Skinny Jeans for Men

Skinny Jeans for Men


The following is to evaluate an iconic design: skinny jeans, analyzing the aesthetic contribution, which is based on the influences and roots of the ideas used in the design. My essay covers the following areas:


Jeans, which is slim-fit, tight, and stylish, from 50s till now, is a symbol of freedom, personality, young and sexy not only for women but also for men. Skinny jeans are a sort of jeans which have a variety of ways to be worn and have different in styles: low on hips or high on the waist; different colour or fabric and stretch or straight. The leg shows its shape because the jeans, with anywhere from 2% to 4% spandex, are cut close to the body and the bottoms of the pants are tapered in toward the ankle in order to remain fit throughout the entire leg, which means the leg opening are “skinny”.

The original creation

Denim jeans are as practical today as they were when they first became part of Western clothing more than one hundred years ago (Colin M, 1997). Jeans first evolved, then, as practical rather than fashionable clothing, and were associated with hardworking physical labourers, especially those from the rough and rugged west (Beverly G, 1991). As for the word “jeans,” it came from the cotton workpants worn by sailors form the port of Genoa, Italy, who were themselves known as “Genes.” (Alice H, 2002) Worn by cowboys, farmers, truck drivers and factory workers, jeans took years to acquire their glamour image, a process which began in the 1940s when they changed from blue-collar practicality to college-student nonconformity. It was then that their design and cut were reconsidered for the first time in 100 years. Although baggy working versions continued to be produced, the garment producer and designer saw that jeans could be made more acceptable as leisure wear if they were cut with greater finesse and more awareness of developments in other areas of fashion.

(The original, 2008)

(Marlon Brando during filming of The Wild One, 1953)

Followed with music and movie

The style of skinny jeans first originated in the 1950s when a type of freedom emerged, however, which was seen as much more dangerous. There was a group of disenfranchised individuals who could not find a place in the common life, and who reacted to it with pessimism and disdain. These young people influenced by Marlon Brando's The Wild One and James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause, who also wore jeans were the anti-fashion wardrobe that symbolically flaunted the mores of the frightened society at large. To my point of view, this phenomenon has created the first image of the skinny jeans and has been influencing the young generation who are keen on freedom.

Noel M (1996) stated that popular music and fashion are frequently used interchangeably in “everyday” discourse. Pop is nothing if not fashionable. For this reason, fashion industries and the popular music are regarded as sharing a close relationship: popular music is taken to play a powerful role in “shop-windowing” and selling clothes (with certain rock and pop stars regarded as “fashion leaders”, such as Elvis Presley) and, in turn, clothing has been viewed as a central part of how popular music signifies. In my point, in the 50s, with the birth of rock and roll, Elvis wore the slim-fitting jeans and shocked the world with his unique dance moves, which enhanced the skinny jeans become the most noticeable fashionable symbol. Skinny jeans, which were also worn by numerous rock bands, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and others, and rock and roll, like the movie in the 50s, created the “bad boy” image that remains today.

(Sex Pistols, London, 1977)

1970s was the year of punk. Punk is most commonly associated with music, fashion and graphics, but its rebellious and iconoclastic spirit also found expression in the visual arts (Mark S and Ariella Y, 2007). What makes punk unique is that it was the first movement to be totally inspired by music. Without the sound, there is no movement. Surely, rock and roll music has been the cultural basis of all youth trends since the 1950s, but what makes punk so much more powerful is the fact that it was created as a response to what had happened to rock and roll itself: its degeneration into self-indulgent big business. Punk always embodied more than music: it dictated how to dress, what drugs to take, where to live and how to survive. (Stephen C and Chris S, 2001) Skinny jeans, which was called drainpipe jeans at that time, was the mot popular outfit in the punk movement of the late 1970s. Many bands and scene leaders such as The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols were keen on those tight fit trousers, and the revolutionary shop Sex, run by Vivienne Westwood, became the one of the most popular stores to sell that symbolized garment. Skinny jeans were still very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with the booming of the rock and roll bands, such as The Rolling Stone, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer.

