Reader Request: Skinny Jeans and Trend Queens

Reader Angeline popped this one into the Suggestion Box:

I need to talk about skinny jeans. They are everywhere. To top it off, I just read a blog that said boot cuts are so totally out. I’m beyond perplexed. Should and do people wear skinnies regardless of their size and shape and it’s okay? Skinnies aren’t particular flattering to me but I feel lost. I guess perhaps I’m looking for a post about following die hard fashion trends and how to make them work for you. Sigh.

So, let’s start with the skinnies: I whipped up an abbreviated guide to jeans back in 2009, and some of what I wrote back then still holds true now. I talked about how the denim standard gradually shifted to a slim silhouette, and that initially many folks declared that skinnies ONLY looked good on slim women. But the market eventually adjusted to encompass more body types, and more sizes and styles of skinny jeans are now available. If you are inclined to explore slim denim, you should be aware that there are options for everyone out there. Skinnies can be purchased with lots of stretch, the gamut of sizes is available, jeggings are a great option, and straight legs can work for women with curves who don’t want a super-tight fit. Before you dismiss these styles out-of-hand, slip on a pair at your local department store. There’s no one in that dressing room but you, and it doesn’t hurt to try.

Furthermore, you can style your skinnies however you’d like! Slim-fitting denim not only comes in a wide variety of styles, but it can be worn in wide variety of ways. If you aren’t comfortable wearing skinny jeans as they’re worn by celebs, then don’t. Find your own way, and embrace it.

As for bootcuts being “totally out,” to that I say BAH. HUMBUG! OK, maybe humbug is going a bit far but honestly, friends, let’s talk turkey. Very, very few items of clothing are going to go “out” the way they used to. Even celebrities – those walking barometers of fashion – have worn “hot” items long after the initial hubbub has died down, and even after the rest of the fashion world has moved on. My observation of the market over the past five or six years has led me to believe that trends have much longer shelf lives than they once did, and that there is far more leeway for wearing something after its peak popularity. And I absolutely love that because it means that our purchases will steadily lower their cost per use.

Additionally, my guess is that skinny jeans have been inducted into “classic” status by now. Maybe 15 years down the line skinnies will have vanished entirely, but I doubt it. They’ve been manufactured and worn for such a very long time and adapted to fit with such an enormous variety of styles and sizes that I believe they’re here to stay. Bootcuts, to my knowledge, have been deemed classic by just about every style expert worth her salt. They’re widely believed to be almost universally flattering, and were made by the premium companies and worn by the masses all through the height of the skinny craze, and now beyond.

I encourage you all to play with and explore trends because they are a FABULOUS way to expand your stylistic horizons and keep your look current. But do not let them rule your life, or dictate the items you purchase and wear. Anyone who declares that what you’re wearing is “out” – especially if it has just gone “out” – wants to sell you something new. And while it’s a good idea to be aware of market changes, new shapes and styles, and what the cool kids are wearing, it’s a bad idea to let the fluctuations of trends make you feel inferior or excluded. Just about any garment can look current and fashionable if styled well, so, in a sense, everything is always in style.

Image courtesy Gap

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Originally posted 2011-05-19 06:36:11.

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80 Responses to “Reader Request: Skinny Jeans and Trend Queens”

  1. Allie

    I have one pair of jeggings but I always feel foolish in them and pair them with tall boots, long sweater jackets, and treat them more like leggings. Other than that, I am still a bootcut and straight leg gal and always will be. I think it’s more important to wear that which is flattering than that which is trendy. Rock the bootcuts!

  2. Kylara7

    I have a variety of denim colors and cuts that I wear continuously, mostly because my workplace is uber-casual and I live in jeans. Honestly, my favorite cut is straight-legged but I have bootcuts and skinnies in the rotation as well. Like Sal, I prefer to wear the skinnier jeans with longer tops and tunics or with a longer light sweater over and I adore leggings under dresses and skirts so I feel like skinny jeans are sort of an in-between for pants vs. leggings.

    However, I am a little annoyed that the skinny trend is getting more extreme to the point where the last couple of pairs of skinny jeans I tried on got stuck at my calves…my CALVES, for the love of cheese! My calves are shapely but average size, not huge and not small so I feel this is a “the clothes are wrong, not me” situation. Similarly, the last couple of pairs of “straight” jeans I’ve tried on have had a distinct taper to them and were not straight-legged. It’s like the cut is getting to be just like women’s sizing…meaningless so you have to try on every damned thing and that is one big reason I do not like shopping and do it under duress.

    On a more positive note, I am thrilled to have found a store here in Canada that carries *gasp* clothes that I like, that fit me and my style, and fit my budget range. Classics-inspired looks for grownups who fall in that “not a teenager, not a matron” category. 🙂

    • Jak

      One way to test the cut of the leg to see if it tapers instead of being properly straight is to fold the bottom up to the knee. If it’s narrower then it’s tapered. It saves you time in the dressing room.

      • Kylara7

        Brilliant…I am definitely going to use that to avoid the dressing room (my least favorite part of shopping…hate trying on clothes). One of the reasons (besides saving $) that I adore thrifting is that I can try things on in the aisles 🙂

    • JennyDC

      The sticking-on-calves thing – yes! I never have trouble with knee high boots, but several times have had trouble getting skinny jeans over my calves. I don’t really care, because skinnies do not suit me so well. Straights, yes, skinnies, no.

