After nearly a decade of cultural dominance, is the skinny jean finally over? According to a Bloomberg News report, retailers — ranging from Gap to Bloomingdales — are abandoning the slim silhouette in droves, capitalizing on the growing athletic-wear trend and pitching looser styles: palazzo pants, boyfriend jeans, even (please god no) “dressy” sweats.
But, don't rush to trade in your Cheap Monday skinnies for harem pants from Zara. We’ve heard this before. Rumors of sprayed-on denim’s demise have been percolating since 2007. And, despite retailers’ various attempts to seduce shoppers with more forgiving shapes — flared, bootcut, wide-legged — women clung to their tight trousers. Not only that, but jeans kept getting smaller and smaller. J.Crew’s “matchstick” style morphed into “toothpick,” and pants went from hugging the body to squeezing it within an inch of its life.
That could also mean there’s nowhere left for the trend to go. The Fall 2014 runways, for example, hardly had a skinny silhouette in sight. You had almost comically voluminous knit pants at Stella McCartney and The Row (though the Olsen twins have always loved big clothes); baggy, pleated trousers at Céline and Dries van Noten; and, of course, Karl Lagerfeld’s ode to normcore at Chanel, featuring leggings and sweatpants riddled with holes.
Even so, the idea of everyone walking around in yoga pants and leggings is dispiriting. “Busy women want clothes they can wear to yoga and work,” a general manager of Gap’s Athleta brand told Bloomberg. “Women don’t want to change five times a day.” While love our slouchy, boyfriend styles, rolled just above the ankle, we'd rather see ladies in skinnies and making an effort than in sweatpants, resigned.