It’s official. Gen Z has cancelled skinny jeans.
The skinny jean is a staple in every millennial closet, but it seems the trend has met its match. A scroll through the ‘for you page’ on TikTok will show you that the latest trendsetters on social media are throwing out skinny jeans and going for looser options. Most of the Gen Zers are telling you to throw your favorite denim jeans straight in the bin. Before you burn your skinny jeans, we want to tell you about the future of denim jeans and pant trends for 2021.
Spoiler alert: it's all about wide silhouettes.
The skinny jean has been in vogue since the early 2000s after the mom jeans, and the low-rise denim had their day in the sun. Over the last year, our go-to jeans have been sitting at the back of our closet. Although jeans will never go out of style, certain silhouettes always go in and out of vogue.
While you might want to keep wearing your skinny denim jeans, you can expect to see their popularity take a drastic hit in the months to come. Gen Z is now calling the shots in the fashion world. They have even reclaimed yoga pants as ‘flared pants’, bringing back a trend we thought was forever lost in the mid-2000s.
The reality is that thanks to the pandemic, our fashion choices have taken a drastic u-turn. As we are all working from home and spending more time indoors, our focus has shifted from body-hugging garments to a looser fit. After all, we are practically living in our loungewear 24/7.
If you want the slim fit of skinny jeans without being seen as wearing last season’s trends, opt for a pair of cigarette jeans. The denim will still accentuate your curves without you losing the ability to move in your jeans.
Bootcut jeans are a step up from the jogging pants that are having a resurgence thanks to the pandemic. We’ve all seen the Juicy Couture velour tracksuits making a comeback on our Instagram feeds. Their population is due to Gen Z, who are discovering the trends of the early 2000s for the first time. Bootcut jeans give you the comfort of jogging bottoms while still being slimming. They are a definite trend for Spring/Summer 2021.
We expect future denim trends to focus on wide-leg jeans. Think of the styles you would see characters wearing in an 80s movie. The baggier the cut, the better.
Along with changing silhouettes, jean trends are going to focus on the colours of 80s. You’ll be seeing more distressed denim with patchwork and light acid washes. Denim with a little extra stretch and comfort is what you’ll be looking for in 2021.
Not everyone is comfortable wearing a wider fitting silhouette, and if you want something in between a skinny jean and a wide leg, choose a straight fit. After months of living in loungewear, no one is in a rush to go back to the days of struggling to breathe in tight-fitting jeans.
Along with the rise of curtain bangs, the 1970s influence everywhere in fashion. High-waisted pants are in. It's time for your low-rise jeans to go to the back of your closet. Paper-bag waist pants are comfy without compromising on style. If jeans aren’t your thing, you can find this silhouette in almost every fabric. If you want to make a statement, don’t afraid to choose a pair in a bold colour palette.
Speaking of wider silhouettes, it’s time to dig out your dad’s vintage chinos. Fashion trends are taking inspiration from workwear, whether it’s with utility jackets or Doc Marten boots. Chinos bring together comfort and versatility, making them easy to style and carefree to wear.
Another trend to keep your eye on is sustainability. Whether you’re Gen Z or a millennial, chances are you’re thinking about your carbon footprint. Whether it’s looking for ethical fashion brands or buying pre-loved, there are countless ways you can shop sustainably. We’re all becoming more aware of the dangers of fast fashion and how jeans are one of the most polluting pieces of clothing that the industry produces. Future denim trends are pointing towards more patchwork denim, with brands reusing deadstock to cut down on waste.
You can expect to see more brands pushing their sustainability message and choosing to use eco-friendly and recycled materials to produce their pants. If you’re looking to create a sustainable wardrobe, vote with your wallet and buy ethical jeans.
While it’s Gen Z’s backlash at the skinny jean that has brought the conversation back to our social media timelines, they are not the only ones who are tired with wearing the style. Elle magazine points to the rise of the jeggings as the decline of the skinny jean. The magazine claims the jegging made the classic style look “trashy”.
The industry was already moving towards a more relaxed look with voluminous fits. It’s time to dig out a pair of vintage Levi jeans and embrace comfort along with style. The two are no longer juxtaposed.
Our shopping trends have also changed, which is affecting the future trends for denim. Gone are the days when you found one style of jeans and bought them in every fit and colour. Instead, our closets are more versatile, with a focus on embracing different fits and colours.
Denim jeans of all styles are experiencing a resurgence, with Net-a-Port reporting a 25% increase in denim sales in 2020, even during a time when we weren’t wearing jeans as often as before.
Along with silhouettes changing, the future trends appear to be pointing towards a neutral and minimalistic colour palette. One of 2020’s biggest trends was the monochrome look, and it shows no sign of slowing down. You’ll want to add a pair of high-waisted whitewashed jeans to your closet, and earthy toned pants in a sand or stone colour.
Next time you’re going on a shopping spree, look for wide-leg pants with a high-rise waistline. While fashion trends can change every day, we expect skinny jeans to be pushed to the side in favour of looser and more comfortable fitting pants. We don’t think skinny jeans will disappear overnight, but it’s clear that the wider silhouettes are going to dominate the trends for 2021.
The future of denim is all about wider fits and looser cuts.