Who knew a new pair of jeans could prompt so many questions. At 40-plus, I’ve been sliding into skinny jeans day-in, day-out for at least the past four years. But today I put on a pair of boyfriend jeans, the baggy, just rolled out of bed slouchy denim look of the moment. What are these jeans? Turn around. How did you choose your size? What are you meant to wear with them? The questions came thick and fast from skinny and boot-cut wearing mamas in my midst.
I believe it was Katie Holmes who rejuvenated the “boyfriend” label after she was spotted running around New York way back in 2008 in oversized, scruffy jeans that may well have been borrowed from husband Tom Cruise. All the usual celebs from Jennifer Aniston to Lindsay Lohan have been seen wearing them since, and with spring lines hitting the stores, so-called boyfriend jeans look to have nudged skinny jeans to the side, at least temporarily. I dismissed the new trend a few months back when I tried the Gap version. I looked about four-foot-nothing, with tree stumps for legs. They were the most unflattering jeans I had worn in ages. But some of the more recent version are cut slimmer and definitely work better, even for the height challenged. And never mind the look for now; it’s all about the comfort. A day in my newest jeans was something of a denim renaissance. After the shackles of skinny jeans, at last I could move freely; my ankles weren’t in a vice, there were no seam imprints running down my calves, and the proportion works really well with skinny tees and long, boyish cardigans.
Right now I’m coveting a pair of Current Elliott cropped boyfriend jeans but balk at paying $200 plus for daily denim. Instead, I went for Zara’s $59 version in a worn blue wash. Urban Outfitters has some too around $58, and also offers a slim boyfriend cut, which is basically less baggy but still straight from hip to ankle. It’s been awhile since I was anywhere near a boyfriend’s jeans but I guess they must always have jeans with holes, or at least fraying, because that’s the most typical finish I’ve seen so far. As for how to wear them; there are a couple of things to remember; firstly, they must be turned up at the cuff to convey the look and avoid just looking shapeless. And secondly, with all that androgyny below the waist, something fitted and feminine works best on top. With shoes, anything goes. I like a heel with the cropped jeans, and for the ankle-grazing cuts, something girly like a ballet flat, beachcomber-esque like Keds, or even ankle-high boots work.
Far be it from me to dismiss skinny jeans altogether; there is a place for them, tucked into boots, under a swingy jacket or with tunics and sneakers. Leggings, too, fall into the skinny class. But I realized I may have gone too far into the skinny thing when my four year old daughter proclaimed that she will only ever wear skinnies. “I don’t like jeans that open at the bottom, like daddy’s,” she announced while dressing for school one morning. She hasn’t voiced and opinion on the new boyfriend jeans yet.