Boot cut girl in a skinny jeans world
October 3, 2012 6:10 PM   Subscribe

The era of skinny women's jeans has been here for a while, but I've still got a closet full of my perfectly good boot-cut and flared jeans. Can I wear these judiciously (even among young people) without looking embarrassingly out-of-touch? If not, should I try to alter them, or is there a chance they'll come back into style in a year or two anyway?

I'm officially at the point where I have neither budget or time to shop for new jeans, and I need the help of some more fashion-enlightened Mefites to help me figure out how best to utilize the (late-nineties through-early-aughts) ones I've got. I hate the feel of tight pants, so I'd really like to just rock my well-worn boot-cut look, skinnies be damned. Alternatively, though, if absolutely necessary, I think I sew well enough to take in some of the jean legs to a straighter style, but that'd obviously (a) be a huge PITA and (b) mean I'm well and truly committed to the long-term skinny look, since alterations don't work the other way. Three questions, then:

(1) If you're someone who understands current U.S. fashion (at a regular suburban mall level-- not, like, Project Runway), exactly how unfashionable does an early-thirties woman look wearing looser or mildly flared jeans? Merely unremarkable, or painfully ridiculous? Should I be embarrassed to wear these things out and about, or at casual work functions with a younger population present?

(2) Anybody have a magical prophetic sense of how long the current skinny trend is likely to last? If I do alter my beloved, comfy boot cuts, will I be kicking myself when they go back to being way hot in like 2014?

(3) Is there such a thing as a classic or universally acceptable style for women's jeans? I'm starting to reach the age where people recommend ditching fads in favor of a core wardrobe of high-quality, "timeless" pieces, so if I ever do buy new jeans, I'd like to aim for that. But I have no idea what timeless would look like in denim.
posted by Bardolph to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (51 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, my resident 18- and 16-year-old skater-musician types are over skinny jeans, and these days wear normal slim-fitted jeans. No flares among the up-and-coming set but no more super-skinnies either.
posted by headnsouth at 6:16 PM on October 3, 2012

There's nothing wrong with boot cut jeans, and even the trendy places still sell them. They are flattering to pretty much everybody, so they're not going out of style anytime soon.

I do think flared styles look a bit dated now, though, so maybe tuck those away for a couple years til styles come back around.

Agreed that straight-leg styles are way in right now.
posted by ella wren at 6:18 PM on October 3, 2012 [10 favorites]

I'm a fashionable early-thirties woman who still wears mostly boot-cut jeans. The wash/styling is more important than the cut for stylishness. Skinny jeans are simply not universally flattering but boot cut jeans, in my opinion, are pretty classic and hard to complain too much about, as far as cut is concerned. Flare, on the other hand, can easily be out of style if there's much at all of it.

The accents are what make them unstylish. If they were, say, stone washed, or the wrong color (darker is better these days in general), or have the wrong accents (holes and wearing patterns really come and go) they can look really dated. Take a look at the colors and accents on other women's jeans, skinny or no, and see how close or far they are from those on your jeans. That will really answer your question best.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:18 PM on October 3, 2012 [12 favorites]

You could roll them (see #3 here).
posted by scody at 6:24 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Boot-cut is a classic. No one will bat an eye at your boot-cuts, especially if they are a sort of standard dark wash.

I'd lose the flares, though.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 6:36 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I agree with ch1x0r that it's the wash/style that makes or breaks whether you can still wear them. Darker is better.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely agree that straight-legs are in now, even more so probably than skinny jeans. Wash is crucial - dark wash is good.

But stay away from the flares or the wider-calved bootlegs for the time being, because they do honestly look dated at this point.

As for the future - I'm sort of obsessed with how fashions have been tracking with what was popular in the 80s and 90s. We seem to be moving pretty firmly on a "20 years ago" basis these days (ie, the return of the "grunge" look happened almost exactly after the initial "grunge" thing). If that's the case, you should expect ankles to start getting wider in a few years.
posted by lunasol at 6:39 PM on October 3, 2012

Mid-30s woman here who still rocks her Lucky brand boot cut jeans (I've been wearing the same style for 10 years now, the wash has gotten darker and I'm up a couple sizes, but I think they are still in style, because why else would Lucky still be selling them??)

