By Traci Scott,
Skinny jeans for men—basically denim tights—seemed like a momentary fad when they first appeared in stores a few years ago. Today, however, sales of men’s skinny jeans have sky-rocketed, and now even mass brands Gap and Levi’s are getting in on the action:
• True Religion says 15% of the top-selling men’s jeans in its own retail stores were “slim leg” jeans in the first quarter of 2009, up from 11% in the year-ago first quarter.
• Rock & Republic says sales of its men’s skinny denim over the past several months rose 26% over last year’s figures.
• A Levi spokeswoman says: “Over the past several months, our men’s skinny jeans styles have been among our most requested and top-selling jeans.”
Why would men want to wear jeans that look so uncomfortable and impractical? Some fashion observers say skinny jeans’ appeal to certain men stems in part from the wearers’ desire to show off their gym-sculpted bodies.
But men are discovering, as women have long known, that the style can be unforgiving. One must in tip-top shape and practically be a contortionist to squeeze into a pair of tight jeans, and getting out of them can sometimes require a partner in crime.
So the makers of men’s skinny jeans are adjusting their fit to accommodate. Several companies, including Levi Strauss, Gap and 7 for All Mankind have added room in the thigh and seat. True Religion and Rock & Republic have added stretch material for extra give where needed.
Though the jeans may be getting easier to wear, the look isn’t easy to pull off. The trick is to wear skinny jeans with slim-fitting shirts and pointy-toed dress shoes or dressy boots.
And not everyone is a fan of the trend. Dozens of groups opposed to men wearing skinny jeans have formed on Facebook with names like “Men Should Not Wear Skinny Jeans.”
What’s on the horizon for men’s jeans? Forever Fashion recently provided a list of the features considered to be fashionable for the upcoming Fall season based on multiple fashion analytical sites and blogs:
• slimmer fit
• not so loudly faded jeans but enough faded to look vintage
• “bad boy” style
• lean, tailored-cut black jeans.
Although styles of men’s jeans may change over time, they are unlikely to ever disappear. That’s because, for most men, jeans provide versatility in that they are considered to be socially-acceptable attire that can be worn in multiple settings, including the workplace, on dates or just hanging out with friends at the club.
For those of you confused between “skinny” vs. “slim fit” vs. “straight cut” jeans, here is the lowdown according to Jeans Hook:
Skinny cut: Skinny cut jeans are a risky bet for many men but have the potential to look hip on the right guy. The skinny jeans club is fairly exclusive, as this ultra-tight fitting cut can make average-to-heavy body types look even larger. This cut should be reserved for the twiggy body shape, which is virtually the only weight class on which skinny jeans flatter rather than offend. Try this cut with a trendy vintage shoe to complete the look.
Slim fit: For those who want the hipster style of skinny jeans but don’t make the cut weight-wise, there are slim fit jeans. This cut of jean is tapered in a similar style to skinny jeans but not in such an extreme manner. With slim fit jeans, you get the best of both worlds: fashion-forward looks and comfort.
Straight cut: Straight cut jeans are the most discreet cut you’ll find. Neither tapered nor excessively loose, this conservative style is ideal for those who want their jeans to do nothing more than cover their legs.
Because men’s jeans are such a clothing staple, it’s crucial to find the style that works for you. So slipping into your new favorite pair should be done with one concern—that is, they should not only fit your inseam but also fit your lifestyle