Rigid, 100 per cent cotton denim jeans – the original androgynous utility staple – have been overlooked during the decade-long rise of stretchy, spray-on skinnies. How did these clingy, wafer-thin, denim-ish imposters, which are not actually jeans, achieve world domination? They fed our weakest desires for a teenage sort of comfort and provided the illusion of a lean figure, instantly. Somehow it had become acceptable to wear a pair of mock-denim leggings with belt loops and fake rips at the knees outside the house for the sake of that streamlined silhouette. Impatience also played a part.
I say played, because we’re calling time on ultra-stretch “jeans” right here, right now. While firm, dude-ranch denim (as worn by Betty Grable) or love-worn Levi’s only give out after a “six-month rite of passage”, skinnies are fast friends, says Jonathan Cheung, head of design at Levi’s and a jeans soothsayer. Don’t get me wrong; there are days (OK, Sundays) when we all seek out the forgiving, comfortable fit that only black (or rather greying) elastane can offer.