From left to right:
1. Goldsign Misfit: Straight – 14″ at the knee, 14″ at the leg opening.
2. COH Paley Ankle Length: Skinny – 13″ at the knee, 11.5″ at the ankle.
3. Paige Melrose Straight: 14″ at the knee, 14″ at the leg opening.
4. J Brand 14″ Cigarette: Straight – 14″ at the knee, 14″ at the ankle.
5. J Brand 10″ Skinny: 12″ at the knee, 10″ at the ankle.
Skinny vs. Straight, Bootcut? Flare? Trouser? Which jeans?? It’s the question of the season, and the focus is on Skinny. The silhouette has been around for months, and fashionistas have been embracing it since Kate Moss was seen in her Sass & Bide skinnies, but they’ve just now hit the big-time and you can find skinny jeans by almost any designer.
Honestly, I blame the skinny jeans/pants trend for making fashion so stressful lately. There’s a new tension in the air in the denim section of any boutique (as if shopping for jeans wasn’t hard enough) and just the phrase ‘skinny jeans’ makes fashionable women everywhere cringe in horror. Let’s take a step back and analyze the situation before anyone else gets hurt…
First, no, you do not have to be skinny to wear skinny jeans. It helps…and they look the best on women with few curves and more of a straight body style, but curvy girls can still rock the skinny jean; it’s all in the attitude. Ideally, a pear or hourglass-shaped woman should stick with a more straight style denim than skinny. What’s the difference? Straight is where the pant leg has about the same size opening at the knee as the leg (ankle), and skinny has a more tapered leg opening, usually much smaller than the straight leg jean. For example, the J Brand skinny jeans above have a 12″ opening at the knee and taper down to 10″ at the ankle, and a straight style denim is usually about 14″ at the knee and stays at 14″ to the ankle, or at most widens to 14.5″ or 15″. A bootcut will have a wider leg and a flare will have a much wider leg, sometimes 18″ or 19″. (The BEST place to shop for jeans and see all these measurements is Revolve Clothing)
If you have hips and a butt, wearing a skinny jean tends to make your bottom half look unbalanced and more like an inverted triangle…that’s the tapered leg at work. A straight leg helps to balance your bottom and top out a bit, but a bootcut does even better. If you’re curvy and concerned with what will look BEST for your body type, stick with straight or a slight bootcut. They can also be difficult for someone who is ‘busty’ and small on the bottom; skinny jeans will accentuate the difference. But don’t take my word for it – try on several pairs of skinny jeans mixed with straight and decide what looks best on you. It may be that skinny is more flattering than straight…you never know until you see them on you. I have TRIED to try on several pairs of skinny jeans, and can’t get them past my ankles. Really. I have large calves, in addition to being a size 12, so skinny just doesn’t work for me. I KNOW I look best with a slight bootcut or trouser leg, so that’s what I’m sticking to.
My personal opinion on skinny jeans is that they’re a trend and will look dated in a year – or sooner. I do love them ankle length with flats and a blousy top; it’s difficult to get the proportions right with skinny jeans, but when you do, they can look fabulous. Straight jeans are more of a classic style and look good on almost anyone, with any top. Straight and bootcut jeans will never be ‘trendy’ and you will be able to wear them for years without looking like a fashion victim. Flares and skinnies will continue to go in and out – as most extreme forms of fashion do.
That said, fashion is supposed to be fun and fresh, not stale and boring. But it’s also about looking and feeling your best every day, in whatever you’re wearing. You have to find a happy medium between the two, without becoming a fashion victim and while still working within your personal style. It’s not easy, but you’ll know it when you see it! YOu know when you look good, because you also FEEL good. And believe me, if you are smiling, holding your head up, and moving with confidence, no one will notice your jeans anyway.
So, work those skinny jeans…or not. Just give them a try before you give up on them (and your own body). Accept all your bumps and curves, open your mind and step into those jeans!