Skinny Jeans Are Down But Not Out. Here's How To Style Them In 2022

Gen Z has spoken. And the millennials have put their two cents in, too: skinny jeans have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and should be relegated to the back of women's closets. If anyone's counting, the spotlight time far exceeded 15 minutes. Skinny jeans hit the mass market in 2005 and were embraced by millions of females, perhaps most notably by the "two English Kates" — Kate Middleton (the new Princess of Wales) and model Kate Moss (via Pure Wow). 


It may have helped that the jeans — tight right down to the ankles — graciously shared the spotlight with jeggings, which also sometimes come as tight jeans but are made mostly of spandex. So what do you do if you're a free spirit and you're not ready to part with your skinny jeans? And what if you look good in them? Listen to Pure Wow's flip-of-the-coin philosophy (because when it comes to fashion, there's almost always a flip side): treat your skinny jeans as a "timeless wardrobe staple and something you can never really go wrong wearing." You may, however, want to update your look and modernize it. There are some fairly simple ways to style skinny jeans so that people don't size you up and say, "Ah yes; hello again, 2005." And wouldn't it be fun to give those Gen Z'ers something to dish about?


1. Reach for oversized tops

You couldn't hide or disguise your skinny jeans even if you wanted to; they take up at least half of your "body picture" — the one you present to the world to see. However, you can bring a sense of balance and proportion to your skinny-jean outfits, An Indigo Day says. 


In other words, since your skinny jeans are tight, the last thing you should do is reach for a tight top. So go to the other extreme and pair your skinny jeans with an oversized blazer. If you don't care for blazers, remember that oversized everything is in style, so mull your options before deciding whether you're best suited to an oversized button-down shirt, silky pajama shirt, or sweater (cropped is better). But you don't have to stop there. Continue building your look with an oversized leather jacket or long coat, too.

2. Double up on denim

How much denim can one person wear? You never know until you try, so if it's been a long time since you saw yourself decked out in head-to-toe denim, don't knock the look until you've tried it. You may not find a better way to redirect the focus from your skinny jeans. Plus, if you've been avoiding this somewhat daring look, a jacket in a contrasting shade of denim (lighter or darker than your skinny jeans) may be just the piece to elevate the "understated silhouette" of skinny jeans (via Your Next Shoes).


If you're afraid of looking too much like a cowgirl, how does an actress-singer sound instead? Hilary Duff is known for wearing contrasting fabrics — as in a blue denim jacket and red denim high-rise jeans. When Lizzie shows the way, we should be emboldened to follow.

3. Top your jeans with something trendy

Here's where you can get those Gen Z tongues wagging: by wearing something that's trending (if you dare).

Try a high-cut bodysuit — one of the more fashionable pieces of summer 2022 that shows no signs of retreating for fall and beyond (via Brunette from Wall Street). Or a halter-neck top may be more to your liking, especially if you can find one with some well-placed cut-outs. If the look is too seductive, don't forget that you can always top it with an oversized blouse or jacket. As you know, fashions can change on a dime, so for the most trendy look possible, take a stroll into a busy clothing store for other eye-catching "toppers" for your skinny jeans.


4. Embrace an all-black look

Whoever said that "black never goes out of style" said a mouthful. And when you're trying to make your skinny jeans look as stylish as they did in 2005, black can be your ally.

The trick is to wear all black  meaning a black blouse or tee and a black jacket or a black sweater paired with a black blazer (via An Indigo Day). Keep the theme going with black accessories, like a scarf and jewelry. And don't forget the shoes, which were (and still are) one of the trickiest complements to a pair of skinny jeans.


5. Elevate yourself

It's no wonder that flats became ubiquitous during the skinny jean heyday. They're easy to find, comfortable to wear and go with virtually any casual or dressy outfit. But flats can quickly ... go flat, especially at times like this — when you're looking for a change signaling the future, not a blast reminding you of the past. Now may be the time to embrace the shoe styles that may have once given you pause. So if you've been tempted to wear platforms with your skinny jeans, choose a pair in a complementary color (like black). Just practice walking in them around the house before you venture outside; platforms require a slower, more intentional style of walking than you're probably used to.


If you can't get used to platforms, you can still "go big." Pair your skinny jeans with high-top sneakers (a fun look if there ever was one), lug sole boots to add some "chunky weight" to your bottom half, or some knee-high boots (via An Indigo Day). If you're too short for knee-highs, try a mid-calf Western boot or a low-heel boot. Your skinny jeans will never be the same — and neither, with any luck, will Gen Z.