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Don’t hate me if I’m pleased skinny jeans are back

They’re baaaack: Alexa Chung in a pair of skinny jeans in 2014 (iStock/Getty)
They’re baaaack: Alexa Chung in a pair of skinny jeans in 2014 (iStock/Getty)

There aren’t many things I’m ashamed to say out loud. Body insecurities, financial concerns, embarrassing dating stories... all are fair game as far as I’m concerned, hence why you’ll often find me writing about them for this very publication. But one thing I am truly terrified to admit? Skinny jeans are back – and I’m delighted.

To most people, not just those working in fashion, this is one of the worst sartorial sins anyone can commit. Unflattering, too tight, and generally deemed deeply uncool, skinny jeans are not so much an item of clothing as they are a cipher for a certain type of person. The type of person who sources wardrobe ideas from catalogues and earnestly uses the word “trendy”. The type of person who adores anything with a visible label and thinks wearing band T-shirts makes them look younger. The type of person who, as The Devil Wears Prada’s terrifying fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly would put it, has “no style or sense of fashion”.

Because amid the resurgence of Nineties and Noughties trends – crop tops, slip dresses, dungarees – that we’ve seen proliferating on the runways for several seasons, there has been one notable absence. At least there was, until now. Cue British Vogue’s declaration earlier this month that “the skinny jean is back!”

“It’s not far off on the horizon,” said Paige Adams-Geller, co-founder and creative director of Paige, her eponymous denim brand. “Equally, high rises are all the rage now, but they are about to get lower.”

Indeed, shortly after the above article was published, the theory that skinny jeans were coming back was confirmed by none other than fashion’s perpetual It-girl, Kate Moss, who stepped out in a pair while doing a spot of shopping in the Cotswolds. Teaming the low-rise, mid-denim pair with black ballet pumps and a long-sleeved Vivienne Westwood blouse, the 50-year-old model was walking proof that skinny jeans have officially been revived from the fashion graveyard.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, look to the autumn/winter 2024 shows, where many a pair of pins stomped down the runway in slim-fitting denim. Seán McGirr marked his high-profile debut at Alexander McQueen by wrapping denim ribbons around the legs of flared jeans, giving them a distinctly skinny structure. Meanwhile, at Balenciaga, models wore tight jeans that had been tucked into knee-high boots – a combination that was last on-trend in the late Noughties.

Even Miu Miu – arguably the cool girl designer of the moment, with a front row that included everyone from Sydney Sweeney and Lorde to Myha’la Herrold and Paloma Elsesser – has got involved, serving up pairs of low-rise skinnies worn with belts and brogues à la 2004. What’s going on?

Perhaps the skinny jean return is the inevitable conclusion of fashion’s Y2K fetish. Or a delayed symptom of Indie Sleaze, the return of the grungey, grimy aesthetic championed by Moss and boys in bands in the mid-2000s. It could also be celebrity influence – alongside Moss, we’ve seen Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid and Gisele all sporting the style in recent months. Whatever it is, I’m here for it. Even if it’s just me and the aforementioned bevvy of models in on the fun.

‘They give your body shape, structure and form in a way that other jeans styles do not’ (iStock)
‘They give your body shape, structure and form in a way that other jeans styles do not’ (iStock)

My justifications are varied. First and foremost, skinny jeans fit me better. I tried very hard to get in on the mom jean trend. I like the way they look on other women, particularly when they find a pair that fits well. But despite all my changing room tantrums, I have yet to purchase a pair that stands the test of time. They might fit OK to begin with – but then the denim wears, and after a few washes, the shape is entirely different.

My body type just doesn’t quite work for wide-leg styles, either. I’m too big in some places and too small in others to make a normal dress size work for me. I’ve toyed with straight-legs, but they flatten my bum. I’ve flirted with flares, but my 5ft 6in frame means I often need heels to make them work – which is a problem for my flat, slightly wonky feet. With skinny jeans, though, these problems vanish; the drainpipe look simply nips you in at the waist, curves around your behind and slivers straight down again, hugging your thighs and calves. They give your body shape, structure and form in a way that other jeans styles do not.

They look great with boots – knee-highs, Dr Martens, or literally any other kind – and, because of how they cling to you, they ensure that your legs always look elongated. Plus they’re perfect with trainers, loafers and other orthopaedic styles (for my fellow flat-footed girlies). What’s not to love?

You can also wear them with pretty much anything. An oversized blazer? It’s day-to-night! A cosy cardigan? You’re Katie Holmes! A breton top? You’re French! Truly, a skinny jean is the most versatile item in any woman’s wardrobe. It’s also seasonless; you can wear them in winter to offset all the layers keeping you warm up top, while a summer’s day gives you the opportunity to couple them with a flimsy silk vest. The options are as endless as your wardrobe.

So yes, skinny jeans are back – and frankly, I couldn’t be happier. Sure, the sceptics among you may gawp and guffaw. But give it a few months and you’ll be singing a different tune. Remember: when it comes to reviving once-relegated trends, fashion has form. How else do you explain the resurgence of Uggs, Crocs and Birkenstocks? I’ll see you in your skinnies on the other side.