Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lean jeans leave you breathless

In fashion's no-mercy world, skinny styles are back

Los Angeles Times

Your butt's not getting bigger -- jeans are getting smaller.

Just ask shopper Lisa Korn, who is doing a torturous tango with skinny new jeans at a Los Angeles shop.

She tugs at the garment, performs deep knee-bends in front of the mirror, and even hoists herself on a display table to see whether the jeans dip too low in the back when she sits.

"I'm dying," she groans. "Even in a (European size) 28, I'm dying."

In the no-mercy world of fashion, skinny jeans are back. Some styles are essentially denim leggings -- slim all over and tapered to just 5 inches across at the ankle. They should come with a warning label: Objects in mirror are even tighter than they appear.

The factors driving the trend are practical and, well, not.

With the rising popularity of dress-casual boots, women want jeans that won't hide the $300 or more they have invested in their footwear.

Super-thin celebrities in super-thin britches -- Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightley -- are helping to drive the trend.

Everyone wants a piece of the action, from high-end designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, which was on to the trend early, to Wal-Mart, which will sell skinny jeans this summer for less than $19.

Influential industry analyst Marshal Cohen fears that many women will buy into the hype when they should really hold back. "Does anyone look in the mirror before they go out wearing some of these things?"

Men are being targeted, too. Premium denim leader 7 for All Mankind, which began selling narrow jeans in Europe a year ago, introduced its Slimmy line for men last fall and now has a style that's even slimmer.

It was young men who helped relaunch the trend at Levi Strauss & Co.

About three years ago, the San Francisco company noticed a subculture of "young rock 'n' roll guys" wearing narrow pants at music festivals, spokeswoman Amy Jasmer said. To get the look they were after, some bought girls' pants, which they dubbed "GPs."

Skinny jeans will represent a small percentage of the $12.5 billion-a-year U.S. jeans market, industry insiders predict. The boot cut will probably remain the favorite.


  1. Ewwww...I cut all my tapered jeans up the sides back in high school 8-9 years ago so that my jeans would go over my shoes and I'd look cool. I AM NOT EVER going back to wearing tapered jeans. Ever. I don't give a flying crap how cool they become. Toss them in the corner with gaucho pants and sweater coats...never ever!!

  2. I hate tapered leg pants too. They make my feet look too big.