In the last few months, a key item in many women’s wardrobes has fallen foul of the fashion police – namely, skinny jeans. Ever since Gen Z started posting Tik-Toks encouraging followers to “burn” their skinnies, millennials everywhere have started to feel a lot less comfortable in the jeans they’ve been wearing every weekend since 2003.
But as mamamia founder Mia Freedman discovered when she embarked on an epic jeans search recently, moving on just isn’t that easy. Particularly if the ‘new’ jeans shapes closely resemble those your mum (or you) wore in the ’90s.
“Once you have a few memories (or possibly regrets, as I’m starting to understand) associated with a trend, it’s hard to see it in a fresh light,” says stylist Lucy Wood, who selected the jeans for this story. “Also, you can become attached to your favourite pair, which have become comfier over the years, making it hard to put them aside in favour of something new.”
But fashion is nothing without change, and straight-leg jeans – and even flares – are surprisingly versatile, once you’ve selected the right fit, adds Lucy. “I’d suggest a straight-leg jean that has a more tapered leg around the ankle, if you’re not ready to depart too far from your beloved skinnies. This will still give you a very different look.”
Styling the classic blue jean
“I’ve been loving the iconic images of Princess Diana that have been circling online recently,” says Lucy. “She loved a straight leg and showed how versatile they are.
If you’re ready to channel Di (and frankly, who isn’t), Lucy suggests pairing a straight-leg blue jean with a retro-style sneaker, such as Converse, New Balance or Reebok. “Pair with an oversized tee or sweater, with a trench over the top.” A slightly cropped jean looks great with a tall ankle boot, with a cropped turtleneck and cocoon coat for extra warmth if you’re in Melbourne.
Once you’ve come to terms with the idea of washing them after every wear, white jeans are a great basic to have in your wardrobe, particularly coming into Spring.
“I love them styled tonally, with neutral shades of brown, or you can keep it monochrome with a black top and accessories,” says Lucy. Yes, most of us are at home in track pants now, but the time will come when we emerge from our homes in sparkling white denim.
Embrace the width
A true straight-leg jean will be wider at the ankle, which balances the leg nicely, says Lucy. “Personally, I find that more flattering than a skinny. After you’ve worn your jeans a few times and they’ve given a little, I recommend getting them tailored at the waist to balance the width in the leg.”
Width at the ankle means more footwear options, she adds. “Proportionally, they look just as good with a summery sandal as a chunky boot.”