The Gen Z-ers have officially exiled side parts, shaved vaginas and skinny jeans. Skinny jeans are out, we repeat, skinnies are out! Now if you don’t know what’s up, last week a heated tik tok battle of the generations ensued because the always opinionated Gen Z-ers decided that all things millennial are near their geriatric prime. Apparently millenials use the crying emoji way too much, it's old. They use Instagram, a dead language if you ask Gen z; and what sparked our interest and rage was the debate on skinny jeans. Now millennials blew up in defense and against these accusations in hilarious clapback tik tok videos. But now we pose to you, are skinnies in fact dead and for the old fogies? We highly doubt that everyone is throwing out their regular skinnies for the 2021 soul train revival. Plus, every year a few articles pop up about the lack of originality and overuse of skinny jeans yet they are still trending. We do see where the lads are coming from, even if we don't agree. People have nowhere to go and have spent the last year and some change at home.The trend of 2020 was comfy clothes, athleisure wear and loungewear. Even some essential workers have opted for this style, we are looking at you UPS drivers and warehouse workers. Teresa always sees the Amazon drivers in sweats and hoodies. Good for them. So opting out of tight pants for looser, more casual ones seems fitting. We think this trend is going to continue to be highlighted in 2021. But this tik tok debate has us thinking about when skinny jeans made their mainstream debut. Now we know that skinny jeans is an overarching term that includes actual jeans but is not limited to that Everyone uses the word to include denim, spandex and other fabrics. For the sake of clarity we are going to use that word interchangeably too. We have to stay young, you know!
In 2015 many articles bashed the skinnies and new outlets hyped the health issues they caused like digestive problems, rashes, testicular suffocation and of course, camel toe *Wink Wink.* So why are they still everyone’s go-to pants?
Skinny jeans have evolved since their inception. They apparently were a hip thing throughout the 20th century (not expecting that), before having a huge widespread impact in the early 2000s and stepping down in the latter half of the 2010s. It’s only been in the last five years or so that skinnys have been getting major flack. Let's go back to the beginning and look at the slim fit start in the 1950s to the “skin tight and out of sight” style Gen z-ers are trying to get away from today.
Although we get into the history of pants pre-21st century in our article here: The Suit: A Power Move there is much more to learn. Skinny jeans were not always called skinny jeans and before they were suffocating they were just slim fitting.
Subcultures breed the most daring fashion. The same can apparently be said for skinny jeans. Now there is no definitive link between the 50s and skinny jeans but we can assume that the skinnier jeans we see on greasers are a precursor and inspiration for future pairs. Greasers were youth culture and young adults, anyone seen The Outsiders? Before the boys cuffed their trousers they were slimmer near the ankle.
Many people think that punk started in the 80s but those living in the culture say that's when it died. Proto-punk degenerates were against the flower power of the 70s. Their style was dark, tight and menacing at times. In the UK punk scene Vivieene Westwood and the Sex Pistols were scene setters. Safety pins, choker chains, combat boots and an overall dark hustle ambiance was their mood. Makes sense considering their grim weather. In the US, the scene was much more metropolis with CBGB, an iconic gay bar instrumental in the underground scene. Both scenes incorporated leather and skin tight pants but in the US icons such as the Ramones opted for a mix of shaggy hair, skinny jeans and leather jackets, tied together via Converse.
Once punk hit the mainstream, metal was born. Billy Idol rode his early success in the 70s right into the 80s with iconic songs like “Rebel Yell” and “Eyes without a face.” Cue in his seriously skinny frame and leather pants. Skinny jeans were the thing for this 80s alternative culture. The 80s spawned a bunch of subcultures and a tighter pant was present in pretty much all of them.
In the 90s slim fit jeans were not hot, it was all about the grunge and oversized jeans. The aughts brought back and solidified skinny jeans, what do you think? Are you bold enough to say skinny jeans are a classic clothes trend?
2005 - bunched up skinnies. Yuck. Well what are we saying, Teresa has to live like that because skinnies are so long and she is so short. Her favorite pair of jeans in the last five years are bunched up skinnys and to boot they are dark-to-light washed with EXTRA ripp’s in the jeans. We have all owned and own a pair of jeans like this. In 2005 Topshop introduced their Baxter style to the brand solidifying the look in London. Here in the U.S this jean became a stapl on and off the runways. Thanks Kate Moss.
2006 - Skinnies in booties. The trendiest fashion of fall 2006, getting them skinnies in boots. Yeah the Ugg trend before the Ugg trend.
2007 - The early 2000s was definitely a moment for experimentation. Mid millennials are gonna remember the rash stylings of skinnies on indie darlings. They wore the boho belts and layers cardigans over a basic v-neck t.
2008: colors made a huge splash and we are still seeing this trend resurge in other pant styles. Wearing basic colored pants may be over 10 years old, print and colorful pants are a trend that continues.
2009 - If we look at Teresa’s 2009 closet you are going to see a bunch of black skin tight jeans in variations of black alongside metallic, glittery and goth accessories. Spikes and rock pop was such a hot trend before and into the 2010s. That was a huge mainstream trend. This is where ripped jeans made its debut. If there were any jeans left, you were doing it wrong.
2011: Jeggings. Yes, fashion faux paux for sure but also a great moment for everyone wishing to join the skinny jean trend without being a size 5 and under. When Spandex thought it would be a good idea to make a pair of pj-esque jean shaped pants with no pockets but seams…Who backed that in the brand meetings? Sure to the 70% spandex but hell no to the no pockets, fake zippers and buttons. That marketing scheme blew up tho so what do we know and actually we have a pair.
Now: People wear all the aforementioned trends together and sometimes sleeker. Colored skinny jeans are more of an older mom thing, and less of an indie move and overly ripped jeans are out. You know what we realized? Skinny jeans are bold, innovative, yet stupid and overplayed, but like most staples in fashion they are here to stay. If they can reinvent themselves every decade then who is to call them old. Maybe they are old, but who cares. Gen Z-ers can have this win because every millennial knows the magic that happened in their fav skinnies.