And I agree with whoever said above that not everyone looks good in skinny or even straight leg jeans, but everyone looks good in a slight boot cut jean (no flares though, I have never liked flares, not even when they were in style). So keep the boot cuts, and if they're in a dark wash, wear them!
posted by echo0720 at 7:14 PM on October 3, 2012

I was you. I finally just bit the bullet and bought the mid-rise skinny jean at The Gap for $50 with a coupon (there are ALWAYS coupons online). I was skeptical, but it was worth it just so that I could get over the mental anguish of "how bad do I look in these flares??" side benefit, I now feel more comfortable rocking my boot cuts.
posted by samthemander at 7:17 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

My 40+ friends and I really feel that our boot-cut jeans are the new mom jeans.
posted by bluespark25 at 7:20 PM on October 3, 2012 [12 favorites]

Altering them is a great idea. You could wait a decade for the style to come back and it still might not. Start with the flared ones. As for the boot cut ones, it depends on how they look. Try them on and you should be able to tell instantly whether they're awesome or laughable. If you're not sure, model them for some stylish friends. It should be immediately obvious whether they're viable.

Also remember that you don't HAVE to wear all your clothes, so if you have enough jeans you love that are in style, you could also consider donating these ones to someone who needs them more.
posted by incandescentman at 7:27 PM on October 3, 2012

36 yo boot cut jean wearer here. I think as long as they fit well in the seat and the hips and are paired with the right footwear, you really can't go wrong - unless you are wearing vintage bellbottoms from the 70s.

Trends are great because they introduce new ideas into your wardrobe, but the key is to find the ones that work for you. Skinny jeans + curvy body with pronounced hips does not compute for me.
posted by Leezie at 7:36 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

It also depends on the shoes you're wearing with them! Oddly, I dislike wearing boots with my boot cut jeans but ballet flats or sneakers look really cute.
posted by missriss89 at 7:42 PM on October 3, 2012

I wear flares and boot cut and skinny jeans and I haven't a single fuck to give.
posted by elizardbits at 7:43 PM on October 3, 2012 [51 favorites]

I think (like most people are saying) with jeans, there's a big gulf between "really stylish" and "laughably dated" and most everyone wears the most flattering jeans they can find somewhere in between the two. And they're jeans, anyway, so that's what you're expected to do.

If the wash or color is like what you'd still see in a higher end department store and if there isn't some exaggerated feature, like whiskering or a flares or embroidery, that obviously comes from That Year When All the Trendy Jeans Looked Like That, no-one (except the On Trend people) will notice that you're wearing bootcut jeans when all the On Trend People are in skinny jeans.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:44 PM on October 3, 2012

Adding to the chorus that the bootcut--provided it's not too dramatic--won't turn heads, but the flares probably will. I actually noticed a women this morning, I'd say late 30s, early 40s, rocking bootcuts and it reminded me how flattering a shape that is.

If you want to sacrifice a pair for skinnying, use the flares. I used to skinny my jeans in the 80s, and just skinnied up a pair of capris this summer. Seriously, it's a 5 minute job. Threading the bobbin takes longer than the sewing.
posted by looli at 7:47 PM on October 3, 2012

Skinny jeans look terrible on me. I have great legs and in skinny jeans I look like the saddest pathetic nerd with twigs. I have never stopped wearing the boot cuts and nobody really cares. I don't even see that many girls in skinny jeans and I work at a college. I don't think they are as "popular" as we're supposed to think they are.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2012 [8 favorites]

exactly how unfashionable does an early-thirties woman look wearing looser or mildly flared jeans

I don't know that you'll look explicitly unfashionable, but you will possibly look older, and you will definitely look like you haven't been jeans shopping for 5+ years. Especially WRT flares.

Anybody have a magical prophetic sense of how long the current skinny trend is likely to last?

I keep thinking it's got to be over soon, but it keeps chugging on. I'm on my third pair of skinnies, and I held out for a long ass time. Next time you go jeans shopping, maybe try on some slimmer styles. At this point just about everyone under 50 is wearing them, so you can't really go wrong.