  3. laura

    I am a curvier gal, and I’ve found that slim-cut straight leg styles in a uniform dark wash give me a “skinny” look and still flatter my figure. I think the straight leg balances my curves more than a tighter, tapered leg would. Have you tried this style?

    Also, Angeline, flares and trouser-cut jeans are EVERYWHERE right now. I’m pretty sure these cuts are almost — if not more — flattering than our beloved boot cuts in many situations, especially when paired with a more slim-fitting, curve skimming top.

    Thanks for tackling denim here, Sal! It’s a uniform wardrobe staple that still totally baffles a lot of people. You’re a genius.

  4. Stephanie

    At the moment all my jeans are boot cut. I had some jeggings but they got a hole that made them unwearable. I think I’m going to get brave and try to figure out jeans sewing this winter. I tend to need a larger size in the waist then I do in the hips so this may be the only way to get a pair that really fits. If I do I’ll likely try skinnies as well. I like the look from the legs down but have not found a pair with enough rise for my belly yet.

  5. Susannah

    My feelings are that it is easier to look trendy or fashionable in skinny jeans. Practically any top and shoes can be paired with skinny jeans and an instantly relaxed but fashionable outfit is created.

    But I definitely think it is possible to create great outfits with bootcut or flared jeans. It simply requires more thought about the proportions of the top, where it hits, and how fashionable the top is. On days when I want to wear flared or bootcut jeans I give myself a little bit more time to come up with an outfit.

    • guest

      I agree with this. I also like skinny jeans because I feel I can still look “fashionable” while wearing cute flats with them, whereas flats always look casual with bootcuts or other styles. Something about how skinny jeans show off the shoes more maybe…

  6. Stacybeads

    I make a lot of my own clothes, so I’m able to combat some trends (like if I’m craving a skirt in a certain color, and skirts that color are nowhere to be found that season), but jeans are tough. Can’t make my own jeans and have no desire to learn how. Actually I need some new ones and am dreading shopping for them because I’m afraid skinnies will be all I can find. Haven’t tried them, so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but mostly I expect to look and feel like a sausage in them.

  7. Pam @over50feeling40

    I am now a size 16 and I have a pair of jeggings that I love!! I never thought in a million years I could pull over a skinny denim while over 50!! I get compliments every time I wear them and when I look in the mirror, I smile. Sometimes we just have to go out of our comfort zone and try a look BEFORE we decide that it won’t work for us. I would wear mine every day if I could….it doesn’t work for everyone…but suprisingly it is working for me.

  8. B. in the Know

    I love my skinnies and am not ready to part with them, which lucky for me (and really so many others who feel the same way) they have stood the test of time thus far and seem to be on their way to the classic realm, in not already there. Even as 70’s wide legs are everywhere in trend-city, you still see great fashion icons looking fabulous in their skinnies – leading me to say no one needs to part with them anytime soon.

    I am a fan of trying trends out – but I try to find ways to work them into my own personal style so i do not lose myself and conform to ever latest and greatest trend. With that, sometimes I have to pass on a trend, but most the time I am at least willing to give it a go.

    Much love,

  9. Izabela

    I love jeans and I own multiple pairs — I try to have a variety of them in different washes and cuts. However, the skinny jean (I mean, the truly skinny that hugs you all the way down to your ankles) has never fit me, ever. I’m 22 and wear a size 4 or 6, waist size 28 (pretty average,really) but the skinny jean was not made for my “shapely” calves. They get stuck on my calves. So I’ve passed on the trend. But as I said I try to explore the cuts and washes when it comes to denim, so I own straight legs, bootcuts, flares, super-wide legs, and whatever else. I don’t ever feel that I’m bogged down by a trend and that I shouldn’t wear my flared jeans when they’re not “trendy” b/c I feel that that is kind of ridiculous. But I do think that these different cuts and washes are best apired with certain other clothes, or worn during certain seasons — I wouldn’t wear my light wash torn flares in the dead of winter.

    Great topic Sal!

  10. Nicole

    I only wear skinny jeans because I don’t like how bootcut jeans or flare cut drag on the ground, get all chewed up in the back or wet in the winter. That looks far worse than having my big thighs and wide hips on display. The trick I found is to avoid low and especially ultra low rise jeans. Anything that comes up around my hips and covers the “muffin top” region I find to be really comfortable and makes me look really tall–especially because the cut shows off tiny ankles rather than a big swathe of fabric.

  11. Katharine

    Well, first off, I am old, and when I was in high school in the 80s, the Kids Those Days (or at least, the cool kids) were wearing skinny jeans just as legging-like as the ones of today, with the added bonus of waistlines that came up well over the navel, and no stretch denim. (Nobody else remembers that one girl who told everybody how she’d buy her new jeans and then lie in a bathtub full of water wearing them, and allow them to shrink to her every curve?) And then they went out, and completely vanished for years, and now they’re back.

    I do think the skinny is probably nearing the end of its course in the spotlight of fashion; they ARE difficult for heavy or curvier women (just like the vast majority of really trendy items, let’s be honest here) — difficult to fit, and difficult to wear if you do not want the general populace to know every detail of your anatomy. I’m certainly hoping that the bleeding edge doesn’t succeed in foisting off their current favourite replacement, the (dear sweet heavens) high-waisted pleated baggy, because (again, I am old, I’ve been there) if there is any silhouette I just absolutely CANNOT pull off no matter what I do, that, along with drop waist dresses, is at the top of the list.

