There’s something to be said about a fitted look. Strong, defining cuts, brought in to accentuate the most striking features of a man’s body (looking at you, 1970s Robert Plant), have been increasing in popularity since Lil Wayne and the New Boyz began rapping about them in the end of millennial’s first decade. Rockstar skinnies have seen their influence transfer to high fashion and club-wear as the 2010s went on, and by 2015 a pair of slim chinos was an essential piece in every wardrobe.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that back then I wouldn’t put on a pair of pants if I could fit three fingers between my leg and the fabric. It was a profile I could pair with any top. An oversized tee with flannel and skinny chinos in the winter, Hawaiian shirts in the summer, a fitted button-down for formal occasions, there was nothing that couldn’t be fit with the leg-defining silhouette of my skinny pants.
Fashion is a pendulum, swinging back and forth between extremes, while slowly moving in a circle, always coming in and out of trends while circling generations. While watching Love Island UK recently I came to the realization that I think we may have reached an apex in the pant width pendulum. Now granted this is a UK show with a clothing sponsor, on the nights with parties when the men all dressed up in their going out clothes, I had trouble comprehending the fits on these guys’ pants. They were like leggings. Tight and, on men with physiques like theirs, comical.
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When I got my first pair of non-skinny pants a few years ago I was almost too embarrassed to wear them in public. The pair of Carhartt dungarees made me feel like I was in JNCOs. I thought that people would ask me when the Gathering of the Juggalos was going to be that year. However, I persisted and found myself, almost immediately, never wanting to look back.
Oh, the pocket room! Oh, the increase in mobility! Oh, the assurance that I wouldn’t crush my balls when I sat down! I felt silly for thinking I ever needed to squeeze myself into those leg prisons that Young Thug influenced me to wear. In the years since, my pants have only become bigger – admittedly to JNCO-like levels, though I’m in the business of experimenting so you don’t have to.
Of course, people like Carti and Thugger are going to continue rocking the Goth-inspired tight denim that their known for, and people are going to keep with the looks that they were wearing during their personal peaks until it becomes their brand of dad-style. But I believe, as we move forward into the new decade, pant legs are going to keep getting bigger, and it’s on me to warn you before your skinnies become antiques.
The silhouettes of the modern age are getting closer and closer to those you saw on TRL and Dawson’s Creek in the Y2K era, bulkier and more rugged, with an emphasis on leaving more to the imagination. In my mind, it’s becoming a lot more democratic. The legging-tight look of Love Island-ers and their club-prowling wannabes is only flattering on those with the build for them (if at all). A wider cut in the leg is so much more manageable for all body types and provides ample space for the masking of insecurities, leading to a more confident sense of self that will increase your attractiveness on the whole.
Perhaps in 2031, I’ll be sitting in skin-tight pants, taking a look back at my fashion choices from ten years ago and cringing at my wide pants. That will probably be the reality, but that’s just fashion. Until that day comes, here are a few places to look for your next favorite style of legwear:
Carhartt: Work In Progress