(BTW, you keep talking about having your jeans "altered". As far as I'm aware, unless you know a master tailor who is willing to work for free, this is not really feasible. Unless you mean "drawer full of cutoffs! Whee!")

Is there such a thing as a classic or universally acceptable style for women's jeans?

If you don't want to have a dog in this particular fight, go with a trouser style. It definitely looks a little more mature, but maybe mature in a good, put together sort of way. You should know, though, that at this point a slim tapered leg is not a "fad". Skinny jeans were a fad circa 2004. Now they're the dominant shape of almost all casual pants. Eventually it will bounce back, but seriously, it could be years. And even then, no guarantees that what is popular next will correspond with what's in your closet. Just buy jeans on occasion. Jeans that are the current style. It's OK. You will not explode.
posted by Sara C. at 7:53 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can totally 'alter' them. - Skip step 4.

If you hate it, rip out the seam.
Ta-da! Skinnies!
posted by msamye at 8:48 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Almost all of the 30- or 40-something women in my (very casual) office wear plain boot cut jeans. I've always favored straight-leg pants myself, even when my peers were wearing huge flares (my mother lamented my lack of trendiness when I was in middle school). I don't think you can go wrong with a basic pair of boot cut or straight leg jeans. I'd avoid flares or super skinny pants, but that may be an effect of personal taste.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 8:51 PM on October 3, 2012

I think it's a lot better looking to wear something that's in good condition that flatters your body than to try to match a trend you don't understand the nuance of and may not look good on you anyway. If you can legitimately wear these and think you are looking nicely put together and good, then wear them. If they're in the realm of classic and were never hyper-trendy (like big flares, super-low rise hip-hugging styles), it's likely that you look just fine.

Teenagers laugh at everybody anyway, so don't listen to them when it comes to style; they're just too scared to be different.
posted by Miko at 9:09 PM on October 3, 2012 [12 favorites]

When it comes to color, what is in? I know darker is better than lighter but is a mid wash totally unacceptable?
posted by rglass at 9:10 PM on October 3, 2012

Flares are pretty much the province of the older at this point; I remember the day I was standing in line at the mall at lunchtime, looking around at everyone's pants, and only women visibly thirtyish or older were wearing flared pants. Boot-cut jeans, too, seem to be for those in their late twenties and up—but that may also be because if you're like me, there's just no way you're gonna pull off skinny jeans without looking like you have peg legs and a giant butt. So I'd say boot-cut still seems OK.
posted by limeonaire at 9:16 PM on October 3, 2012

J. Crew, Banana Republic, The Limited, and Anthropologie are all selling at least a few boot-cut jeans along with the skinnies, if that's any indication of "regular suburban mall level" fashion for thirtyish-year-old professional women.
posted by Orinda at 9:16 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've never worn skinny jeans. I've always worn boot-cut jeans or straight-legged jeans. No one's said a word to me. Of course, I couldn't give a rat's ass if they did, but they haven't. My advice is, as always, wear what you're comfortable in and don't worry about fashion. It's more important to be comfortable than fashionable anyway. IMHO
posted by patheral at 9:26 PM on October 3, 2012

I'm 29 and I will probably never wear skinny jeans, they are just not flattering on me. I think boot-cuts will always be in style because they are generally flattering. As long as you are wearing ones that are flattering in general (I think there have been MeFi posts on how to find jeans that fit, a lot has to do with the pocket placement!), it doesn't matter if they are straight-leg, skinny, boot, etc. A lot of what constitutes the "mom-ness" of "mom jeans" is the awkward rise and ill-fitting-ness in general.

