Skinny jeans can have several definitions. They may refer to very tight fitting jeans that have a tapered leg and are usually made of denim. They’re also sometimes the pants women refer to as the elusive pair of jeans they could fit into if they just lost a few pounds. The first definition is more common.
The skinny style wasn’t always seen only in jeans when it was first worn in the early 1950s. The pants had other names like pencil pants, and they were noticeably tapered to fit the leg with a very slim cut leg bottom that hugged the ankles. Such styles were worn by men and women, and were popularized by people in the rock and roll industry, in country western music and also by several noted actresses like Sandra Dee.
Since the 1950s, skinny jeans have come in and out of style, depending on the preference of the moment. In contrast to the bell-bottoms worn by many in the 1970s, punk rockers often defined themselves away from the Disco movement with tighter jeans. Both New Wavers and Heavy Metal artists in the 1980s could wear pants that closely fit the body. These weren’t always jeans, and might be more similar to leggings, or were sometimes made out of leather
The slim fit was on hiatus for most of the 1990s, as wide leg or less tapered styles become more popular. In the 2000s, many people started wearing skinny jeans again, and incorporated some fairly new features from the 1990s in new skinny jean styles. These features include the use of nylon or spandex with denim, which makes the jeans stretch slightly, allowing the wearer to fit into a fairly tight pair of them. Also, the lower waist style of women’s jeans that began to be popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s is now featured in many styles.
This style of jean doesn’t flatter everyone, and is really best worn by those who are thinner than average. The tapered leg can make even medium sized hips look fairly large, and larger hips may look quite big. Wearing pants that fit well is important to showcase the wearer's figure to its best advantage, and wider leg styles are often better suited to people with medium or large hips. Fortunately, these styles often remain popular, while the skinny jean appears to come in and out of style, but isn’t worn by everyone even when it is fashionable.