Cheap Clothes Rule / Fashion and Style Blog











{September 24, 2010}   Skinny jeans: a history

Skinny Jeans have been around for a long time, but like a lot of styles they change over time.
Back in the days of Elvis Presley, skinny jeans were called drainpipes, since in comparison to other jeans of the time they made the wearer’s legs look not unlike drainpipes. Actually they look nothing like drainpipes today – the 1950s style by modern standards is hardly even a skinny jean style at all – more like a slightly close fitting style. According to Wikipedia, the style is also known as pegs, drainpipes, stovepipes, cigarette pants, pencil pants, skinny pants or skinnies.

The skinny style then reappeared around the time of Punk Rock in 1976/77. Prior to that, jeans had been getting wider and wider and had become flares. In some cases people wore flares that were an incredible 24″ circumference –  enough to fit round the waist of some people.  Then with the technology of Lycra, jeans got tighter and tighter, and by the mid-80s people were going round in jeans that bore more resemblance to ‘jeggings’ than to your Elvis Presley Rock’n’Roll denims.

Then – all things being cyclical in nature – jeans went baggy again. Legend has it that this trend started from a market stall in the underbelly of Manchester’s Arndale Centre – one of those retail spaces that sets trends by word of mouth. Soon, all the local kids were in flares and not long after, the entire country. Then it fizzled out and thing went back to normal.

The 90s wasn’t much of a style-led decade – companies like Gap and George At Asda sought to democratise fashion with cheap, utilitarian designs that would suit everyone. By the late 90s a kind of ‘anything goes’ culture had emergesd whereby some people wore flares, some bootcuts, and many opted for combat pants. For a short time it looked like the major denim lables had lost their way – designs with a spiral seam and other egregious designs abounded. Many just wore combats instead.

The move back towards skinny jeans started in earnest sometime in the early 2000s. But it never really took off until about a couple of years ago. This style is now de rigeur for hip kids from Austin, Texas to Berlin, Germany. Complete the look with a check shirt and a floppy quiff, and make for the live music scene!



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