However I would steer clear of the mega-flares that were popular in the 70s then again in the late 90s.
posted by radioamy at 9:34 PM on October 3, 2012

Boot cut is totally fine, but flares... yeah, I wouldn't. They are very, very out right now. Like, as out as giant shoulder pads on blazers. As out as hypercolor shirts.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:36 PM on October 3, 2012

I always figured skinny jeans would look awful (hourglass, big thighs) and stuck to the boot cut for years. Until I moved and wanted to wear knee high boots over jeans - I stuck it out for a while but succumbed and now I love my skinnies. They aren't the super super skintight style, but reasonably skinny and I love them dressed up or down. I got rid of the bootcuts and now own a pair of black skinny jeans, darkwash skinny jeans (higher waisted) and wideleg midwash. I'm on the hunt for a dark wash wide leg, because I just find my old dark wash bootlegs to be...blah? Nothing special? I find them harder to balance with the rest of my outfit, harder to match shoes (although widelegs are worse) and not worth the effort. Not when I can wear just about any shoe with the skinnies, hike them up out of soggy footpaths, and cuff them however I want.

BUT as long as the jeans are dark wash, and not too flared, it's all good. I still get the darkwash bootlegs out over the midwash wide legs when I want to look a little more put together and my darkwash skinnies are dirty.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:46 PM on October 3, 2012

I know a lot of incredibly stylish young LA hipsters, and no lie, they are all wearing stonewashed, high-waisted mom jeans right now, even the dudes. The other day I saw an extremely hip guy I know in pleated pants. (I am also noticing that as pockets have become lower and lower on mainstream pants, leading-edge hipsters are going for higher and higher placement.)

I think the pendulum is going to swing. I think this because those same LA hipsters were wearing skinnies a couple of years before they went mainstream, and I thought to myself "Holy lord, these people look ridiculous, look how huge that guy's feet look compared to his pant legs!" but then I realized that they were style prophets and now I just watch them closely. I would guess, based on the hipster-skinnies>mainstream-skinnies time gap, in about two or three more years you'll start to see a mainstream return of mom jean style.

So I think that your bootcut jeans are totally fine, don't worry about it. Re: flares, I think that's shakier. I have also seen very, very hip people here in flares, but I think they are doing a very specific 70s-referential thing that may not be applicable to us mortals.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:47 PM on October 3, 2012 [10 favorites]

I just turned 30 so am in the right demographic, but either I am wildly out of touch or it doesn't matter so much in London, because while skinny jeans are very popular here, you'll also see many fashionable young women in bootcut jeans. No one tends to bat an eye.

Bootcut jeans are easy to find at all the major stores here, again not just the ones aimed at older women but the ones that women our age would tend to shop at - Topshop, River Island, New Look etc.

I am a pronounced pear shape and feel more comfortable and balanced out in bootcut jeans. I rarely wear skinny jeans, except when pairing them with boots and a long top. I do feel that you can totally make bootcut jeans work and not be seen as unfashionable. I mean, no one's ever said anything to me.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:30 AM on October 4, 2012

I think that wearing boot cut is definitely not fashionable. Those who say you 'can' wear them and/or 'fashion - be-damned are rather missing the point, are they not? (As in- not the question- presumably the OP is aware of the futility of fashion, given the question.)

I concur that it is not painfully unfashionable- I am 30 and I wouldn't think it horrifying but I would think you were young to be daggy (US translation: perhaps uncool?) already if you we're STILL skinny-jean resistant at this stage in the trend.

Re- hoping they'll come back- in my opinion this basically does not happen. For example, while leather is allegedly back, the leather jacket you bought in the 80s with the big cuffs and heavy collar is not. When fashion reinvents trends it does so in ways that are subtley but significantly different, presumably to ensure that people cannot simply recycle. Unless you are really cutting edge and willing to be the ironic dresser or the vintage person, and I'm thinking you're not (neither am I).

Take heart- the skinny has many variations and probably one will suit you to some reasonable extent.
posted by jojobobo at 3:43 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

The key to making bootcut jeans work in our current fashion environment is to make sure the other pieces you're wearing/carrying are up to date. For example, if you look at what the trendy young folk are wearing with their bootcuts at lookbook you'll notice a lot of clutches, chunky accessories, platform heels and looser, more upscale-looking tops than the slim-fit t-shirts of bootcut's most recent heyday. Usually, when someone's bootcut outfit draws my attention as being awkwardly unfashionable (as opposed to deliberately unfashionable, which is another thing entirely and not a bad one) it's because their shoes and tops are dated as well. Balance the untrendy with the trendy, basically.

