The Inevitable Resurgence of Skinny Jeans in the Post-Trend Era

by Karly Rayner

Once so generic you hardly even noticed them, skinny jeans are now a truly divisive fashion statement. The edgy, nonchalant cool factor has been replaced by an outdated, ageing millennial cringe, but these snug-fitting staples are creeping back into the limelight. 

Skinny jeans burst back onto the scene with a vengeance in the early 2000s, championed by celebrities, musicians, and fashion icons alike. Their sleek, form-fitting design quickly captivated the masses, becoming synonymous with effortless cool and urban chic. However, as fashion trends evolved over the years, the spotlight shifted towards looser, more relaxed fits, relegating skinny jeans to the back of closets and the racks of vintage stores.

Many of a certain age had the skinny jeans laughed out of our closets by nieces, nephews and offspring with their eviscerating Tik Tok critiques, but true to their resilient nature, skinny jeans refused to fade into obscurity. Instead they reclaimed their counter-culture identity and became the flavour of ‘60s vintage aficionados, punks and Kate Moss, who never let the skinny jeans flame die. 

In Spring 2024, however, we can see the skinny jean strutting its stuff in AW24 collections with brands like Miu Miu and Balenciaga sending tight-fitting tributes down the catwalk - but why now?


One contributing factor is the cyclical nature of fashion itself. Trends often come full circle, with styles from past decades experiencing renewed interest and reinterpretation. The return of skinny jeans is a testament to this phenomenon, as younger generations rediscover and reinvigorate classic looks for the modern age. Perhaps the skinny jean reclaiming its alternative identity and stepping out of the mainstream has been a catalyst for this rebirth.

The revival of skinny jeans is emblematic of the present cultural nostalgia for the early 2000s, a decade marked by its distinctive fashion trends and cultural moments. As we look back through rose-tinted glasses on the music, movies, and fashion of that era, we are adapting its signature styles for the present day. Skinny jeans, with their association with bands and celebrities from the 2000s, serve as a knowing nod to ‘00s pop culture moments. 


Although the skinny jean might be making a return, there is no way they will strip the baggier wide-leg or barrel fit denim from their title of jean-de-jour. A Vogue Business article explains that while online searches for skinny jeans have plummeted since 2016, searches for “baggy denim” have increased 247 percent since this time last year. 


Of course, the tides of fashion are an influence, and when we meet the edge of one extreme — in this case peak wide leg jeans — the barometer swings the other direction. In the words of Steff Yotka, head of content at SSENSE, speaking to Vogue Business:

“I think we’re just past the peak of the widest jeans and on a trajectory back towards skinny... Once the market becomes saturated with an idea, fashion people instinctively want the opposite. You can see it starting to happen on the runways; something slightly narrower feels inevitable.”



There is another force at play here however, and one that feels more creative and expansive, if a little overwhelming. Thanks to the constant stream of images blasted into our brains through our internet consumption, we are truly entering a post-trend era where there is no dominant fashion force. Through our phones and the wealth of diverse media streams feeding every taste possible, everyone can access their own microcosm of inspiration and run from there. 


I, for one, welcome the skinny jeans back from the depths of my under-bed storage, and anyone who lived through their heyday knows that skinny jeans are the high priestess of denim versatility. They look great with any shoe or sandal, make a plain white shirt look incredibly rock and roll with a leather jacket, and effortlessly transition from day to night, offering endless styling possibilities. 

In the realm of sustainability, the resurgence of skinny jeans also holds promise. Anyone who has their nose in the fashion game will know throwing ‘dated’ silhouettes out is a folly which leads to staring at old photos, misty-eyed with regret about ‘the one that got away.’ If you don’t already have a pair of skinnies in your closet, investing in a high quality pair will provide an asset to whip out for decades to come. In the era of post-trend fashion, wearing the full-spectrum of jean types without being ruthlessly mocked by the teenagers in your life is a very real possibility. Isn’t the modern world fabulous?


Cover Image credit: The Handbook 


Popular posts

Make British Winter More Bearable by Embracing Seasonal Living
Make British Winter More Bearable by Embracing Seasonal Living
The ever-rotating wheel of the seasons profoundly connects us to nature and weaves our lived experience into the infinite tapestry of time, but also, winter sucks. ...
Move Over Resolutions, 2024 is All About Setting Intentions and Here's Why
Move Over Resolutions, 2024 is All About Setting Intentions and Here's Why
There is something staunch about the word resolution which I have never really taken to (read; compulsively rebelled against), but there is another way to set...
Nobody Likes a Fashion Braggart, Especially the British
Nobody Likes a Fashion Braggart, Especially the British
The shimmering mirage of contrasts and contradictions which make up UK style are a slippery fish to grasp, but suspicion and ridicule of anything excessively boastful...
What is Transeasonal Fashion and Why Does it Matter?
What is Transeasonal Fashion and Why Does it Matter?
When the last throes of summery sunshine beam through the reddening leaves of Autumn, we have entered the in-between realm of transeasonal fashion. Despite what fashion...