The question on every denim retailer’s mind. Are skinny jeans really dead?
To find an answer, we investigated shifts in men’s and women’s denim arrivals, trends and communications to highlight what designs are successful and provide runway and pure play denim brand direction for future collections.
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Consumer interest in men’s skinny jeans has dropped YoY. Jean arrivals are down 33% and the silhouette with the most significant decrease is skinny fit, down 52%.
The proportion of skinny jean arrivals to the total men’s jean assortment decreased from January 1 – July 31, 2021 vs. 2022, down from 48% to 25%, depicting a course correction due to the oversaturation of product in 2021; however, customers are still buying stretch, lighter washes and grey skinny fit options.
Skinny fit remains important in the womenswear market. Jean arrivals are up 2% YoY, thanks to wide-leg and flared silhouettes up 53% and 85% YoY. Despite skinny fit experiencing the largest dip in arrivals, down 29% YoY, it is still the second most assorted of all shapes.
While womenswear retailers decreased the proportion of skinny jean arrivals to the total jean offering that landed between January 1 – July 31, 2021 vs. 2022, consumers are still buying black, mid-wash, coated looks and bum sculpting designs at full price.
When creating future skinny jean assortments for both genders, consider themes that will that have longevity through 2023, backed by the runway and pure-play brands, including Western-inspired, Y2K, Gorpcore and athleisure.
What’s On The Decline?
Men’s jean arrivals that landed January 1 – July 31, 2022 were down 33% YoY, while womenswear jean arrivals were up slightly YoY, by 2% – thanks to an increase in wide-leg and flared silhouettes of 53% and 85% YoY, respectively. Skinny silhouettes made up the highest percentage of 2021’s jeans arrival assortment for both genders.
However, skinny jeans experienced the most significant dip in arrivals compared to other fits during 2022, down 52% for men and 29% for women – becoming the second most assorted style, following slim in menswear and straight in womenswear. boohoo, boohooMAN, EXPRESS and River Island had the most significant dip in arrivals YoY. Despite reducing skinny jean arrivals, retailers are still dedicating a substantial proportion of their jeans assortment to skinny silhouettes as the shape has less trend standing and more core.
2. Up-To-Date Trends
Of the skinny jeans retailing from January 1 – July 31, 2022, 25% of menswear and 21% of womenswear items also landed during the period. This compares to 2021’s skinny fit rate of newness for men’s and womenswear of 48% and 26%, respectively, highlighting that menswear lines were previously more reactive to newness and trends – landing bleached, exploded knee and cargo pocket detailing. Newness for this silhouette at womenswear retailers only dipped 5pp YoY, demonstrating its more stable footing in the market – stirrup designs, coated looks and side slit details remained top moving details YoY.
Across the retailers analyzed, the number of emails that mentioned skinny jeans decreased 61% from January 1 – July 31, 2021 vs. 2022. Sending between 22-43 emails in which skinny jeans were referenced in 2021, Aeropostale, Bershka and H&M decreased this to just 7-10 in 2022. The peak time for communications annually was in January, with 22 emails mentioning the silhouette in 2022 and 34 in January 2021.
Subject lines in emails included, “Skinny jean stan? Here’s 50% OFF everyone’s faves” from EXPRESS, while skinny jeans were featured in Madewell’s email with the subject line “BESTSELLERS The best of the best.” Baggy jeans and Y2K-inspired styles have maintained email mentions since the beginning of 2022, indicating retailers are reacting to consumer demand for these trends instead.
Express Email US – Mar 4, 2022 & River Island Email UK – Jan 5, 2022
What’s Still Working?
Of the skinny jeans that landed between January 1 – July 31st, 2022 and sold out without a discount, blues made up 63% and 61% of the menswear and womenswear assortment, respectively; however, light washes were most successful for menswear styles, while mid-wash versions moved well for womenswear. Greys were the next most sold out color for menswear at 11%, while blacks took the second most sold out spot for womenswear at 21%. Across womenswear styles, greys beat out whites with H&M having the most success.
Gap, H&M, Bershka
Mango, River Island, Mint Velvet
River Island had the most success with its coated skinny jeans and bum sculpting versions for women. These styles came in a variety of colors and washes. In menswear, GapFlex at Gap was brought in and sold out without a discount – stretch is the main feature of this style. Uniqlo offers a skinny jean with removable drawstrings for easy adjustments.
UNIQLO, Gap, Berska
River Island, River Island & H&M
What’s Next For Skinny Jeans?
The Wild Wild West theme has longevity through next year, backed by the Spring 2023 menswear runway – while double denim was featured across designers, Prada produced washed looks and Celine showcased unfinished hemlines. Clean lines at CARLOTA BARRERA were met with stitching designs and zipper detailing. For womenswear, Diesel’s Pre-Spring 2023 collection propelled Y2K into the future via skinny jeans – updates included contrast fishtails, cut-outs and cargo pockets.
Prada, CARLOTA BARRERA, Celine Pre-Spring 2023 – Image via Spotlight
Diesel Pre-Spring 2023- Images via Spotlight
Pure-Play Brand Inspiration
Frame offers the Jetset denim style for women, made without rivets, zippers, seams or pockets for elevated comfort during travel – as some consumers start to book vacations again, consider these updates for a comfortable alternative to leggings and jeggings – a style that has seen a 15% YoY decrease in arrivals. Re/done has a 90s-inspired line of high-waisted ankle crop styles, while Grlfrnd has split hems.
For menswear, G-Star has Rackam 3D skinny jeans designed with shaped seams and zip pockets placed on the upper leg and thigh for an update to traditional cargo pocket placement – with the current cargo trend expected to remain significant into 2023 via the skater boy theme, consider these adjustments. The brand’s Airblaze skinny jean is inspired by the outdoors, where workwear meets fishing utility gear – as Gorpcore continues to gain consumer interest, these details will be essential for future skinny jean collections.
G-Star RAW, Frame Denim, Grlfrnd at Revolve