Wash and wear are also important -- as jojobobo mentions, even when fashion cycles back around there are still changes, and the bootcuts today aren't the same as the bootcuts of yesteryear. If the jeans you have now aren't dark wash and crisp/new-ish looking, you're going to have a hard time making them look up to date unless you go for a self-consciously retro look, which is hard to pull off. "Timeless" is a misnomer; there are pieces which are always considered "classic" if not necessarily "trendy," but most of them still evolve over time. You may find if you try on a few pairs of 2012 bootcuts that they'll look better to your inner stylist than your older pairs. I also agree with the suggestion to try straight legs, which in my opinion fit more like bootcuts than skinny jeans around the hips and thighs.
posted by bettafish at 4:18 AM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Regular boot cut jeans aren't really out of fashion, imo. Maybe for 15 year olds they are, but is that what you're going for? Fashionably indistinct from a teenager? Flares are definitely out, but it's important to realize the difference. Are your jeans just bootcut (a very subtle widening of the leg starting at like mid calf or below) or are they truly flares (bellbottoms)? Straight leg also never goes out of style.
posted by katyggls at 4:25 AM on October 4, 2012

I think that wearing boot cut is definitely not fashionable. Those who say you 'can' wear them and/or 'fashion - be-damned are rather missing the point, are they not?

As one who's in and out of boots all damn day, I love bootcut jeans because they actually work. Bonus that they're flattering to my particular shape.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:25 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think this because those same LA hipsters were wearing skinnies a couple of years before they went mainstream

FWIW, the "mom jeans" described here are definitely still in the skinny mold. They're slim cut with legs that taper at the calf and ankle. They are emphatically NOT boot cut, and the absolute opposite of flared.

This is yet another reason I think the slim leg is here to stay. Even the next iteration of denim trend coming over the horizon is still in the genre of slim and tapered.

Next time you shop for jeans, please don't buy a flare. Boot cut can be OK, if you don't care much about fashion and want to be seen as a no-nonsense grownup who is worried more about the size of her ass than whether she's on trend. If you're going for more of a young 30's look as opposed to a maternal 30's look, you definitely need to just bite the bullet and get a slimmer cut.
posted by Sara C. at 5:15 AM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm with all the people voting for alteration or just buying a cheap pair of slim cut jeans. I've been wearing my boot cut / flared denim for 5 friggin years, waiting for skinny jeans to go out of style, because I felt that as a fat person I can't wear skinny jeans.

Last night I took the plunge, because whoever said that skinny/variations on skinny seem to be here to stay is right. And I look good! I feel comfortable (I bought them a size up from my usual size). And I actually fit in at the office for once.

I think the key is how much you care. You ARE going to stick out in boot cuts and you ARE going to look older than you are. If you don't care, rock the bootcuts! I bet you look great in them anyway.

If you do care: new jeans.
posted by AmandaA at 6:30 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly I feel like I've read recently that flares and boot cuts are coming back, which wouldn't surprise me; as a teen of the 90's I feel like I see youths wearing my old closet on a daily basis and bootcuts were kind of part of that uniform. I still wear them when I'm dressing casually with a t-shirt or something and no one points and laughs, and I really think hanging on to them will pay off sooner than you think if you want to be fashionable.
posted by itsonreserve at 7:05 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Timeless style is great, but by no means fashion-proof, so how you deal depends entirely on your tolerance for looking a little bit different. Trouser shapes are particularly prone to seasonal adjustment, but classic cuts rarely stay out of style for very long, and trends are so diverse at the moment that you can find just about any look you like represented on a fashion blog somewhere. If it fits and flatters, you can and should find a way to wear it.

So, about these jeans. Wide legged trousers have been hovering around the edges of high fashion for plenty long enough to hit the mainstream again before too long, and I have seen a few nice examples in denim. Interestingly, a search on the Sartorialist turns up nary a skinny jean, but at least one very glamorous reference to flares (caveat: towering heels obligatory).

