by KAHLA PRESTON
In the history of fashion, has there been any trend with longevity to rival the skinny jean? This leg-hugging style – favoured by off-duty models, rock stars, hipsters, you name it – has simply refused to die.
But I think it’s time skinny jeans stepped down from the podium for a while.
The modern incarnation of the skinny jean began its World Domination Tour in 2004/2005 – yes, THAT long ago. In the ensuing years countless trends have come and gone and yet this design has retained its stranglehold (quite literally) on legs worldwide. Even more incredibly, men and women have both embraced it with equal fervour.
So how is it that one style of pant, which seems to have as many detractors as it does supporters, could stick around for almost a decade – especially considering the notoriously fickle nature of fashion?
Let’s examine the evidence in favour of skinnies:
1. Celebrity status. Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Russell Brand … the list of celebrities known to regularly rock the skinny jean – and look gorgeous – is endless.
2. They can look really, really, really cool. Skinny jeans look great teamed with a lot of the current fashions – peplums, buttoned shirts, ankle boots. And I don’t know about you but I love skinny jeans and Converse sneakers on men.
3. They’re surprisingly versatile. A nice pair of dark skinnies can pass as office wear. The same can’t be said for many other styles.
4. They’re “democratic”. The Guardian recently documented the staying power of the skinny jean, arguing its appeal lies primarily in its “democratic” design:
For all their bad press about being only for skinny people (admittedly, their name has not helped with this), skinny jeans are in fact benignly elastic and surprisingly democratic, stretching comfortably to include all shapes of bottom and all social groups.
Here’s where I disagree. For many shoppers, the ubiquitous ‘skinny’ cut simply doesn’t suit or doesn’t even physically fit. Many others don’t like the look, or prefer to emphasise a part of their body that isn’t their legs. And yet there are virtually no alternatives available.
Personally, my relationship with skinny jeans has been an unrequited love affair of Eponine and Marius proportions (Les Miserables reference for those who haven’t made it to a cinema yet this year). No matter how adoringly I stare at them, they’re determined to play hard to get (cue me sobbing and singing ‘On My Own’ in a rainy alleyway).