    That said, although I am probably the kind of body type that 30 Helens would agree should best avoid the skinny, I do wear them, quite a lot, and have developed quite a fondness for my collection of J Brands (for the short-waisted and butt-curvy, I highly recommend them). I do style them different ways, although almost all of those ways involve some kind of coverage to below the top of the thigh. I find them physically very comfortable, and a good way to balance use of oversized, flowing or boxy items on top.

    I don’t know if I’d say I feel “oppressed by trends” that much any more (although the parades of very very young girls wearing stupid things like semi-transparent leggings, or better yet, pyjama bottoms, out in public with their Uggs DEpress me a bit, and I’m also really tired of every second top in stores being one of those dreary waterfall-front cardigans — speaking of trends that can be over any time now as far as I’m concerned). I mean, I’m not in high school now. No one is mocking my choices, and I have a nice selection of my own resources to choose from. I feel as though I can pick and choose from what’s available to me, and combine them in ways that I enjoy rather than the way “everyone” thinks they should be.

    • Lisa W.

      Hey, I’m an oldster like you, Katharine! And I remember those 80s trends and agree that the pleated jeans and drop-waist dresses can stay gone! I have a photo of myself in skinny jeans of old and I don’t think I looked great in them then, and that was 20 odd years ago! I am currently working at losing some weight, so perhaps I will try the “new” ones out, as I am a fan of the longish or tunic top and either flats or boots.

    • T.

      Hey, I’m another golden oldie who was a teen in the 80s. I wore jeans so tight they had zippers at the ankles so I could get them on and off. And I do remember that urban legend about some girl wearing jeans in the bathtub to shrink them to size! Back then our pants were so tight we had to lie down to zip them up.

      I wear skinnies now because I love the boots-over-jeans look, but always with a longer shirt or sweater. I will never ever wear pleat-front pants again, because my belly is not flat like it was once upon a time. I will, however, do a joyful dance in the streets if high-waisted jeans come back in style.

    • JennyDC

      Old here, too! Nothing like jeans that double as corsets. I had the zip leg jeans, too – loved them!

      • Terri

        I was a teenager in the 80s, too! I had all kinds of skinny jeans then, but the pair that stick out in my mind the most were the super-duper skinny pink ones I got at Merry-Go-Round.

  12. Lili @ Relatable Style

    When skinnies first entered the fashion stage, I was horrified. I thought they only flattered a handful of people, although everybody wore them. I guess there are styles that fit non-stick-thin people by now, but I’ve rarely seen those people look for them… They rather stick with the trend, hoping it will look ok (which it doesn’t mostly). So I agree that almost everyone can make that work for themselves, but most people just don’t. But that is not our concern, as we are style savvy people 🙂 … BUT I haven’t tried to style them to my advantage either. I tried them on, saw how fat they made my hips and thighs look (and I’m built very evenly throughout my whole body… so how mean is that??) and shunned them. Yes, I do not own one single pair of skinnies. The time they were hip, I turned to skirts and boots instead and almost made them my new uniform. And I wore the bootcuts I had from before. I think it is way more important to flatter your body than to follow any trend. Of course, jeans as we wore them in the 90ies may look outdated now (and probably washed out), but it’s the whole thing that looks outdated, not only the silhouette. Wear the silhouette in a more current (or timeless) color or wash and everything is fine.
    And I think it is beyond stupid to say they are “out”. Today, you can wear anything, really, which can be both exciting and overwhelming 🙂 But on the other hand, it isn’t true! Bootcuts and FLARE PANTS are making a huge comeback right now, and I couldn’t be happier. I made it through the skinnies time alive and clothed. Skinnies may stay, I don’t care as long as they are willing to share they spotlight with more universally flattering pants.
    Oh, and guess what? I’m typing this wearing my brand spanking new flare pants, which I’ve looked for all spring already (and already got complimented on, too!) 🙂

  13. Cynthia

    Having grown up in the bell-bottom 70s and then the 80s, when tapered denim with pleats (pleats, for the love of god) was in style, and you couldn’t get a pair of normal straight-leg jeans anywhere (unless you were a skinny girl that could wear boys Levis) I have a deep mistrust of denim trends. I wore denim leggings for about 15 minutes in the late 80s, but then switched over to men’s jeans and wore man pants low on my hips — until the boot cut trend hit. When skinny jeans came back in I was sure my beloved and flattering boot cuts would disappear. Thankfully they did not. I have contemplated getting one pair of skinny jeans to wear with my many boots, but it’s not a trend that I am enthusiastic about.

  14. eek

    I remember when skinny jeans first became popular – as a woman with muscular legs I thought I would never wear them, until a salesgirl showed me an amazing pair. And now I am used to its silhouette, although I still think bootcut jeans in general are more universally flattering.

    I agree with you – these days, almost anything goes. Or I should say, anything you want can go – I think wearing what you feel good in beats any trends.

  15. Bubu

    I was skeptical of skinnies for a long time, but found the Gap Real Straight worked great – and are a great option for wearing with knee high boots or flats. I definitely wear then with longer shirts or cardigans, but really like having the alternate shape available. I still have trouser and bootcuts, but sometimes just less fabric at the bottom there feels neater. I am very short and hour-glassy and definitely resisted skinnies for a long time, but these work very well (thought I’ve tried on real skinnies and they are not good on me at all…)

  16. Rachel

    This is the first comment I’ve made on your blog and I just wanted to say how refreshing your voice is. I love your attitude of self appreciation and fulfillment. I love the style advice and pictures. Thanks for sharing yourself, you’ve got a new fan 🙂

    Also: Yay Team Bootcut! I couldn’t live without them.

