Save the Skinnies

by Marissa Marangoni

You know what I’m tired of hearing about right now? Generation Z’s dislike of side parts and skinny jeans. I don’t care about the dislike. People are free to love or hate whatever they want when it comes to hair and fashion. I can’t do a whole lot about my hair. I’m going to continue parting my hair where it falls, which is wherever it wants because I can’t tell my hair what to do. It tells me what it’s doing, and I’m just along for the ride.

So why am I talking about this? Well, here’s the problem: I am afraid of the death of my favorite pants. I am afraid that when I need new ones in the future, I will not be able to find them. I’m afraid that I will be forced to wear these new styles that seem to be taking over just to fit in, and I don’t want to do that.  

I’ve worked really hard over the years to fit in fashion-wise, and while I make no claims to be good at it, I’ve come up with a sort of style of my own that occasionally makes me feel like I’ve made an effort with my appearance and that I look like everyone else. I know, I know, dress for yourself and all that, I shouldn’t care about fitting in. In theory, that’s lovely. If you are a person who can do that, lucky you. I, however, have too many things that make me stand out without adding my appearance to the list. I prefer to control the one thing within my ability that lets me blend in. Plus, there’s the added benefit that my jeans make me feel good about myself, and I don’t want to let go of that. It took me too long to get here.

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I know that the new “mom jeans” (I’m sorry about the quotes, but I object to the name) make other people feel good about themselves—and hey, if that’s your thing, wear the heck out of them. I know that the resurgence of these, plus wide legs, flares and bootcuts, is making a lot of people happy. It’s even going to let some people embrace their 1990s nostalgia. I lived in these jeans, but I’m more nostalgic for, say, Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar and homecoming dresses from Deb’s. I liked those wide-leg jeans, the flares and the bootcuts when I was wearing them. I do not recall feeling great in them, though, and I do not like them now. Please do not make me wear these things again. I like to see my shoes.

I was a skinny jeans/jeggings holdout for probably about a year after they appeared in the general public. I remember putting a pair on for the first time, looking down, and the experience of seeing my shoes being rather disconcerting. No one I went to school with saw their shoes from middle school on, and suddenly, after approximately 10 years, there they were. I looked down, saw my shoes and shuddered because suddenly my feet looked big. I was fully aware that my size 6 feet were not big, but it was a rough adjustment. 

Once I made the adjustment, however, I was happy. I got to show off my shoes. I like my shoes. In fact, thanks to an 11-year part-time job at a shoe store, I love shoes, and I look longingly at mine daily when I walk into the breezeway to feed the dogs and then never leave the house to necessitate the need to wear any of them. When we can finally go back out into the world and see people, I want my shoes on display.

Anyway, I didn’t make the skinny jeans adjustment to have to return to the former situation, where all my footwear was hidden by dragging jeans that were often soaked in salt and water up to my knees because I was 5’2, buying short pants wasn’t a thing, and I lived in Ohio. 

With all that said, I have a plea for clothing designers: please leave the skinny jeans and jeggings. For my friends, please leave the leggings, too. I can go without the last ones, but I do like them. I just have an incredible love for jeans—and always have—and while I could go back to bootcut, maybe, I don’t think I can do the others…Except I would. I would wear them all again to look like everyone else. And I would be sad doing it.

You know, that plea is probably not actually for clothing designers. It’s probably for people like you: please keep buying skinny jeans. I guess my actual plea to clothing designers is to stop calling jeans “mom jeans.” The phrase was originally used in a derogatory manner. And while I guess it’s “cute” to call them that as a little act of rebellion or something or other, the jeans your moms are actually wearing right now are skinny. 

If we really must bring back the 90s, let’s go with claw clips and glitter. And, for the love of all things holy, please let those putrid-smelling fisherman sandals whose stench preceded a kid’s entrance to the band room stay dead forever. 

I suppose I can’t speak for all of us, but I know a lot of us who lived the 90s don’t want the 90s fashion back. Gen Z, you can have it. But when you have some extra cash lying around, please consider purchasing skinny jeans as a contribution to the movement I am announcing today: Save the Skinnies. You can send the jeans directly to me — I’m a size 6 short — or just make a financial contribution, and I will purchase the jeans myself and ship them to a 30-something in need.

Marissa is the co-author of Urine Luck, but sometimes she writes about things other than bathrooms. Marissa has been writing for the Devil Strip since August of 2015.

Photo provided by Marissa Marangoni