Battle Of The Denim – TikTok’s Generation War

Tik Tok Has Decided Skinny Jeans Are Over, But I’m With Millenials On This One.

Hair side-parted? Legs coated in skinny jeans? Using the laugh-cry emoji whilst wearing yoga pants, but calling them “yoga pants” instead of ‘flared leggings‘? Sorry – Gen-Z has decided you’re now un-cool.

The social media app that has over 1 billion downloads on Google Play, and millions of users has incited a generation war between Gen-Zers and Gen-Yers. Millenials (anyone aged between mid 20s-late 30s) have been vilified for characteristics such as wearing their parting to the side, and the most controversial of them all: skinny jeans. The latter is among the onslaught of items the internet’s deemed ‘un-fit for purpose’.

Contrary to belief, skinny jeans are a fairly new phenomenon. The 70s had flares. The 80s, mom. The 90s, bootcut. And then the 2000s happened. As the new millennium rolled over, so did denim trends as we knew them to be. A new cut was on the market – and it was as unforgiving as its name sounded. Pioneered by Dior‘s 2005 AW collection, and popularised by Indie bands of the era, if you owned a pair of the new-found denim silhouette, you were on the highway to coolness. It’s true origins are still in question, though. Writer – Marie Southard Ospina makes an interesting observation in Refinery29. Like with many trademarks of alternative communities, it was originally Emos, Scene Kids, and self-confessed alt-kids who wore skinny jeans, before it became gentrified by- well, normal people.

The Strokes

Whilst some content creators may be taking the debate to the extreme (note individuals favouring homelessness over wearing skinny jeans, and urging everyone to burn their much-hated denim), there are some valid points veiled in the hysteria..? Unless they have an inordinate amount of elastane in them, they’re probably not worth the workout to squeeze into. We’ve spent the best part of 2020 in loungwear and PJs – there’s no longer a willingness to forgo comfort in clothes. However, this runs deeper than a question of comfortability. For so long, body size has determined what is admissible for women to wear. The media has glorified size 0 models on and off the catwalk, while marginalised bodies (plus-size and curvy body types, to be specific) have been told skinny jeans are not for them. When said marginalised bodies discovered in the late 00s/early teens that they too can embrace the skinny jean trend, it was not only life changing style-wise: it was the first time they felt validated. Whilst Gen-Z’s love for baggy jeans and hate for skinnies is rooted in the generation’s impenitent fight for equality and inclusivity, it’s still important to acknowledge what skinny jeans have achieved for plus size women.

Credit: Shop Tunnel Vision

Reasons Why Skinnies Are Better Than Baggies:

  • (Now) retail in a wide-variety of sizes, lengths, leg inseams, washes and price-points. Loose-fitting, boyfriend jeans aren’t as accessible and available
  • Versatile – can easily be worn as work and casual attire, then dressed up for eveningwear
  • Sexy…like super sexy. The figure enhancing fit makes everything from the waist down a walking bombshell
Credit: Getty Images

Reasons Why Baggies Are Better Than Skinnies:

  • Effortlessly cool – gives off that nostalgic skater vibe without even having to try
  • Very comfy – think valance sheets for your legs
  • Because It-Girls Bella & Hailey say they are…?
Credit: Splash News


RE/DONE Comfort Stretch High Rise Ankle Crop£260

RIVER ISLAND Blue Ripped Mid Rise Skinny Jean£45

PAIGE Margot Skinny Jeans£230

GAP High Rise True Skinny Jeans With Secret Smoothing Pockets£54.95

CALVIN KLEIN Plus Size High Rise Skinny Jeans£90

FRAME Le High Skinny Jeans£215

LEVI’S Womens 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans£84


R13 Jane Rigid High Rise Wide Leg Jeans£460

ZARA Wide Leg Full Length Jeans£29.99

EYTYS Benz Jeans£230

MISSGUIDED Recycled Plus Size Blue Distressed Baggy Boyfriend Jeans£24.75

URBAN OUTFITTERS BDG Two Tone Wide Leg Puddle Jeans£55

WEEKDAY Ray Low Wide Jeans£50

SHEIN High Waisted Distressed Baggy Jeans£20.49

TOPSHOP Oversized Mom Jeans£29.99

The decline of the skinny jean and what actually spurred it on may forever be a mystery. Whether it’s a collective change in consumer behaviour, or because Luka Sabbat decides they’re not it, it’s safe to say in the age of on-going Lee & Levi collaborations, skinny jeans are officially over. Fashion trends will always be cyclical; we expect to see it returning in seasons to come. Which leaves me concluding this article with a lingering question: why is there such an age divide when it comes to those under 40? Could it be that the side-by-side age groups are worlds (and lifestyles) apart? Or could it be that Gen-Z are too – judgy, and Millennials are too – jealous? One thing that’s certain is I’m not throwing out my skinnies, and I’m buying another pair of wide-legs.

Words By Charis Crawford Corri – Fashion Director

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