  17. Iona K

    I resisted skinnies for a long time but finally got a pair when I realised that they are a great way to wear tall boots. I definitely wear longer/looser tops with them too. I have not worn skinnies with any other kind of shoe as my broad shoulders make me look like a clothes hanger on a pair of toothpicks – boots have the heft to balance them out. For this reason I think bootcut or flare are more flattering to me as they also give a bit of balance to a wider top half. As I live in jeans I’m glad to see so many styles around – lots of options!

    Cynthia’s comment made me laugh – I was that girl who wore boy’s Levis; nice straight legs worn low on the hip. My Mum was mad that I spent so much money on a pair of jeans (Levis were pricey in the UK). I LOVED them and wore them to death, patched them up and wore them some more.

  18. FutureLint

    I don’t think I’ve ever worn truly skinny jeans on their own. I have one pair that’s pretty snug the whole way down but I only wear them tucked into boots in winter. I have another pair that’s tight through the calves, but then they are more relaxed at the ankle (I guess a bit of a skinny/bootcut hybrid) because I just don’t want things that tight around my ankles! I agree on trends sticking around longer, especially with pants. You can wear anything from skinny to flare to cargo to harem and no one will immediately think “those are out of style.” So embrace this freedom and wear your bootcuts if that’s what you’re comfortable in!

  19. Colleen

    I do not wear skinny jeans but not for lack of trying. My hips are either too thin or my calves are too large. They do not go together. One day I played around and learned if I try on 2 sizes too big then my calves will fit into the pants. I do love boot cut. they are super flattering on me. Do you have suggestions for any brands that might be helpful?

    • Sal

      Colleen, if you typically need to size up two full sizes to make skinnies work, maybe straight legs are a better option. I’m a HUGE fan of Talbots denim, and aside from my jeggings, wear them almost exclusively. I wear the Heritage rise straight legs. They rock!

  20. elbee

    I like skinnies, but I loathe shopping for them. All the popular brands are made for thinner women, and as someone with larger thighs and a teensy bit shorter than average height, nothing fits right. I don’t mind hemming my pants, but trying on every pair in existence to figure out which ones will fit my butt and thigh areas without showing my buttcrack just gets tiring after a while! 😛

    I used to wear bootcuts a lot in high school, but now I wear straight legs a lot more. I like that they are, well, straight up and down! Plus I don’t feel I need to wear heels all the time (bootcuts make me look shorter/stumpier) to balance out my thighs with the bottom of bootcuts.

  21. Cel

    I’ve only ever owned one pair of skinny jeans, and I actually loved them. My only issue with them is they seem to be made for women with practically non-existent calves and weirdly enough, getting my calves into the pants was the hardest part. I’d still have them except I went down 4 pant sizes since I bought them hah, not to mention I no longer really wear pants.

  22. Rebecca

    When skinnies first came out, I hated them. Now I can’t stand the look of anything else on me. I find this funny, as I usually eschew trends and just wear what flatters me. (I rarely wear jeans, as I much prefer skirts and dresses on me. I think if I could find skinnies with high waists I would wear jeans more often.) I will say that I only wear skinnies with tall boots. I don’t know why, but I feel that this balances me out. I have full hips and thighs and a very voluptuous bum, and if I wear skinnies with flats, I feel like it emphasizes the large and makes me look silly. When I balance it out with tall boots, I feel like it makes my legs look leaner. I don’t tend to wear longer or bigger tops with them–I think this makes me look top-heavy. (I like to rock my hourglass figure!) I did just get some straight leg dark denim pants from Land’s End that I like with flats.

    • Kelli

      Hey, try these jeans! I have an hourglass figure too, large breasts, large hips & butt, but tiny waist, & these jeans are magical on me!
      The price is amazing, too. I have 2 pairs of skinny jeans from them & love both. They aren’t sold in any stores close to me so I had to take a leap of faith & order them online, but I was so glad that I did!

      • Rebecca

        Kelli, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely give those a try. I have never in my life found a pair of jeans that fits my bum and thighs without at least three inches of space at the waistband. These sound about right!

  23. Ann V

    I have completely sat the skinny jean trend out. I wear boot cuts, flares and trouser cuts, and it doesn’t seem to have affected my personal or professional life at all, so it can be done. I’ve seen more than a few fashion bloggers wearing wider legs like the Gap Long and Lean jeans lately which makes me feel like my persistence is paying off!

    I don’t wear skinny jeans and pants because they’re simply less flattering on me. I have full hips and thighs, which makes styling them a challenge. I have foot problems, and my chunky shoes look silly with slimmer pants. I can’t wear them tucked into boots because I have big calves. I’m sure there’s *something* I could do to style them and make them work, but why bother changing so much about my personal style just and wear something less flattering to conform to a trend?

    • malevolent andrea

      This is my main problem with skinny jeans or pants, which I do wear. Footwear. They only look good tucked into boots, with ballet flats, or with flat sandals. With any other footwear they look ridiculous on me. Bootcut, wide legged, or true straight legs go with so many more shoe choices.

