R.I.P. Skinny Jeans

Hello, overalls!

Fashion analysts have called the death of the skinny jean before, but this time around they mean it: Retail sales are flagging, and clothing merchants are increasingly anxious to lure shoppers back into stores.

Enter “comfort” trouser styles--one of the only bright spots in women’s apparel over the last 12 months, according to market research firm NPD Group. While denim sales have been declining, sales of loose-fitting pants have been rising. A quick scan of the checkout lines at the grocery store, the real world runway, is enough to confirm that athletic styles have become de rigueur daywear. In recent seasons, similar silhouettes, like the pajama dressing that Marc Jacobs introduced at Louis Vuitton, have made appearances on some of fashion’s top runways.

The “trend fits the size of the American shopper,” Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of WSL Strategic Retail, told Bloomberg. “It is much more forgiving for most or many women.”

Even Gap, famous for its denim basics, has been highlighting “dressy” sweatpants like its new “track pant.” “Fall’s total package trend: comfy, chic, and so easy to wear,” Gap’s home page proclaims.

Fashion insiders have been happy to oblige retailers eager to showcase a wider array of denim styles. Garance Doré, the street style photographer turned lifestyle brand, recommends layering denim on denim; her site features a look that involves a denim shirt, vest, and overalls, finished off with a simple updo and Gianvito Rossi stilettos. Fashion magazines and bloggers, in turn, feature celebrities mastering the boyfriend jean, perhaps the leading contender to replace skinnies. “Have you got your boyfriend jeans, yet?” Glamour asks, showing the loose and sometimes ripped cut with everything from a tuxedo jacket to a T-shirt.

For women simply trying to get out the door in the morning, it’s a fine line between ease and aspirational sophistication. Gap, Bloomberg reports, is using its in-store displays as educational tools, to help with styling around the new denim shapes. Ready or not, it’s time to go back to school.

[H/T Bloomberg]

[Top Photo: Art Allianz via Shutterstock]

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15 Comments

  • Melissa Dever

    Meh. I'll jump for joy the day stilettos go out of fashion. In fact it'll be the first day I'll have been ABLE to jump.

  • Susana Choy

    OMG, It's about time! I never got caught up in the fad but it looks so bad on many who did!

  • oriolguimera

    Are there any skinny customers in America? In Europe we keep buying them ( if we can wear them without not looking like a Cervela sausage).

  • Ally Gibellini

    hahaha 2 fashion bloggers not wearing skinny jeans means the trend is dead? Slow day in news today huh guys?

  • Skinny jeans look best on Chinese guys who have no arse, to whom they give the illusion of buttocks. They have a tendency to make Westerners look like a pair of parsnips from the waist down.

  • fijianfireball

    Umm no... it's because women are transitioning to yoga pants, which have now become ubiquitous/acceptable in the work place. Any kind of skinny pant is in. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  • Evan Jacobs

    Thank goodness. Tailored but loose clothing is so much more comfortable and universally flattering.

  • I love my skinny jeans! Boyfriend jeans are just so unflattering to me... guess I'd better stock up before I have to go on a wild scavenger hunt for my beloved skinnies.