TikTok’s “Old” Millennials had a rough week last week. They learned that it was no longer fashionable to side-part your hair. Use the laugh-cry emoji and wear skinny jeans.
I’m a Millennial and have been guilty of all three Gen Z antitrends. However, I am also a fashion editor and saw the skinny jeans demise coming. For many seasons, baggy jeans have been the norm on runways. For a while, celebrities like Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber have been wearing only baggy-fit jeans. I have also declared skinny jeans a trend on the internet, while still wearing my favorite pair of skinnies. They’ve been officially relegated as “mom jeans”, so I no longer feel any sting.
Trends are always changing, so it was only natural that the belly button-covering, loose-legged jeans that were worn only by moms in late ’80s/early 1990s came back around. These “mom jeans”, which are conservative, unimaginative and sexual, were ironic! These “mom jeans” were the antithesis of all that we saw in ’00s celebrity fashion.
We opted for the extreme during that time: high-end, blinged-out boots with crystals in every pocket, flared jeans underneath skirts and dresses, and ultra-low-rise jeans making it difficult to sit down while pulling up your pants simultaneously. Anyone who lived in this time period knows what I mean by the “shimmy” move.
Like everyone else, I let my G-string show. As an adolescent, I felt deeply uncomfortable. I was surrounded with flat stomachs and was self-conscious about my lack of love handles and the fact that my hips were not as pointed as those in music videos and TV. To add insult to injury, jeans were often made with long hemlines and supermodel legs. My jeans were a drag on the ground, becoming more dirt-stained and ripped with every wear. My mother offered to cut a pair of jeans so that the hemlines wouldn’t be damaged by every Converse-clad step I took. I was shocked that she even suggested such a “mom thing”. Now I am horrified by the amount of dirt that I found back home. If I were my mother, I would have asked me to take off my jeans at the door.
This is all to say that skinny jeans were revolutionary when they first appeared in the mid-2000s. They highlighted the butt without making it more obvious. Now hemlines were clean and unchewed and could show off our boots instead of being destroyed by them. While moms were often embarrassed by the tightness of their jeans, I was happy to not have my midsection exposed and my buttcrack open. It wasn’t an easy fit. I had to try a few pairs before finding one that fit me. After feeling so clownishly ill in my high-tops, I decided to stop wearing them. They were still a significant upgrade to the jeans I was wearing.
A few years later, I tried out the “boyfriend” jeans trend. These are loose-fitting, straight-legged, cuffed-legged pants that have been a part of the skinny jean movement for many years. Contrary to many of my peers who may feel smug about their decision to move on too early, I continued wearing skinny jeans. Although boyfriend jeans are soft and comfortable and allow for a lot of movement, they don’t fit my style. Instead, I went for the slimmer, higher-waisted jeans that I have been wearing since.
Despite this, I have not worn pants in the past year, unlike many others. For most of my time at home, I prefer to wear sweatpants and workout leggings. When I go out, I bring along dresses, skirts or loose leather pants. These were once my “special occasion” clothes, but I wear them on weekends. Today, skinny jeans are not something I’d reach for.
This brings me back to TikTok. After last week’s declaration of being old and uncool, my thoughts turned to whether baggy jeans could be my way of transitioning back from sweats to hard pants after the pandemic has subsided. After a year, I am able to see the negative aspects of my skinny jeans. They make my socks slip off each time I take them off. After a long night out, I find myself unable to take them off by myself. How I sometimes find it difficult to fit my hips in certain brands. Although “weird” is a term that TikTok users used to describe my style, it’s not the right word. It doesn’t explain why I feel ready for the world to give up my skinnies. I feel that wearing clothes that aren’t comfortable is more “uncool,” especially after having worn clothes that served me for a year.
Are the mom jeans still fashionable? Yeah, no doubt about it. Are skinny jeans the new mom jeans? Yes. Are we ready to end the trend? I have a lot of doubts about wearing jeans again if I do ever decide to. Maybe I’ll think about it. (Also: I don’t know how I forgot, but what shoes would you wear with baggy jeans? Maybe I’ll just sit tight for the next ten years. It’s possible that the whale tail will make a comeback in 2020.
I will continue to wear my favorite sweatpants in the meantime.