      • Kylara7

        I agree 100%! And I just don’t get enough arch support in ballet flats so it’s only sandals in summer and that is limiting. I do love the skinnies tucked into high boots in fall and winter though…

  24. Loren

    I’m a big fan of at least trying trends. There are plenty that I have passed on but I’m a pretty big fan of the skinny jean. I’m short and sort of pear shaped, I’m usually a size 0-2 but my hips are proportionally larger than the rest of me. Once I found a brand I could fit over my butt, that didn’t give me a muffin top, or have a huge gap in the back then I really fell in love (They were from the Gap). Also I’m a big fan of boots, which skinnies look great tucked into.
    I think it’s all in the fit, you might try the slightly tapered look if that makes you feel ‘hip’. But if you can’t find a pair of skinnies that you are comfortable in, or if you think they aren’t flattering skip the trend and rock your boot cuts proudly.

  25. Peggy

    As Ann V above, I too have sat the skinny jean trend out. Not because I couldn’t wear them, I personally just don’t like them at all. They don’t look quite right on anyone… but then I am a boot-cut style wearer. If someone is thin they tend to make them look all angular and too thin, if someone is large they just aren’t flattering. I have tried them on though and they make me feel claustiphobic! I am about style, but I’m a lot about comfort too. And, seeing them on guys~ ewww!

  26. Dianne

    I live in jeans! I am also ‘really’ old (graduated high-school in 1970), and was in the first wave of ‘wearing jeans to school’ in my rural community. In elementary school we wore cotton pants (corduroy in winter), and ‘stretchies’ (resurrected as ‘stirrup pants’, later) in grades 7 & 8. In high-school (bigger town, an hour bus-ride away), the ‘cool’ (read town) kids wore ‘Lee’ jeans. I wore whatever bargain-priced jeans I could convince my mother to let me wear; she was of the opinion that jeans were for farm work, NOT suitable for school. On a 4H exchange trip to Montana in summer 1970, I purchased my first ‘real’ jeans, ‘shrink-to fit’ Levis, which I wore to death. Since than I have tried various brands and styles, and now prefer dark-wash, straight or skinny leg, mid-rise jeans in a fairly tight fit. They suit my short, rectangular torso (rather undefined waist) and long legs. I can tuck them into high boots, or cuff them up above my ankles. I can dress them up or down. But I do find it difficult to find the right fit in the right colour, without ‘whiskering’, fake wear-fading on thighs and butt, outrageous flaps on rear pockets. I agree that one must try on many options, to (hopefully) find one that works, and then one must hope that that particular style is not discontinued. (When I find one that I like I buy at least two pairs!)

    • Kylara7

      I also abhore the “whiskering” (insert feline-themed body part joke here) and wish it would go away….totally ruins the smooth line of a nice pair of jeans and calls attention to an area I would rather not 😛

  27. Maythe

    It took me a good while to try skinny jeans but now I love them, especially with knee boots. I don’t fancy wearing them in the warm weather though and I still love my fave skinny flares and bootcuts. I have the opposite problem to others… I find most on sale aren’t skinny through the knee right down to the ankle on me. I guess I should try jeggings but I’ve only just reconciled myself to leggings, and even then just in the house!

  28. style odyssey

    the only jeans i’ll wear are skinnies. i’ve learned that the narrower the cut, the better they are for my frame. i don’t like them sausage-tight, however!
    i guess both skinny and bootcuts are classics by now.

  29. Rad

    I love skinny jeans, much more so then boot cuts or wide legged jeans. Mostly because skinny jeans work best with flats, whereas bootcuts and wider jeans work better with a chunkier/taller shoe. (I think skinny jeans look good with heels, too). I do like these kinds of shoes, but since I am now in a walk everywhere, public transit dominated city, they just aren’t practical. I’m not a leggy waif myself, and I had to be strongly encouraged by friends in 2006 to consider skinny jeans. Then I went to London and everyone was wearing them with flat boots, and I got used to the silhouette.
    I read somewhere (blogs, likely) that skinnies were on their way “out” and that wider legs were the new silhouette, but thankfully, I see they are still widely available.

  30. patni

    I love a skinny jean. About 5 years ago i was scared. At that time I worked in a big consignment store, and we tried everything on. My go to judge for jeans was a gay lady. I figured she knew fashion and could tell if my butt looked good. She talked me into the skinny ones. I said but they make my butt look enormous. she laughed and said she liked butts and liked it when they showed. That made sense to me.

    I like the skinny because I am a little short, and i feel that the big flares and boot cuts can make me look short and short legged, because the flare out comes in the wrong place. Instead of starting at my knee, it comes in at around my ankle.
    On the other hand… low rise pants are the devil to me regardless of leg shape. I have a super long torso, and refuse to show my crack. I looooove a super high rise, but require all pants to come to my navel. I had a hard time in the low rise years.
    I taper and tailor most of my pants to fit me. I take out flares, and put darts in waists. Pretty much no pant fits me right out of the box.
    My all time favorites are the Wranger mens ones that are approved by the american rodeo association, and the cut has not been changed since 1947. They come unwashed and cost about $18 dollars at walmart.
    All that said… I kind of prefer dresses.

  31. rb

    I have wide hips, problem upper thighs, a bottom that sticks out, but then relatively thin, long legs below the problem thigh area. Skinny jeans make me look like an ice cream cone. I’m skipping this one altogether. That does not make me feel less fashionable. As a matter of fact, it makes me feel more fashionable to only wear trends that suit me.