Try updating the look with a clean, contemporary silhouette that anticipates upcoming trends. Some things to try: button-down shirts, waist-length blousons, tailored coats, sports jackets, breton shirts, structured belts, platforms, wedges, chunky knitwear and geometric patterns. I think I'd avoid anything too obviously boho for now, unless that's really your thing.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 7:26 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

BTW, you keep talking about having your jeans "altered". As far as I'm aware, unless you know a master tailor who is willing to work for free, this is not really feasible.

Doesn't take a master tailor. Back in the day, I used to take my straight-cut jeans to, like, the drycleaning guy (or the store alterations department) and have them "tapered" for ballpark $6/pair. Old school still works.
posted by acm at 8:26 AM on October 4, 2012

If the rest of your look is classic and more on the conservative side, then bootcut away. I'm sort of hoping they'll make a comeback, too, because I have mixed feelings about the way my ass looks in skinny jeans. Straight leg all the way!

I'm impressed that your jeans are a long-lasting, investment piece part of your wardrobe. I wear through jeans in a couple years at the most, but maybe I just have bony knees or I'm terrible at laundry. But if your jeans are worn out, that impacts your look more than the cut of your jeans. Sagging, washed out denim in any cut is not a good look.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2012

i work in a creative field, and even in that crowded fashion-conscious milieu, i'm known for having great style—and yes, agree with others above that boot cut and straight leg jeans will never go out of style, so if you never buy any other cut of jeans, those are the ones you want to stick with.
posted by violetk at 9:53 AM on October 4, 2012

Wear what looks good on you. I see people all day that look freakin' ridiculous in skinny jeans. It’s a style that doesn’t flatter most, yet too many feel the pull. If you’re wearing something classic that looks good on you no one is going to think you don’t look good. They may think you’re not a trend follower, but is that a bad thing? Boot cut women’s jeans are the classic, but only if they are classic and not covered with rhinestones or geegaws. Trendy and Classic are opposites; if it was trendy/hip a couple of years ago it’s not a classic now.

As far as all the people saying "skinny jeans have been around for years, they're here to stay", that’s pretty much the nail in the coffin; they’re not long for this world.
posted by bongo_x at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bootcut jeans are fine, skinny jeans are a more youthful style and really do only look good on a handful of body shapes, not all slim by any means. I'm slim and I look like a carrot in them unless I wear them with boots.

By the way if we're recycling 90s trends/ looking for the next hot thing it's going to be menswear inspired I'm already seeing these in stores and in photos. That was the style in the early 90s immediately after tapered leg 80s jeans. Then they got really low cut. Bootcut became widely popular in the mid to late 90s as part of the backlash against skater style and grunge about the time they started making "designer" jeans in longer inseams and darker washes designed to be worn over heels.

Before that only cowgirls wore bootcut jeans and they wore Wranglers in insanely long inseams stacked over Justins, it was a VERY country western look. Imho, bootcut has never been a "cool" style, it's always been a "I have no style but these make my butt look cute and they're inoffensive" kind of jean type. Which is why I wear them to work.
posted by fshgrl at 12:03 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

My vote would be to keep them. A recurring tendency in a lot of shows at Fashion Week was towards a roomier trouser with a higher, often pleated waist, and the appearance of a slight taper or else a wide flowing leg. Translated to jeans, I've seen this as a wide (sometimes very wide) straight leg, as well as the modified mom jeans mentioned above. I think we'll see much more width available by next fall.
posted by notquitemaryann at 12:17 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Skinnies (as in very tapered and skin-tight) are already on the way out on the runways, there are far more straight legs of both the wide and narrow type appearing, as well as skinny flares and flared pedal-pusher lengths. Pleats seem to be huge, they appear in many collections. It's not going to be a skin-tight jeans world for very much longer; narrow leg pants are now appearing with slight flares, knife pleats, and just generally anything but skin-tight. If you want to wear boot-cut, you could make them slightly skinner, or do as several people mentioned above and wear them with very updated tops and accessories.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2012

I own a pair of Seven jeans in a boot cut style. They're a dark wash and extremely flattering. I'd rather look great in a pair of jeans that aren't supposedly "in style" then look pathetic trying to pull off a trend that looks horrible on me.
posted by pecanpies at 2:18 PM on October 4, 2012

The jeans fshgrl linked to are called "boyfriend" jeans, and they've been popular on and off for a year or so. In fact, I was just jean shopping at Urban Outfitters (shut up) and that was one of the options. It's worth mentioning, though, that there were two types of boyfriend jeans and fifteen types of skinnies.

