This has been a tough year for skinny jeans fans. In February, TikTok, Gen Z’s go-to platform, declared the It denim trend of the ’00s “uncool” alongside side-parts and the laugh-cry emoji. Many millenials have been left wondering “What should I wear now?” We suggest balloon jeans, also called bubble and barrel pants. These jeans are loose like the straight-leg styles Gen Z loves, but they also have a millenial-approved high waist and tighter ankle hem.
Even if you don’t base your wardrobe off what’s cool on TikTok, you have to admit: After almost two years of sweatpants, athleisure, and work-from-home comfort, performing the ever-seductive jumping-and-pulling dance to put on a pair of jeans so tight they might as well be leggings sounds less and less appealing Why not embrace styles like baggy jeans and parachute pants that will not only not make your legs feel like they are trapped in sausage casings but that are all over the biggest runways.
The silhouette is not new. Tibi’s Brancusi pants and Toteme’s barrel-leg jeans have been part the brands’ offerings for many seasons. However, this year’s look is more exaggerated, voluminous, and makes balloon jeans a cool alternative to boot-cut jeans. This fall, many more mainstream brands, including Agolde, Madewell, and Cos, have jumped aboard the trend, too, with more styles available than ever before. For those who might be skeptical of the trend, brands like Frame, Eloquii, and Levi’s are offering styles that fall somewhere in between straight-leg and balloon pants with more curve-enhancing shapes rather than sharp angles.
Most skinny jeans fans have many day-to-night outfit ideas for their favorite denim style. There is no need to alter the classic balloon jeans look. For casual wear, you might consider taking advantage of the bodysuit trend (thanks to Skims). This outfit combines the slimming silhouette of the jeans with a fitted top. It can be paired with sneakers for day-to-work, or with a pair of heels for outings. A pair of chunky loafers and a blazer would be great for work.
We’re sorry to disappoint anyone who hopes for the 2022 return to skinny jeans. Fashion trends are cyclical. At the very minimum, we expect that balloon jeans will be around for the rest of the time until skinnies return.
Take advantage of the latest trends with these styles.