    I do think dark wash bootcut, straight or trouser jeans are classic, so everyone ought to be able to find a style that works for her. Like you, Sally, myself in pants or jeans is not my favorite look, so I only really wear my jeans when it’s absolutely a no-skirt occasion. (Like the windy boat ride we went on this weekend.)

    This idea that something is absolutely OUT and would be MORTIFYING to wear is more for teenagers, not for adult women.

    • Marsha Calhoun

      I love your last paragraph. May print it and post it on my mirror.

  32. patni

    and trends? meh. They are fun to me because i get bored quickly and want to move on, and it can be fun to figure out how something that started off looking like it could never look right can be tweaked to make it work. I love 20s style shift dresses, but have a giant bust, so they can make me look pregnant. I deal with it by finding them slightly sheer, and wearing something close fitting underneath. so you can see i have a curve.

    It gets infuriating when you can not find what you want, like a pant that covers your behind, because some one decided it was “out”. But that is what thrift stores are for right?

  33. Laura

    I think you’re right about trends staying longer, and I think the big indicator is the fact that skinny jeans AND trouser jeans, items at opposite ends of the clothing spectrum, are both super trendy right now. If you like a particular style and you think it’s flattering on you, awesome, go for it, because as far as I can tell, everything goes.

  34. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Yay! for trends that last longer: much easier on the budget. The only pants I wear are jeans, and I love my straights and skinnies. I hope they are *in* for the foreseeable future!

  35. lisa

    I still have a couple pairs of bootcuts lurking in my denim drawer, but I haven’t worn them for a couple of years. It’s not just the silhouette of denim that’s changed to favour a slimmer leg. Tops have become looser and longer (tunic-length or blousy or drapey), which looks good with a slimmer cut bottom, and even the shape of shoes has changed to complement skinny trousers and skinny jeans. Or maybe it’s all in my head and my eye has adjusted to the look, and adjusting back to bootcut looks “wrong”? I don’t know. 😛

    If bootcut suits you and your tastes, I say wear them with gusto.

  36. Stephanie

    I’m in between normal sizing and plus sizing, and figured that skinny jeans were for skinny people. Then I saw a picture of a similarly-sized friend totally rocking skinny jeans, and decided I liked the look! So now I own boot-cut and skinny jeans, although I prefer the boot-cut most of the time.

    To balance out my hips, I usually try to wear slightly longer shirts, and I always wear either boots (over the jeans) or ballet-style flats. They don’t make my body image issues disappear, but I like them enough that I just don’t care what other people think!

  37. hellotampon

    I can’t even deal with jeans. It’s so hard to find a flattering pair, and they’re uncomfortable anyway. I can’t stand how every time I sit down they dig in at the waist- a nagging reminder that I don’t *like* my waist. They bunch in the crotch, I have to hike them up all the time (they are always either too tight or too loose) and they’re heavy, not to mention they’re a pain in the ass to launder and the cuffs flap around and have a tendency to get wet and crusty on rainy days and dusty on dry days. Eliminating jeans from my life was the best thing I’ve ever done, sartorially speaking.

  38. The Waves

    I recently wrote a post about going back to flared jeans after a couple of years of wearing only skinnies. I bought into the idea of skinny jeans because they were everywhere, not because I thought they looked particularly good on me. (Sad, kind of, I know.)

    I do think that slight flares or bootcuts look better on most people. And there are so many celebrities out there right now who wear bootcuts or flares as the “new” trend to combat the skinny situation. I think that denim is having a huge “it”-moment overall, and that if bootcut is your pick, then go for it. I think they are timeless.

  39. Diana

    I think skinny jeans are around to stay, if only because they are so practical for winter wear. When there’s tons of snow and slush on the ground, the last thing you want is for your pants hems to be dragging in that muck, and it’s so much easier to tuck skinnies into boots. I think pretty much anyone can wear skinny jeans tucked into boots, so long as normal jeans fit considerations (like rise and muffin top) are OK. For non-boots outfits, I prefer something like a very snug straight leg – so something that fits like a skinny everywhere except the ankle. Because I have larger hips/calves and very skinny ankles, I prefer my jeans to not be skintight right at the ankle.

  40. Anne

    I think the only thing harder to shop for is a swimsuit, and you can successfully dodge wearing one if you live in the right climate. My jeans count is up to ten now; all purchased in a vain attempt to find the perfect one. I don’t have a true pair of skinnies but I have a pair that’s pretty slim (from KUT) and I have a pair from the GAP called “Easy Straight.” they are the love child between a skinny and a boyfriend jean. They are slouchy on the hips but slim enough on the legs to make them look long and lean. I wear both pair with ballet flats, driving moc.s and heeled oxfords. For occasions where I needed to be a bit dressier, I wear trouser style jeans. I have a pair of flair jeans on order from the Gap, but I’m a little worried about the “no backsies” rule where by you’re not supposed to wear trends that you wore in an earlier life.

    Which brings up a good question Sally, what is your opinion on wearing trends that were popular when you were younger? I know it used to be common wisdom not to, but trends come back pretty fast, and also seem to come back in more user friendly ways.

    I actually tried to dodge jeans for a big part of this past winter. I was inspired by a post from Say Yes To Hoboken. I wore skirts and boots which make a lot of sense during our very wet winters in No. Cal.

