I have a complicated relationship with jeans. They may be a year-round staple; the obvious go-to for every occasion, but with a protruding bottom, dumpy legs and expansive thighs, I look really quite shit in boyfriends, kick flares and mom styles.
The thing about these high-waisted styles is they really don’t cater for big bums and small waists. In order to get pair of boyfriend jeans to adequately fit over my legs, I need a size that’s significantly larger than my midriff, meaning I spend much of my life cinching designs in with a belt. If you’re a Kardashian, you may be more than happy to emphasise the size of your bottom half, but I’m not trying to be an internationally renowned body icon; I’m just trying to find clothes that comfortably fit and look good.
That’s where skinny jeans come in. They may have been condemned to fashion purgatory ever since normcore became a thing, but with their stretchy waistlines and leg lengthening capacities, I’d be a fool to ditch them for more trend-led styles. Like most, I had a moment of renouncing the look back in 2017 when the anti-skinny movement hit fever-pitch, but slowly over the last year I’ve found myself creeping back to my faithful Topshop Joni’s for a comfortable, fuss-free edit.
The good news is I’m not alone. Net-a-Porter still sells 137 lines of skinny jeans today, whilst brands like Frame have built an empire off the back of the easy, everyday style, garnering over $100m in sales thanks, largely, to their iconic Le Skinny design. Scandi label Acne relaunched its denim range last year to feature just three fits, Baggy, Straight and Skinny, whilst new US label Good American launched 89 pairs of skinnies earlier this year, racking up $1m in sales on the first day alone.
I do appreciate that skinny jeans can go badly wrong. Add them to a white tee and trainers and you’ll look like you’re off for the school run – swap in boyfriend jeans, and you score easy style points. So, to get it right, my rules include never wearing flats (great if you’re Alexa Chung, not if you’re me), always going high-waisted (low-slung skinnies truly are dead and buried) and sticking to dark colours – it’s really hard to get white skinnies right. But add oversized knits, boyfriend shirts, sock boots and lashings of jewellery, and it’s a look that I believe truly works – for me, at least.
True fashion icons transcend what’s cool and what isn’t to go with what they know they look great in, whether it’s Anna Wintour in floral dresses or Chloë Sevigny in denim cut offs, so I’m ignoring the naysayers on this one and sticking to my gut. All hail the skinny.
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