Skinny Jeans Vs. Regular Jeans

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Popular in the 1980s, skinny jeans are back in vogue. Whether they're painted-on tight or simply a bit more snug than usual, the slimmer cut is a hit with designers and consumers. However, relaxed jeans still draw buyers who are looking for style without restriction. In order to get the most out of all the jeans in your closet, compare the two cuts and see which suits the moment best.

Features of Skinny Jeans

Jeans fashion blogger Stephanie Quilao writes, "Skinny jeans, the style, are a cut of jeans like saying bell-bottoms, straight leg, or relaxed. The skinny jeans style is pencil leg where the jean from top to foot hugs your leg." Often, skinny jeans contain primarily cotton and a small percentage of Spandex for stretch, which makes them more pliable than the normal jean weave. These jeans aren't always the most comfortable varieties and can be as tight as a pair of leggings.

Features of Regular Jeans

Regular-fit jeans often are made from cotton and may not contain any Spandex. Wearing ease can range from limited in a straight-leg, slim-cut pant to great in a stovepipe-style jean. These jeans also fall into a range of ankle-style types, including flare, boot-cut and straight. Unlike skinny-jean fabric, which may contain enough Spandex or synthetic materials to reduce fraying, a pair of regular jeans will fray extensively if cut or torn crosswise. A regular jean also improves as it ages and molds to the body unlike a skinny jean, which can lose shape and cling if poorly made or laundered improperly.


Regular jeans are universal. Manufacturers create new styles everyday for petites, talls, regular misses and plus-size. The wide range of shapes, washes and denim types means that there is something for everyone, no matter what your weight or body type may be. However, some fashion lovers say that only slim people should wear skinny jeans, while others decry skinny jeans worn without a shirt long enough to cover the wearer's behind. Still others call skinny jeans immodest, restricting their wear in schools and other private establishments.

Styling Choices

Regular and skinny jeans can be worn as casualwear, though regular jeans fit in the office on casual Fridays, at the mall or doing gardening work, while skinny jeans are strictly a fashion garment. Because of their tight fit, they are not suited for corporate work, and manual labor may be difficult because they restrict movement. For clubwear, skinny jeans are ultra-chic and flattering, especially with a fancy top and heels. Regular jeans may also work but instantly make the look more casual. The tighter the jean, the more sensual the look. Therefore, skinny jeans make the stronger night apparel.

Time Frame

Though people of all ages wear regular jeans, skinny jeans are largely the domain of the young and stylish. Skinny jeans are a staple in juniors' shops but don't usually make the crossover to stores that cater to older women. Although regular jeans are suitable for year-round wear, skinny jeans may be too hot for summer use. Clinging, stretchy fabric that covers the whole leg with little breathing room is hot and uncomfortable, so look at skinny capris as an alternative to a full-length skinny jean.