The nail in the coffin of what could be the end of the skinny jean was Victoria Beckham’s bow at her New York Fashion Week show. The former poster girl for skin-pinching skinnies wore a baggy pair of loose linen trousers with sandals that seemed to signal the end of the closely cropped silhouette. Although Beckham wasn’t wearing jeans, the message was clear: as soon as the skinny jean became the new normal, fashion got bored and moved on.
The designer’s trouser choice chimed with where jeans have been heading for a while. In terms of life cycles, the skinny jean has been gradually succeeded by a baggier, softer silhouette. First came the dysfunctional family of jeans (the boyfriend and the mom), then the crop step and the Vetements-style deconstructed jean. Unlike the spider-like skinny, these jeans are wider and looser. Less OMJeggings and more chic Garçonne.
But the rise of athleisure and the Monica Rose/Kardashian look has seen a sharper focus on a fit of denim that is more body conscious. Not skinny but sculpted, like the wedgie, which rose to prominence earlier this year.
Khloe Kardashian’s collaboration with Good American jeans points to this new look: figure-hugging yet inclusive, taking the emphasis away from a sculptured high-fashion look and towards an emphasis on comfortable chic, having your skinny cake and eating it, too. Well not eating it, but definitely take a Instagram friendly photo of it at least. The bodycon jean significantly plays to the athleisure crowd, made to replicate the relaxed feel of the trackie bottom/Lululemon yoga pant, highlighted by the fabric blends (cotton, wool, linen), which give a softer feel. Post-skinny jean, the bodycon jean is a perfect hybrid for now – half athleisure half figure hugger.