Under subculture

(Emo, 2008) (Indie rock by the Jakes, 2009)

Jeans, in 1980s, slim, stone washed and narrow-mouthed leg, were emphatically in for these rock and roll musicians, which truly made their mark, and the trend existed fairly into the 90s fashion. Emo, another subculture, is an abbreviation of the word “emotional”, combining punk and hardcore, which was very popular in Washington DC in the later 80s. The emo culture that was regarded as a cool, young part of the Goths continued to develop between 90s and 00s, peaking at its popularity today. Tights jeans with faded colours, usually black, are the favorite apparel for emos. The emo fashion, following the punk fashion, became a way for young people to express their inner feelings, what they want, whenever they want. According to my research, this type of fashion also brings a series of problems, especially in teenagers' psychical healthy, due to the fact that one of the key looks, particularly at the younger end of the fashion type: Goth. In order to distinct the similar look, the emo teenagers, frightening for school and parents, display the celebration of self harm and exchange competitive messages on their websites about the scars, which brings the negative effects for the skinny jeans, similarly as the Marlon Brando's Teddy Boys.

Indie rock, getting its name from “independent”, advocates the do-it-yourself attitudes of its bands, small scale, and lower-budget, which is thought to be normal for the ordinary people and welcomed by most of young generation. It is no secret that musicians' apparels always become the tendency of fashion, and over the last few years, indie rock groups have become a mainstay in the local media. Alex Kapranos, Franz Ferdinand's front man, to Pete Doherty, the pioneer of indie music, have hit the fashion industry hard in recent years. Today, a variety of modern musicians have pushed new trends in men's fashion. Pete Donherty's relationship with British supermodel Kate Moss has made him a staple figure not just in the mainstream press but in the fashion world as well. Indie rave and electro acts, such as The Klaxons and Brazilian scenesters CSS, have also had a significant impact on musical fashion. I believe that the indie rockers, with the dangerously slim-fitting jeans, shaggy unkempt hair, blazers and band T-shirts, have emerged in mainstream fashion.

Gay fashion

According to (Mort, 1996), the extension of gay community into the virtual realm is reflected in an increasing number of gay magazines (Gay Times, Attitude, Fluid), and internet sites (e.g. Planet Patrol, QueerCompany, Gay-to-z). Gay culture, particularly in fashion, has become influential trend. Clare L (2009) stated that influenced by the movie, music, sports, anti-fashion and sub-culture, the recent fashion history writing has begun to contextualize menswear. However, serious discussion of the relationship between sexuality and dress is still relatively limited in this disciplinary field. Gay men's clothing has frequently been ahead of fashion, attention-seeking and meant to be sexy, all of which helps when out hunting for a sexual partner. According to (Shaun, 2000), in the 1950s, young men, with the dark suit, continued on the whole to dress like their fathers. However, with the development of society and the experiences of men who travelled in Europe during the war, or influenced by the film of Italy and France, a new trend of apparel emerged in younger men and clearly younger gay men: Italian invasion. The appeal of these Italian-styled clothes to gay men was that they emphasized the figure and the trousers tight to emphasize the hip and the crotch. From that time, the skinny jeans became another symbolized outfit.

Brand effect

In modern time, though fashion is still influenced by the mass media, the fashion designer, who stands the head of trend, always annoys the common eyes; even sometimes change the ordinary aesthetics. Hedi Slimane, Parisian born designer, who had a background in photography, furniture design and tailoring, showed his unique smell in fashion industry, especially in respect to the evolution of men's fashion. In 2000, Slimane launched his slim silhouette tailored suits which established the new look in menswear fashion for Dior Homme. Alternatively choosing the cut of the traditional men's suit, he created a modernized structured, enhancing a more feminine pant leg-skinny, which set the leader for Dior as a unisex brand. Louis Vuitton and the YLS in 1997 Rive Gauche Homme was proud of his work in men's fashion.

Dior Homme's silhouettes are focused on classic menswear, with a modern look. The black, narrow lines, low-cut and thin-waisted suits can be seen in Slimane's show, which is thought to be a certain femininity that appeals to men and women alike. After his masterpiece, many actress such as Cate Blanchett and Madonna followed this unisex outfits, which led Dior Homme open another business, selling certain items for women without modifying from the men's designs except reducing the size.

