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Slimmy jeans: how the skinny jean bulked up

In the advert for their slim fit jeans, Uniqlo describe the new style as “the perfect everyday jeans”. That might sound underwhelming, but it actually sums up what fashion is looking for in denim right now. The kind of jeans that make no sort of statement and, at first glance, fit no trend. They’re neither skinny nor boyfriend. Instead, they’re kind of in the middle – not skintight and not loosecut, a kind of “nothing” jean; a compromise in indigo. We’re calling them the slimmy. Think of the jeans that Julia Roberts wears with a blazer at the end of Pretty Woman – you get the idea.

Phoebe slim broderie in white – Made in Heaven. Photograph: PR company handout

Along with Uniqlo, other brands are embracing the shape. Gap have this feminine version on the boyfriend jean. Topshop – where a denim item is sold every seven seconds – has two styles that signal a sea-change: the Milo slim leg and the slim Boyfriend, both variations on the slimmy shape. Made In Heaven’s Phoebe are boyfriends smartened up, and new brand Keji has the cigarette, an unbranded dead ringer for Roberts’s jeans. The relaunched Levi’s 501 – the original five-pocket journeyman of jeans worn by half of fashion’s front row at the latest round of shows – is also to be noted.

Slimmy jeans in Pretty Woman. Photograph: Youtube

Slimfit jeans are hardly news, of course. But in the world of fashion denim, they are new. The skinny has been the ubiquitous shape over the past 15 years. Others have tried to usurp it – the bootcut, the flare, the mom – with the boyfriend, a self-consciously baggy style, the closest rival. So it’s interesting that the latest contender is something so unremarkable, so boring. But the skinny shouldn’t underestimate this new kid on the block. The slimmys, in their simplicity, could in fact become the giantkillers of denim.

Slimmy jeans – Keji Denim. Photograph: PR company handout

If fashion wouldn’t have given slimmys the time of day five years ago, the basic and anonymous qualities of them chime in our post-normcore world, where anything unremarkable – from the white sports sock to the grey marl sweatshirt – is fetishised and turned into a big-ticket fashion item. I bought my Uniqlo slim fits – in flat, inky denim, no distressing, rips or holes – last year as non-fashion, pub-on-a-Sunday jeans and didn’t really think anything of them. They weren’t exactly a tell-all-your-friends purchase. Now, they’re encroaching on territory more usually occupied by fashion jeans. That’s not a coincidence. Pub-on-a-Sunday is now far from time off from fashion concerns. It’s a look. That’s why the slimmys work for now and that’s why we’re backing them as the jeans to take 2015. Boring clothes are now interesting. Get used to it.

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