    • Sal

      That rule about not wearing a trend you’ve already lived through once? Beh. I don’t buy it. When trends make another round, they have ALWAYS been tweaked and refined. If you want to embrace them, do. If you never liked them to begin with and still don’t, pass. 😉

  41. Silvia

    I prefer boot cuts, or straight jeans. But I do have a couple of skinny jeans, although they are rather straight skinny jeans, I guess.
    The problem I have with skinny jeans is that I don’t have skinny legs. Especially the ankles and calves. And besides that skinny jeans then don’t look really flattering, they feel strange when they stick to your legs and you have problems getting them off. But, luckily, there are enough other jeans cut that I don’t need to relay on skinny jeans.

  42. Raquelita

    I was hoping and believing that we were in a post-skinny kind of world. I’ve been seeing flares and wide legged jeans and trousers everywhere and that’s also what fashion mags like Vogue and Marie Clare seem to have been touting for months. I like and wear skinny jeans (critics of curvy women in skinnies can bite me), but I love the flow of a wide legged pant!

  43. pope suburban

    I have two pairs of skinny jeans, but I only wear them with tall boots. Otherwise, I feel like an ice-cream cone. I don’t mind the trend even if it can look silly, but I am getting to the point where I am over it. See, I can’t seem to find any non-jean pants for work that are not skinny cut. I’ve been up and down the mall, and aside from some really awful mom-jean looking ones (that also create the illusion of a full diaper, yikes), all the business-casual pants are skinny. I think that style looks awful on me without boots, so I can’t really salvage it. I’d really love it if one could find pants other than the super-trendy cuts, because no trend is going to be 100% great for everyone in every situation. Sometimes I think people get forced into following trends simply because they have zero other options.

  44. Rebecca

    About 2 years ago I tried on a pair of skinny jeans at Torrid and felt emphatically that they looked terrible on me. They showed my fat legs and huge thighs and “made me look like an inverted hershey’s kiss” I think were the words I used.

    2 years later, I own several pairs! and I’m bigger now than I was then! I’ve grown (ha!) into an acceptance of my body, and how my legs look big no matter what silhouette I choose.

    So my advice is this: if you tried a trend awhile back, try it again to see if your opinion has changed. Also, wear what you feel fabulous in whether it is “flattering” or not 🙂

  45. Eleanorjane

    Me too with the fearing of skinny jeans, then adopting the trend. I’m a UK size 14 (creeping towards 16) which I think is a US 12? Bigger in the thighs and calves with an hourglass waist. I was *so* thrilled be able to join the trend by finding a pair of jeans that fit and miracle of mircles, a pair of boots that actually go some way up my calves over jeans!!

    Re: your ‘not being too comfortable’ post some weeks ago, the fact that I’m less comfy in my jeans now is a warning sign. Need to do something useful, soon…

  46. renee

    From my understanding wide-legs and bootcuts are back in the spotlight. I love that because I tucked mine away and now I can wear all cuts equally. Prior to now my skinnies got a lot of love, mostly because I could tuck them into my boots. Winter-time that is a godsend.

  47. sarah

    While I yearned for a pair of real acid-wash Jordache jeans with their ankle zips at age 7 and 8, I generally loathe the skinnies now. Since I was a 90s teen in Eugene, swanning around as a grungey hippie in wide legs, in an era when skinnies were declared “dead! forever!” I can’t help feeling like skinnies are a “trend” now – and I’m militantly resistant. I’ve been “waiting the skinnies out” since the early oughts, when I thought certainly, it couldn’t last more than 3 years (boy was I wrong!). So, I caved and bought my first pair last year, a j crew pair in black with leather patches on the inside of the knees. They’re nice, but I do still feel a bit exposed in them, and I don’t wear them all that often, honestly.

    Personally, I’ve been very excited about the return of some *very* exaggerated 70s shapes lately – the tea-length skirts, the maxi dresses, the jive wide legs! In fact, at this very moment, I’m wearing some ridiculously huge bellbottoms by 7 for all mankind. But then, I’m quite tall and long-limbed, and these styles were made for someone like me, with all the arms and legs to swoosh all that extra fabric around. So I’ll stock up now (or rather, apparently my husband will, because he mad for me in these jeans) and enjoy as long as I can.

  48. Elizabeth Ann

    I want to put in a plug for my absolute favorite style of jeans: the straight leg!

    This may be the perfect option for someone who isn’t quite ready for or comfortable with skinny jeans but feels that boot-cut is off trend or wrong for some outfits. Straight legs can be tucked successfully into tall boots (with some practice) but can still be worn with shoes underneath or just peeking out from the bottom. They lack the definitive bell shape of boot cuts but aren’t going to show every lump or curve the way skinny jeans frequently do. They are too classic and timeless a style to ever have to worry if they are in or out, and they still look good cuffed if that’s your thing.

  49. myrubyslippers

    I am not into skinnies because I look ultra skinny in them. Doesn’t look nice or flattering on me at all. Leggings and jeggings are out for me too. So I don’t agree that skinnies are for slim people only. I guess it all depends on individual’s body shape, the right denim fit for each individual and whether or not the individual can carry it off.

  50. Lydia

    Like others, I sat the skinny jean trend out completely, and though I am willing to wear skinnies and jeggings if the right ones come along, I am in no hurry to abandon bootcuts, which I have worn without worry for the last 8 years.

    At times these last few years, I would look around and notice I was the only woman wearing bootcuts, in a sea of skinnies, but they simply balance my hourglass more. I do wear leggings with skirts, and prefer the proportions of this look rather than the longer sweater over jeans. I love bootcuts, and kept snapping them up at the Gap and New Look over the last few years, just in case they would be harder to find (which they were, until now). I have several lenghts of bootcuts for flats, (since I walk lots), and for wedges, which I wear to work.

