Why Millennials Struggle to Keep up With Jeans Trends

Millennials are officially getting old. No longer are we the young, disruptive generation making trends and breaking the status quo; that honor has passed onto the zoomers. Instead, we are like Generation X and the boomers before us, complaining incessantly about how these out of control kids are choosing to live their lives.


Perhaps the last straw to break the millennial back was the shift away from our beloved skinny jeans and toward the wide-leg and flared silhouettes of our youth. Many millennial women wept and refused to throw out their old, beloved jeans—but why? Of all the trends to rebel against, why are jeans the most heartbreaking and frustrating to us? Here are a few good reasons why they shouldn’t stop millennials from moving on from their old jeans and finding fashion once again.

Trendy Silhouettes Look Childish to Millennial Women

Millennial women survived many radical changes to jeans fashion during their lifetime. In childhood and early adolescence, through the ‘90s and early ‘00s, jeans were almost frighteningly low-rise, barely concealing a woman’s bikini zone (and sometimes intentionally revealing key components). For the most part, these jeans hugged tight against the hips and upper thighs but flared out, sometimes dramatically, below the knee, not unlike bell-bottoms of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Then, in the late 1980s, jeans became tighter and slimmer around the entire leg. So-called skinny jeans dominated fashion for most of millennial women’s teenage years and young adulthood, and as millennial women aged, the low-waist style of their youth slowly elevated into mid-rise and high-rise silhouettes.

Today, zoomers and the even younger set, currently called generation Alpha, are drawing inspiration from the “retro” fashions of Y2K, which means they are wearing the low-rise, flared jeans that millennials wore as kids. When a style is so closely associated by a generation with childhood, it can be difficult to return that style with earnestness as an adult. Thus, millennial women are clinging to skinny jeans, which they associate more closely with maturity.

Shopping for jeans is a notorious chore—for women, especially. Unfortunately, like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” the perfect pair of jeans is often stumbled upon randomly, meaning the process of finding jeans that fit well, look good, and are on trend is a magical one that cannot be replicated on purpose. Because jeans shopping can be time-consuming and emotionally devastating, many women try to avoid the struggle, wearing their favorite jeans for women for as long as they hold up.

Thus, the prospect of embarking on another journey to find jeans that fit the current style is a daunting one for many millennial women, who have lived in their trusty pairs of skinny jeans for years on end. Because many millennials have not worn low-rise flares in literal decades, shopping for them feels foreign, adding to the already supreme level of discomfort that jeans shopping always brings.

It doesn’t feel like so long ago that millennials were the hot, young generation producing new slang and changing fashion—perhaps because boomers still seem to blame millennials for the crimes of zoomers and generation alpha. However, the fact is that millennials today are middle-aged; they are almost as far from being cool, trendsetting teens as it is possible to be. And, though all millennial women can remember their youth, few still feel the same way they did as teens and young adults.

Thus, when millennial women go to try on the jeans styles that are dominating current trends, many automatically feel uncomfortable, as though they are trying to be something they are not and can never be. Though our culture celebrates youth and beauty, the truth is that millennials are old and getting older, and chasing youthful trends will not suddenly return a woman’s body and mind to their high school state.

Perhaps it is time for millennial women to admit that the trends of teens are no longer our concern. Whether we pack away our skinny jeans or continue to wear them proudly, we might as well accept that we are no longer the trendsetters—and perhaps that’s a good thing, really.

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