I remember my first pair of skinny jeans tragically. Maybe because they were. At 12 years old, I convinced my mom to get me a pair because I was tired of the bootcut and bell-bottom styles she’d always buy me. But mainly, I wanted to look cool. Back then, cropped hemlines were not a thing. Instead, we wore ours a tad longer than needed, scrunching the hemlines to mask our ankles. With platforms on our feet, of course. But 15 years later, I have no skinny jeans in my closet. The last pair I bought (a comfy number from Everlane) I gifted to a friend in 2019, after I accepted to myself that I was over this trend.
So when skinny jeans were banished by Zoomers earlier this year, I was surprised to see just how many millennials took it personally. By now, millennials know what it’s like to be blamed for the demise of mostly everything in society, from marriage and diamonds to beer and napkins. Certainly, skinny jeans couldn’t have been such a big deal to let go of. But mostly, I was eager to see if the Zoomers’ disapproval was actually enough to kill skinny jeans for good.
Turns out, it wasn’t. Skinny jeans are still here — like it or not.
Despite the fast growth of looser styles — be it baggy, slim-fit, or barrel jeans — consumer interest in skinny jeans hasn’t actually decreased in 2021. Skinny jeans were among Google's top fashion searches of the year. While most of those searches might have come from people wondering if they were cool or not — queries like “side part skinny jeans” and “skinny jeans date you” were some of the most searched — it appears any press is good press. According to global fashion platform Lyst, searches for skinny jeans have increased 77% month-on-month since September. (That’s not to say shoppers aren’t looking for other styles: Data shows they've preferred wide-leg and baggy jeans for most of 2021, with searches for both styles jumping by 110% since January.)
Skinny jeans have also been spotted on the runway, with designers defying TikTok’s memo. Take, for example, Saint Laurent’s pre-fall 2021 jean boots that made us all question what would happen if we wore them to a no-shoe party. Tom Ford also kept skinny jeans in his recent collections, with leather-looking low-rise numbers in his fall 2021 collection. And, most recently, Givenchy also approved of skinny jeans in the brand’s pre-fall 2022 collection including washed and ruched denim. What’s more, both luxury and retail brands are still *gasp* selling skinny jeans in both low-rise and high-waisted styles, from Balmain and Balenciaga to Levi’s, Good American, and Everlane.
As for what will come in the new year, spring 2022 collections have already predicted that the 2010s — the era of skater skirts, thigh-high socks, cross T-shirts, and colourful jeans — are making a comeback, and with it high-low hemlines, gladiator sandals, fringe, and colourblocking. The recent spike in demand for skinny jeans may just be that: a dormant trend holding out until its companions come out to play for the upcoming spring season. So hold on to your skinny jeans, millennials. They might come in handy soon.