How to Wear Skinny Leg Jeans and Leggings

Skinny Jeans: How to Wear Cigarette Skinny Leg Jeans and Leggings

Get the skinny on fashion’s newest silhouette for denim

Dear Sharon: I’ve just returned from a day of shopping in the city and feel totally confused. I’ve been a jeans girl for a while- it’s so easy to dress down a beaded top with jeans or dress up a t-shirt and heels with jeans. Since all I’ve seen in the stores today are skinny jeans, my closet full of designer denim seems absolutely out-of-date.

I can coordinate flare and bootcut jeans in my sleep, but what looks right with skinny jeans? Can I wear my same shoes or does this mean that I need a total closet makeover to get my wardrobe up-to-date with a drainpipe leg? What about leggings too? Are they a passing fad, or will leggings be around for awhile? I’ve always thought of myself as being reasonably fashionable, but the new skinny leg pants have me feeling like a fish out of water. Help me get my fashion mojo back. (–Scared Skinny, Bergenfield, NJ)
Dear Scared Skinny:A funny thing happened on the first warm day of the season, a crazed denim hawk swooped over the trendiest parts of town and plucked up all the flared low-as-you-can-go jeans, and thankfully, his telscopic vision was particularly keen to eliminate denim with those unsightly whiskers. Mr. Hawk and his fashion flock were fastidious enough to plant some skinny leg jeans that spread like wildflowers on every long stemmed It Girl in sight. Yup, the hot style of jeans has changedŚjust in the nick of time when you were getting too comfortable with your fashion that you thought you could doll yourself up in your sleep!


The must-have look this very minute is an 80’s influenced skinny leg jean that is a bit long so that it’s excruciatingly narrow hem scrunches slightly over your ballerina flats, huarache sandal, or low heel wedge shoe. Unlike flare jeans which force you to commit to a heel height to look right, more versatile skinny leg jeans aren’t limited to bunching over flats and can also be worn with high heel pumps for a sexier feel or tucked into slouchy boots or booties come the fall.

The jean leg can be so narrow that it has a hidden zipper or a bit of stretch to make it over your foot and then caresses your calf just so, but what’s key is that the overall look is long and very lean. Please note, that the stylish cut is drainpipe, cigarette, or pencil straight and narrow, not tapered like a bad pair of Mom jeans. I wouldn’t think of skinny jeans as a fad or fast fashion, but more of a silhouette change for the shape of fashion to come.

When anything hugs your body, you need to compliment the more revealing cut with something less spare.


Rule to live by: The slimmer the leg, the fuller the top.

Longer tops with a bit of drape are an elegant and stylish update to last season’s belly-baring T-shirts. The good news is that a tush-covering tunic top paired over dark wash or the newest gray skinny jeans visually lengthens your whole body to appear taller and thinner. You can add interesting layers like a vest or shorter jacket. Although this look has a definite 80’s influence, getting too literal with 80’s new wave nuances can trip up your style if you were born anytime earlier than the release of the first Pat Benatar album. That means, no shoulder pads, no spandex, no globe-size earrings, no big hair, and easy on the hot pink leopardŚkeep the styling elegant, refined, and modern.

As with the other perennial 80’s favorite, leggings. Leggings look so right under a short denim mini or flouncy tunic. They add a lightweight ease under a cinched trench, anchor a cape, and, dress down a shirtdress. The most adaptable legging is basic black, but don’t be afraid to add a dash of bold color to zip up an off-the-shoulder big sweater. If leggings aren’t quite your thing, opt for a skinny pair of black pants that convey the same body conscious look without that much hugging. By the time fall rolls around, you will see how a pair of black leggings or black skinny pants totally modernizes more structured tops and jackets.

Go as lean as your figure allowsand when you want something looser, think of wide-leg menswear trousers, but the new denim is pencil narrow.
Skinny Jeans and Leggings Shoppping Guide:

–June 3, 2006

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