Slimane has another reputation for his models, who are thin, young, even younger than general models, and that have spread on everywhere, from other menswear designers' catwalks. He recruited models in the streets of London, New York, and Berlin who fit within his requirement. Although this slim silhouette is restrictedly demand for body shape, almost every man wants to try this on. I think that for this reason, nowadays, the metrosexual, with low-cut V-neck T-shirts, skinny jeans and pointed white shoes, which is imitated by most young males, becomes a fashionable appearance for men.

(Dior Homme, 2005)

(Metrosexual in Korean, 2009)


To sum up, although the design has changed over the years, jeans inhabit a peculiar place in any man's wardrobe, and they are the universal standard for comfort, durability, and casual chic. Skinny jeans, with the feature of music, movie, and subculture, leave a controversial new look to men's fashion, and always challenge the common attitude of fashion to the public. In the modern century, people have the strong personality, which means they choose whatever they want, whether it is suitable or not. Sometimes the fashion is always under estimate by public because it is easily influenced by other aspects. Punk, for instance, is the music style which is famous for its association with fashion. But it brings many problems such as sex and drug abuse found in its history. Meanwhile, gay issue is one of the most important problems facing to the public. Followed a number of controversies, this phenomenon still push modern fashion forward, accelerating the unisex apparel outstanding on the catwalk. In my point of view, admittedly, these subculture leave some unsuitable images to the public, I think that fashion, particularly in men, needs fresh blood to enhance the statue. Skinny jeans, the heritage of controversy, both historically and socially, will vary the men's impression in the fashion industry.


Colin, M. (1997) The Man of Fashion. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Alice, H (2002) The Blue Jeans. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Beverly, G. (1991) American Denim: Blue Jeans and Their Multiple Layers of Meaning. In P, A, Cunningham and S, Vollo Lab. ed. Dress and Popular Culture. Bowing Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

Noel, M. (2000) Rock, Fashion and Performativity. In S, Bruzzi and P, C, Gibson. ed. Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis. London and New York: Routledge.

Stephen, C. and Chris, S. (2001) PUNK. London: Cassell & Co.

Mark, S. and Ariella, Y. ed. (2007) Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years. London: Merrell Publishers Limited.

Mort, F. (1996) Cultures of Consumption: Masculinities and Social Space in Late Twentieth-Century Britain. London: Routledge.

Clare, L. (2007) “Men Don't Wear Velvet You Know!” Fashionable Gay Masculinity and the Shopping Experience, London, 1950-Early 1970s. Oral History 35, No 1, Spring 2007, pp. 82-90.

Shaun, C. (2000) “Don We Now Our Gay Apparel”. New York: Berg.


Ika, W. (2008) History of Skinny Jeans [Internet] All about Skinny Jeans. Available from

<> [Accessed 9 November, 2009]

ClothingTutor. (2009) How to Pull Off The Skinny Jeans Trend [Internet] Available from <> [Accessed 9 November, 2009]

ClothingTutor. (2009) Men's Jeans - Skinny Jeans for Men [Internet] Available from <> [Accessed 9 November, 2009]

Johncperks. (2009) The History of Skinny Jeans [Internet] HubPages. Available from <> [Accessed 9 November, 2009]

Sarah, S. (2006) EMO cult warning for parents [Internet] MailOnline. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Luv-emo. (2007) Emo Clothing [Internet] Luv-emo. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Allmusic. (2009) Indie Rock [Internet] allmusic. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Shotgun Jimmie. (2009) Indie Rock Musicians Initiate a Revolution in Men's Fashion [Internet] Shotgun Jimmie. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Littleisdrawing. (2008) An Indie Influence In Fashion [Internet] OPPAPERS.COM . Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Helium. (2009) How the metrosexual fashion trend has affected gay fashion [Internet] helium. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Karen, R. (2009) Hedi Slimane [Internet] Fashion Encyclopedia. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

The Morning News. (2002) Men's Fashion: Part 3, Pants [Internet] The Morning News. Available from <> [Accessed 10 November, 2009]

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!