana during her classes in the 90s, it’s absolutely good enough for me.
O jean mother it is slightly wider at the thigh and therefore creates a relaxed vibe. They’re perfect with the rolled-up hem and that little styling detail will make you feel more polished.
MUD jeans, which use recycled materials and organic cotton, make some of the best, with the relax rose jean effortlessly hit this style.
Combine with a cozy sweatshirt or put on a tight shirt – this style looks shiny with a lightly cropped blouse, ending where the waistband of the jeans falls.
The tried and tested jeans
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Levi’s 501 Jeans Supreme Kingdom.
The 501 style really stands the test of time and has virtually never gone out of style since its release in the 60s.
They adapt to any body shape and are made to last no matter what you do in them. Vintage Levi’s 501s can be seen in any Gen-Zer worth its salt and are somewhat more expensive than new 501s – the ultimate testament to the perfect jeans.
Are skinny jeans gone forever?
Absolutely not. Skinny jeans have made a comeback in the last 20 years and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
They have the ability to make us feel good when they’re turned on, but they also hate us when we try to pull them along.
Long, straight legs are just having a moment – a rebirth of it. So it’s perfectly normal to get in and out of habit.
Ahwa agrees, saying, “People can wear whatever they like, but there will be much less emphasis on skinny jeans as people prefer to wear less restrictive clothing that doesn’t impede their freedom of movement.
“Skinny jeans were also created by designers and popularized in the mid 2000s for a very specific body type. As the industry becomes less dependent on body size and finally becomes much more inclusive for all bodies, too it’s the need for clothes, like skinny jeans, that represent only a certain type of ideal body shape.”
But skinny jeans have stood the test of time as an eternal style for a generation and, if you choose, you should still feel fantastic because they don’t slip easily inside them.
And don’t let those with less than 30 years of life experience and terrible fads tell you otherwise.