Skinny Jeans: The Staple of a Well-Dressed Geek's Wardrobe

Illustration for article titled Skinny Jeans: The Staple of a Well-Dressed Geek's Wardrobe

Skinny jeans have been mocked in song, and at least one unfortunate guy has been roughed up for wearing them. Yet the skinny denim style is not waning. Quite the contrary!

Slim-fit denim has moved beyond weird or femmy or punk rock and it's now simply the mark of a sharp-dressed man. About which every girl is crazy.

Skinny jeans are still punk rock—after Joey Ramone that will always be so. Today's punk rockers, glam rockers, rock and rollers, and whatever other label won't get me in trouble by the category police follow in Mr. Ramone's footsteps today: Jack White, Pete Doherty, Jamie Hince, and those MGMT kids are carrying on the stovepipe flame. Keith Richards even still wears his. And while the style was historically favored by rebels, there is something neat, buttoned up, and decidedly stylish about slim-fit jeans, even when they have busted-out knees.


It shouldn't be surprising that geeks have taken up with the look. Geeks like to excel. Maybe in the past that was mostly in brainy categories. But kicking ass in things now extends to other parts of life, including sartorial presentation.

Among the Gizmodo staff, Levi's 511s are the favorite. The cut isn't so tight that they restrict movement or create discomfort, but they do have quite a slim leg. The 511 Commuters are especially loved. Our own Mario Aguilar says:

I got in the habit when I was punk as fuck in high school and now everything else feels weird. I like the 511s, preferably the ones labeled 'stretch' with spandex because they break in better and don't rip at the crotch so quick. In my thinner, cooler days, I used to rock 510s, too.

"You wear them to look like you're in the Ramones. Or the Germs," says Mr. Mat Honan.

"I have chicken legs and normal jeans make me look dumb," says Mr. Sam Biddle. Also: Fashion!


Fashion! All sorts of dudes care at least a little bit about it these days. Mary HK Choi noticed the well-dressed phenomenon on the F train in 2010: "... seriously, there must have been some clandestine colloquium workshop situation where all the dudes in all the land shucked to skivvies and got sized for their perfect pair of Uniqlo jeans." The New York Times noticed skinny jeans were a thing in 2006 when the style had reached its super-skinniest heights.

I took notice around that time as well and I made some assumptions: that they were favored mostly by the gays (maybe because I'm in San Francisco) and the bike-riding hipsters (who, granted, had a functional reason).


I am kind of a judgmental asshole, it turns out. Because now it's 2012 and the skinny trend has only grown, plus you should not stereotype people like that. The current styles have mellowed in their snugness to a point where they're wearable for the masses—I hope I didn't have to point out we are not talking about jeggings here?


Brandon Svarc of Naked and Famous Denim says their "tapered" style (which they call "WeirdGuy" is their best seller, closely followed by their skinny denim.

"To tell you the truth, our skinny jeans are not THAT skinny," Svarc told me. "We do call the fit 'SkinnyGuy' but it isn't a 'man-legging' like some other skinny jeans we see on the market. Any guy who wants a slim silhouette can rock these jeans."


And that seems to be most well-dressed guys these days. Something happened in the 90s that I very much hope has solidified the place of slim-cut jeans in society: the boot cut. Which is unattractive on both men and women. (Women should go wide or skinny, in my opinion, and I suppose now would be a good time to apologize that this column is only about MALE geeks. The thing is, women wearing skinnies is standard operating procedure at this point). Boot-cut is also a misnomer: The highest-percentage of boots-wearers in the whole world (arguably, I have no data) are cowboys, and even they don't wear boot-cut jeans. The designer Marc Jacobs uncovered this surprising fact in a New York Times magazine piece in 2007.

I want to hold onto this moment when the skinny, slim cut, stovepipe, or whatever you want to call it is the choice of all the lovely men I'm surrounded by, including my handsome husband. The trend does seem to be persevering, and I find it very encouraging for the future of society.


Metrosexual isn't even a thing anymore because like everyone would be called metrosexual. When is the last time you heard someone use that stupid word? Dudes want to dress like grown ups and the habit doesn't need a label. It's normal! Which is why Mark Zuckerberg looks extra silly these days doing interviews in his hoodie and shorts. Come on, Zuck. Grab a pair of 511s. They're worth a thumbs up.

Uniform is a weekly column exploring the relationship between geeks, fashion and fashionable geeks.


Images: Levi's

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NEWSFLASH: Get over it people. Slim fit (not skin tight) jeans look good on geeks who also take care of their bodies. Strange concept, I know. But obviously if you do nothing but eat garbage and not exercise, you're going to be stuck with cargo shorts. A geeky guy who wears slim jeans is not a "hipster", just a geeky guy with proper fitting jeans.