Skinny jeans sticking around BYU campus

Joann Distler models skinny jeans, a trend at BYU that is outlasting up and coming pant trends. (Maddi Driggs)

The fashion industry pushed for the end of skinny jeans last year, but it likely won’t see the popular denim style going away any time soon.

Skinny jeans as we know them today first appeared in the mid-2000s, The Guardian reported. Having reigned supreme over all other denim styles for over 10 years now, it didn’t look like anyone wanted them going anywhere until last February, when Vogue decided to call time on skinny jeans.

One of the biggest reasons the industry may be pushing for denim change is due to the drop in sales many major brands have experienced over the last few years. J.Crew and Anthropologie have both reported a consistent drop in sales in 2014 and 2015.

While some sources, like The New York Times, point to unseasonably warm weather as a factor for the losses, others think it could be a lack of exciting trends is the reason for the decline.

A large reason for the lack of sales may be that consumers are tired of the skinny jean, according to The Washington Post‘s business reporter, Sarah Halzack. She said she believes after more than a decade of popularity, the skinny jean has become boring.

There’s nothing new or exciting about skinny jeans anymore, according to Who What Wear, a popular fashion website. The website said brands like ASOS, Topshop and AG are pushing for a new fashion cycle to begin and help stimulate sales.

The effort to extinguish skinny jeans may be working in some places. Stylish celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Olivia Palermo have been seen in public breaking away from the skinny jean and sporting flare, mom and wide-leg styles.

The switch from skinny to vintage styles is welcomed by some BYU students. Andrea Patterson, a BYU mathematics student, has enjoyed trying different denim styles and breaking away from the popular skinny trend she’s grown tired of.

BYU student Andrea Patterson takes a break from wearing skinny jeans, a style she's grown tired of. (
BYU student Andrea Patterson takes a break from wearing skinny jeans, a style she’s grown tired of. (Ryan Turner)

“Honestly, I find skinny jeans to be sort of boring,” Patterson said. “I really like big, flared jeans. I definitely plan on wearing them this year. Anything high-waisted: cropped flares, mom jeans. I have my eye on some cool, 70s-inspired huge flares.”

Other BYU students feel the convenience of the style makes it difficult to try anything different. BYU psychology student Brinley Bywatei said she thinks the ease of styling skinny jeans makes it difficult to get rid of the style.

“I think it would take a lot to get things switched over,” Bywatei said. “A lot of girls always wear skinny jeans because they look cute and they’re easy.”

Internet searches for terms like “mom jeans” and “vintage jeans” have increased by 1,050 percent in the last year, according to Google Trends. Searches for “skinny jeans” are still significantly greater, showing their popularity is still the go-to type of pants.


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Despite a lot of stores and celebrities bringing in new, vintage trends, skinny jeans don’t seem to be going anywhere soon, Bloomberg reported. Even though Patterson is a big fan of other styles, she doesn’t think skinny jeans will be leaving as soon as designers might hope.

“I think they are popular because they are so comfortable and basic,” Patterson said. “Because of this, I think they will continue to be the most popular denim trend for many more years. I see other denim trends popping up, but I don’t think any of them will dethrone the skinny jean.”

Bradi Richan, a BYU student with an undeclared major, thinks because skinny jeans are easy to style, they won’t be replaced by something that might require someone to change their current style.

“I’ve seen a lot of flares, but (skinny jeans) are just more convenient,” Richan said. “They go with everything. If you have flare pants, it’s harder to match shirts because flare pants look weird with flare shirts.”

Some students currently like that skinny jeans are easy to style, but seem to be open to styles changing. Bywatei said she believes Provo is a great place for trends to start due to the large influence of social media in the area.

“The problem is just getting it going,” Bywatei said. “Provo is such a good trendsetting area, so I feel like if the skinny jean is going to go away, it has to start with one person and then continue to grow. I think it would take a little bit for people to catch onto it and switch over.”

Brands like Vetements and Levi’s have had great success in bringing back vintage denim, according to Elle. Although skinny jeans seem to be the go-to option for students, there may be some benefits to trying out different styles.

Bywatei said she doesn’t think skinny jeans are always the most flattering choice. The Independent heralded the death of the trend by saying it made way for “body-conscious denim.”

Patterson said she finds having different styles has helped to expand and define her personal style.

Vintage denim cuts are seen on BYU campus, but aren't as popular as the skinny jean.
Patterson said she believes trying different denim trends allows her to better express her personal style. (Ryan Turner)

“I like how (vintage) jeans add another dimension to an outfit. Just by themselves they are a style statement,” Patterson said. “Personal style is very, very important to me. When I am dressed in a way that displays who I am, I feel most comfortable.”

Even with the effort to change trends, it looks like the skinny jean is more of a staple than a trend to a lot of BYU students. Vintage cuts may be back in and a great way to express personal style, but skinny jeans look to be the norm on campus for a while longer.

“I like skinny jeans,” Richan said. “I don’t think that it’s time to get rid of them at all. I’ve seen other pants, and I’m just not a fan of them. I’d rather wear skinny jeans any day.”

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