Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent departure isn’t the only breaking news today. Fashion Unfiltered can now confirm that, contrary to widespread reports, skinny jeans aren’t dead. That’s right. You read that correctly. Skinny jeans are alive and kicking. Sure, mom jeans, shredded ‘90s grunge styles, and baggy “normcore” (remember normcore?) iterations had their moments, but the reality is that skinny jeans are just as popular as ever. “Everybody can sit there and talk about how skinnies are dead, but women are still buying them,” said J Brand’s head of design, Mary Bruno, at the label’s Fall 2016 presentation on Wednesday. “The skinnies still by far outsell all the wide-legs for us and every other brand.” If Bruno says the skinny is here to stay, it must be true. The designer has been in the denim game over 20 years, and held posts at Earl Jeans and Levi’s before heading to J Brand in 2014. So, yeah. She knows what she’s talking about.
“I think they’re very much a staple in every girl’s wardrobe,” said Bruno when asked what makes skinnies so enduring. “They allow you to show your own creativity—you can do anything with them. Women can style them any way and create their own look. They’re like black tights.” And who doesn’t love black tights?
I know what you’re thinking: Where did this terrible fallacy about the skinny jean’s demise come from? Did boot-cuts get jealous and start a rumor? Or was it one of those morbid Internet hoaxes, like the one to which Macaulay Culkin fell victim? Well, to be fair, we have seen an increase in wide-legged pants, from Tom Ford’s glam-rock bellbottoms to Rosie Assoulin’s high-volume trousers to the billowing pajama silhouettes that sauntered down the Fall 2016 runways (Dries van Noten’s were a personal favorite). Furthermore, the skinny jean has reigned supreme for about a decade now, and fashion loves to push a new trend. But, as Bruno put it, women are used to wearing skinnies. They like them, and sometimes, the consumer just wants something familiar.
However, that’s not to say that a little refresh now and then isn’t welcome. “I think offering up new alternatives is important,” said Bruno. J Brand sells their peg-legged jeans in over 15 types of denim, and for Fall, they come with frayed bottoms, sky-high waists, and stepped hems. Cropped iterations are also a Fall feature.
In short, it looks like skinny jeans are destined for the same fate as platform shoes (which, in 2013, were said to have one heel in the grave, but anyone who’s seen Alessandro Michele’s Gucci knows they’re in very good health), and high heels (which reportedly “died” back in 2014, but have been relentlessly haunting runways and shoe departments ever since). That is to say, they’re going nowhere.