Hey welcome, Andrew from Primer here. Since 2008 we've been helping regular guys dress more confidently without wasting a bunch of money.
Mike slipped into our DMs on Instagram to ask:
Stupid question…. my wife tells me skinny jeans are out for women. Is that the same for men? I never wore real skinny but just slim or a taper, just curious what’s the latest??
The short answer is yes, very form-fitting skinny fitting jeans are dated for men, but does that mean the fashion police are coming for your slim, tapered jeans?
The concepts of “fashionable,” “having good personal style,” and “being well-dressed” do not always mean the same thing. When we're talking about anything related to “fashion” that is specific to the fashion industry and the people who follow it closely. What results over time are trends that start at the top of the fashion hierarchy and trickle their way through different groups of people based on sub-cultures, status, region, and personal style tastes.
As everyone has been staying home throughout the last year, there has been an emphasis on more comfortable relaxed styles. I know when I was clearing out my closet a few weeks ago I tried on a pair of old skinny jeans that weren't even that tight and after wearing looser chinos for a year I was noticeably uncomfortable. My thighs were like Nah.
So broader fashion trends will for sure be effected by that, but even before 2020, higher end fashion designers have been cutting pants with fuller fits for several years starting the trickle down we're seeing in the mainstream today.
In January 2019 a full year before lockdown, Vogue had a feature with lots of loose pants from runway shows asking, “Could You Love a Man in the Baggy Pants That Took Over the Runways This Season?”
A Guardian article from 2013 suggests that the skinny jean trend had been going strong for well over a decade, even at that point.
So even though to an everyday guy who doesn't care about such things it can feel annoying and frustrating that “all of a sudden somebody came up with new rules” in reality, there has been a slow shift some 20 years in the making. And since trends usually have a 20 year lifecycle, it's no surprise we're seeing a resurgence of 90s trends, including looser fit jeans.
Ok great, but how does that relate to slim and tapered jeans? Do looser fit pants by designers mean your stretch slims are next?
I don't think so, fashion forward trends have a way of “over-correcting” long-standing trends, and that's what we're seeing with the adoption of very loose fitting pants.
The crazy baggy, loose fits that designers are putting on runways will take a long time to reach day-to-day guys, especially those aged 25-40 which is half of our audience. The interesting thing is, very skinny jeans were an over-correction from the loose, baggy clothes of the 90s. And if you've never followed that trend, you probably don't have to worry about this one, either. Hell, I could confidently predict a lot of Primer readers bought their first slim or skinny jeans within the last 3 years.
“But if you're telling me looser pants are what's fashionable, then why would I still wear slim jeans?”
I like to dress in a way that makes me feel confident and put together and like a socially competent man in the room. I try to buy all of my pants with a silhouette that is neat and streamlined more akin to dress pants to fit in with a smart casual wardrobe. Smart casual intermixes dressier and casual items to have an intentional style that doesn't make you feel over-dressed.
This allows my jeans and chinos to be dressed up and allows my dressier pants to be dressed down interchangeably. Because of that, I will still be wearing slim or tapered pants, even if I start to play with looser fits in the future.
My personal style has never been fashion-forward because that's not what interests me or what I want to communicate about myself.
If your personal style is more fashion-forward, that's awesome and sounds fun. I think you should explore that more.
Two awesome creators that are more fashion-forward are Daniel Simmons and Tim Dessaint. I love browsing the outfits they come up with by mixing trends, and they have some really cool, fuller-cut outfits, if you are looking for inspiration.
If you have a question for me, you can slide into my DMs, just like Mike did. Follow Primer on Instagram, @primermagazine.