Why skinny jeans are the fashion trend which refuses to go away

·3 min read
Xenia Adonts - Getty Images
Xenia Adonts - Getty Images

This time last year I was heralding the end of skinny jeans. As I assessed my wardrobe ahead of my return from maternity leave, I decided that everything would look more au courant with straight-leg and boyfriend styles. It was time to ditch the high-stretch, high-comfort look in favour of something a little more grown-up and chic, for, I hoped, an imminent return to the workplace.

It is now January 2022 and I find myself sitting at my desk in the IRL office wearing, you guessed it, skinny jeans. It turns out it was harder to part with my black skinnies (I’ve always favoured black and grey over blue, don’t ask me why) than I realised.

Thank goodness I listened to Telegraph fashion director Bethan Holt when she advised me to keep them as it’s useful to have a pair of jeans that can be worn with wellies.

Jeans in common: Rachel Brosnahan, Duchess of Cambridge and Olivia Palermo - Getty Images
Jeans in common: Rachel Brosnahan, Duchess of Cambridge and Olivia Palermo - Getty Images

I’m not the only one. It turns out skinny jeans were among Google’s top fashion searches of 2021. Meanwhile at Lyst, searches for skinny jeans are up 77 percent since September. Evidently it is one of those situations in which a fashion industry diktat is completely ignored by the average woman because it simply doesn’t work for them. “Good luck to anyone who wants to sell me something else,” you can almost hear her say as she reaches for another pair of her go-to skinnies in the John Lewis denim department. “I like them and they suit me.”

Average Woman is right in a lot of ways. I’ve always believed that it’s hard to look great in something you’re not entirely comfortable wearing. Nobody looks chic if they’re fidgeting with their waistband or tugging the hem of their jumper over their hips. If you feel good, you look good.

What’s more, my welly-friendly skinnies serve a unique purpose in my wardrobe. I can’t wear wide-legged jeans with an oversized knit, for instance, as I end up looking about as wide as I am tall. Ditto my black boyfriend blazer. They look far better with this season’s chunky loafers than any of my other trousers (a slim leg balances out the heavy track sole) - and of course they’re perfect for wearing with my favourite mid-heel knee-high boots.

It helps that my pair (the Original Cheeky Jean, £84, by US brand Everlane) has a slightly more open ankle than the average skinny, making them a little smarter and more trouser-like - although it still contains 2% elastane, so they’re comfy too.

reformation
reformation

Skinny jeans, £98, Reformation

The difference now is that they form part of a broader denim repertoire in my wardrobe. There are my charcoal straight-leg jeans by Raey, which look like they were tailored to fit me despite no actual effort to achieve that on my part. There are my Frame boyfriend jeans, ripped at the knee and worn every weekend, all weekend long, and a second, now-discontinued, Raey wide-legged pair which I love because they remind me of the jeans I used to wear as a teenager in the Nineties (my mother hates them for the very same reason).

There’s a lesson in this, and it’s that when it comes to denim, there’s no right or wrong anymore. If flares suit your mood, go for it. If you’re partial to a barrel-leg, knock yourself out. Today, it’s all about wearing what suits you and the slim fit works well for most body shapes.

Fashion trends come and go, but skinny jeans are forever.

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