And, no, the horizon of flares people keep claiming is about to happen is just not happening yet. I see one or two people every now and again, in the trendiest NYC fashion circles, doing a sort of vintagey 70's rocker wide leg. My guess is that this will hit big in an "on trend"/"fashion forward" kind of way in fall 2013. It'll trickle down to suburbia somewhere around 2015.
posted by Sara C. at 4:35 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

70's jordache jeans are whats in now. Fashion is so stupid.
posted by couchdive at 5:05 PM on October 4, 2012

Elizabeth the Thirteenth and bongo_x have hit the nail on the head.

I am, right this minute, wearing a pair of flares so massively out of fashion that they were 50p in the bargain bin of my local thrift shop. They look amazing on me.

Mind you, I also have a pair of skinnies that I intend to wear over the upcoming months as part of a style theme I have going. I have to wear them quite carefully as I have short legs, which is also why the flares look so good. But I won't refrain from wearing them as soon as they fall out of mainstream favour.

Admittedly I am older, standing here in my flares, but then younger people don't always make great style choices for themselves. Circa 2009 a lot of the undergraduates were wearing black skinny jeans and ballet flats, and the majority of them looked like bees. Of course, their youth tended to offset their flaws.

Fashion-wise, I admit I don't really care what's in or out, as long as it's not so desperately out that it makes me look mentally impaired - as flares definitely did throughout the 80s. On the other hand, I do have a good handle on what I'm doing style-wise, and you know how your mom used to say brightly "Why not start a fashion for $desperately_unfashionable_thing_I'm_forcing_you_to_wear?" as you sobbed your way out the door to face your inevitable humiliation at school? I actually have been known to start fashions, though obviously not until a few years after school was out. Knowing what looks good on you, plus conviction, can go a long way.
posted by tel3path at 7:26 AM on October 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Bootcut is still OK, imo, but it won't look on-point. A wider trouser leg in a dark wash with a nice heel is better. Skinny jeans aren't so bad. I held out for a long time, but now that I own them I love wearing them with boots and feeling like a sophisticate, or a woodland pixie, or an American girl in her dungarees, or a tomboy, or whatever. The switch from the curve-accentuating bootcut/flares to the boyish-yet-sexy skinny cut is kind of refreshing. I also didn't wear the pair I bought for like 6 months because I thought they looked awful, but I was just overly self-conscious. Get someone to go shopping with you!
posted by stoneandstar at 2:15 AM on October 15, 2012

I read this thread yesterday and then on my commute this morning I happened to keep an eye out for women wearing jeans that didn't fit the skinny silouhette. I live in a large city with a fairly cosmopolitan population. The only women I saw wearing 'un-skinny' jean styles looked to be aged 40+.

It's true that no one has to wear the latest fashions in this day and age, and you can really wear whatever you like in public in most major cities without anyone batting an eyelid. But if you'd like to avoid looking older than your years, it makes sense to avoid wearing obviously out-of-date clothes.

The last time I remember bootcut jeans being fashionable was around 2002. So they've been 'out' for nearly 10 years now. I'm not advocating slavish following of fashion from season to season, but moving with the fashion times in at least a very broad sense will stop you looking out-of-touch.

It may be true that other jeans styles are on the way back in, but it usually takes awhile for these sorts of new trends to take off in the mainstream and the early adopters will probably be super-young, super-hip types. It's also true as jojobobo and bettafish mentioned that most clothes styles which make a fashion comeback look slightly different from their original versions. So even if the shape of your jeans comes back into style, they'll probably still look dated in some way.

I would spend your money on a couple of new pairs of jeans, which would probably not cost much more than getting your existing pairs altered.
posted by RubyScarlet at 5:44 PM on November 1, 2012

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