The Skinny Jean Debate

May 21, 2006 • Magazine

The Skinny Jean Debate

The Skinny Jean Debate

Sun, 2006-05-21 22:00

Lauren Dimet

And so it wages… skinny leg versus boot cut. The skinny jean is huge on both coasts and has yet to take root in Chicago. Before you breath a sigh of relief, you should know that they are back for fall 2006 so you are going to have to deal with them. These are not your 80’s pegged legged jeans. What makes them different? Mainly, stretch. Skinny jeans are narrower in the thigh, knee and most importantly in the ankle area. They can be very tapered or a straight leg. So you don’t necessarily have to be ultra skinny to wear skinny jeans, but if you are really curvy, you may want to avoid them and stick to boot cut. Paired with a stiletto or wedge heel, skinny jeans can add inches to your visual height, and a tunic can camouflage the hips and accentuate below the knee.

“For so many years, boot-cut jeans were it,” says Lucky fashion director Hope Greenberg. “It was the one thing that almost every woman went to. Boot cut is universally flattering, but the trend had to go somewhere else. ” Designers Nicolas Ghesquiere, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney have included skinny jeans in their collections for the past two seasons, but the look is just beginning to intrigue mainstream America.

Renee Roman, market analyst with The Doneger Group, said the new look is still on its upswing and will have legs well into next year. “I think we’ve saturated that romantic, bohemian thing,” she said, referring to the loose silhouettes of the past few years. “This is a major shift that’s going to go through all levels (of retail).”

Everyone wants in on the action, from high-end designers like Dolce & Gabbana, which was on to the trend early, to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which plans to start selling skinny jeans this summer for less than $19.
Then there’s pencil envy. Super-thin celebrities in super-skinny jeans — Kate Moss, Nicole Richie, Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightley — are helping to drive the trend. Now you hear descriptions that include; drainpipe, stovepipe and cigarette.

I conducted my own skinny jean torture test in a dressing room at Saks in NYC not so long ago. I am not very curvy on the bottom, but due to years of spinning, I have muscular legs which I can be self-conscious about. I tried on probably 12 pairs and here is what I found; you may have to go up a size, so deal with it. I was a little bummed, but such is life. The other rule of thumb is… go dark. If you don’t want to draw attention to your liabilities, stick with colors like, midnight and black.

Here are a list of skinny jean brands, many of which I have tried on. I will reveal my favorites at the end.

J Brand Cigarette Leg, Pencil Leg or Super Skinny
Tsubi Lean Bean or Super Skinny
sass&bide Misfits or Stovepipe
Earnest Sewn Harlan Straight Leg or Cigarette
Miss Sixty J-lot
Paige Premium Denim Skinny Stretch
Siwy Rose, Michelle or Cropped Hannah
Levi’s Skinny 503 Jeans
Beyoncé’s House of Deron Skinny
Seven for All Mankind Roxy Skinny
True Religion Johnny Stretch Jean
Rock & Republic Costello
Union Rose Stretch Straight Leg Jean
Goldsign Envy Straight Leg or Misfit Super Skinny
James Jeans Tom Straight

My conclusion? Levi’s skinny, you may have to go up two sizes because they are cut for teenagers with no hips. Two sizes are more than I can mentally handle. J Brand was a little too restrictive. I felt like I was wearing a jean corset. I will never wear any jean made by Beyonce and I don’t care for the pocket detail so I skipped those. True Religions have never fit me well. Seven for all Mankind I am just over. I love Goldsign jeans, but they dip a little too low in the back and let’s face it, past a certain age (10) nobody wants to see your assets. The Paige jeans fit wonderfully, but I didn’t love my reflection in the mirror. James Jeans are fantastic if you have some extra junk in the trunk.

Then I tried a pair that the sales person brought me that I never would have picked up on my own. I swear the skies parted and a ray of light shined down brightly on the amazing bod staring back at me in the mirror. I heard music and birds chirping. I had found the PERFECT skinny jean… Siwy. Ahh. The back is seriously higher than the front, they are comfortable, the pockets seem to lift your rear, they forgive a multitude of sins with strategic seaming, they make your legs appear longer and most importantly, they make you skinny. They are the Michelle, Hannah or Rose jean by Siwy. Famous fans include; Selma Blair, Nicole Richie, Kate Hudson and Naomi Campbell.

Siwy jeans are available in Chicago at: Language, Lili Boutique, Active Endeavors and E Street Denim
Online: Revolve Clothing, Shop Intuition, Iris Singer, Blaec

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