    I am pleased that there are so many more options out there, especially with stretch and different weights of denim — my mom loves and wears looser skinnies and she looks great in them.

  51. jentine

    I totally agree that trends die slower these days… which is weird because they are available in the stores faster. One minute on the runway, next minute in F21. I think because trends go so fast, there is an openmindedness about fashion and choices that hasn’t been there before. We can see and buy everything so quickly online that in order to keep up, a new acceptance of many styles is adopted. For example… while the midi skirt is a big hit this season, the mini and maxi are not far from anyone’s mind. With a good shoe, any length can look current.

  52. zora

    I agree with you, Sal, to at least give them a try, but not just one!! i am fairly slender, but a little pear shaped, and I had to try many different pairs of skinny jeans, for about 2 years, before I finally found ones that looked good on me!! every time I thought i looked horrible, and was so sad that i would never be able to do the skinny look, until the moment i found the right ones and then i was like: whoa look at me, i am hot!! ;o) so, try a few, different weights of denim, amount of stretch, and rise, before you give up.

    And definitely rock the trouser and flares! I cannot find a pair of trousers that work on my shape, so if you can, flaunt it! i’ll just keep looking ;o)

    and also to echo Sal, I wear my skinnies with tunics and looong tshirts, too, I can wear things a little bit shorter than would be appropriate with leggings, but still get that sleek line, and especially with boots. If you at all like to wear boots, try to find some skinny jeans to wear with them, it’s so cute!

  53. joy

    Skinny jeans and me…meh. As a `skinny` person I`ve always felt that skinny jeans made my legs look like sticks. I feel so uncomfortable wearing them and usually just wear them in winter since they tuck into boots nicely. I discovered boot cut jeans when i was 15 and never looked back. Ì gave up the flares (although i love them and glad they`re coming back!) and stuck with the boot cut. It`s amazing what a geat pair of fitted boot cut jeans can do- it doesn`t make you look masculine, rather it can flatter pretty much any body shape (in my opinion)

  54. Tina

    I was apposed to skinnies at first but then deceided to give them a try. I still have a love/hate relationship with them, I have about 4 pairs and I mostly wear them with tall boots. They have a tendensy to make me look like an icecream cone if I am not careful in my styling of them. I cannot wear them with flats because of that (plus to me, it seems to make my average size 8 feet look huge!) but if I wear heels or booties it’s not as bad. I also pair them with a tunic style top, short dress or wear a longer cardigan is the top is not long enough to my liking.

  55. Stella

    Hi! I’m a lurker here, but I do read your blog all the time. It’s funny, because I was working on a post about trends, so I can relate to what you’re saying. I have skinny jeans and I love wearing them. But I also love love love my wide leg pants. Seriously. To me, skinny jeans = going out, wide legs = office. Skinny jeans feel too casual for me in a business environment (or at least, days when there will be visits @ the office and such).

    As for them dying out, I don’t know. I mean, there are people that are enamored of them and have incorporated them in their wardrobes permanently. I just think that you should wear what you want and what you feel flatters you.

  56. cathych

    I have a pair of these jeans, and I only wear them with a sweater that covers my butt. If you have short legs and a long torso, or thighs and hips, they are really not that flattering. My 14 year old daughter is athletic and thin. They look great on her, but she hasn’t gone through puberty yet! They look good on girls who are tall and slim, but I do not think they look good on an average person. (A person with curves) If you wear heels and a long top, I guess they are like leggings. I just see lots of people trying to wear them, and I think that there are so many more styles out there that do so much more for the female frame.

  57. Alex

    My experience is that skinny jeans are great if you’re quite short – flared or bootcut jeans just hide your figure and make you look shorter. I got a great stretch pair from Miss Sixty with zipped ankles, and they’re really flattering (generally, I find that Miss Sixty jeans are really great if you’re on the petite side). But skinny jeans with high heeled shoes are hideous.

  58. Angeline

    I like skinny jeans and wear mine pretty often, but I do see it as a bit of a trend, which is why I only have one pair. I still wear my boot-cut jeans more often than my skinnies, and my trouser jeans most of all (to work, mainly). While certain styles may be more “in” at certain times, I don’t really see well-fitting and flattering denim as every being “out.”

  59. Anonymous

    Although I´m American, I´ve been living in Holland for the past 6 months and I must say when i first came over I was amazed at the total dominance of skinny jeans! Seriously, EVERYONE wears them. Guys and girls of all ages. I only had one pair when I came, I have bought 2 more since I have been here. I went through middle school and some of high school during the bell bottom phase, skinnies were starting to come in around the time I graduated. At first I thought they were quite ugly, and I still don´t think they suit every body type, but they are really the only jeans I wear now. That said, I also ride horses for a living, so I´m used to wearing breeches all day. I also fit the body type somewhat, 5´8, 24 in waist, long legs. They do have to be done correctly, my bust is somewhat large in comparison to the rest of me, 32C and broad shoulders, so with the wrong shirt I look topheavy. I do think they look tidier than bootcuts, excluding the super tight ones. For example, I love love these but maybe they would be considered bootcut?

  60. Aik0

    Whether you choose to wear skinnies or not, just make sure your jeans are comfortable and don’t squeeze you! It’s not worth it, there are so many better pairs out there that would look AND feel good!