The Skinny on the Jeans Business

Discussion
Mar 17, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Baggy pants and flare cuts are out and tight-fitting jeans with straight legs are in, say fashion industry experts.


“It’s been anointed as the trend of the year,” Eric Beder, retail financial analyst with Brean, Murray Carret & Co., told Reuters.


Renee Roman, market analyst with The Doneger Group, added, “I think we’ve saturated that romantic, bohemian thing for so long. This is a major shift that’s going to go through all levels (of retail).”


Some wonder, however, if the trend to tighter fitting jeans doesn’t fly in the face of what’s taking place in the consumer market.


NPD Group retail analyst Marshal Cohen said, “There are too many oversized people that won’t be able to pull this look off.”


There are also issues for consumers who are able to fit into the new tighter fashions, said Mr. Cohen.


“When you start to get tighter, slimmer and shorter, you start to say, ‘Hey, I can’t go to work like this!’ When you get sent home from work or from school — then you have a problem.”


Many retailers from Abercrombie & Fitch to Nordstrom are expected to play it safe with the new look by continuing to offer looser-fitting styles. Others such as Bebe Stores will not have that luxury due to operating smaller stores.


“They (smaller stores) really have to run with the trend. It’s a somewhat risky proposition,” said Mr. Beder.


Moderator’s Comment: Are retailers who plan to run with the new tighter jeans at the forefront of fashion or out-of-step with consumers?
George Anderson – Moderator

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11 Comments on "The Skinny on the Jeans Business"


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Lauren Day
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Lauren Day
14 years 11 months ago

Fashion is aspirational by nature. It has to look great on the models and Hollywood stars in order to attract attention, and if it does, people will buy it. Then again, as someone else pointed out, the only change between last season and next season is the bottom of the pant leg. The fit is already snug (but stretchy) from waist to knee; now the “skinny” cut will just continue from the knee down as well. So now women will need to buy boots to tuck them into and or flat sandals to wear them with, and the shoe companies should be happy about that!

Kai Clarke
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Trends are trends. Women who are really fashion conscious are buying into this trend just like the others. It won’t have any less of an impact on the niche stores to the larger ones, since the consumer will continue to demand that they offer the latest styles. No, it does not “flatter” some body types, but that hasn’t stopped fashion in the past. How many women wore stretch pants, despite every glaring bulge and pounds that they showed off? Tight-fitting jeans have been in-style before, and everyone offered them. The same trend will continue this time around as the fashion wheel turns…

Stephan Kouzomis
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Stephan Kouzomis
14 years 11 months ago

Most relevant question is: “Are we talking about teens and young people, or the older, and baby boomer crowd?”

This will help answer the new direction; besides consumer reseach done by the jean makers. Hmmmmmmmmm

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

This sounds like the same discussion which goes on every Spring. Wasn’t it just last year that we were all talking about whether the youth backlash against sexy fashions was going to cause the whole generation to start dressing more demure and less ‘showy’? Well it only goes to prove that, each season, fashion must have reason for the consumer to buy, and the consumer, more than ever, is dressing their own way. It makes for a very exciting mix of fashion looks. The hard part is, of course, for the retailers who are trying to be fashion first, rather than for those who are just trying to stay ‘on trend’.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
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M. Jericho Banks PhD
14 years 11 months ago

Has this so-called trend been approved by the hip-hoppers? Will NBA players go back to wearing shorts instead of culottes? Will pants once again be belted at the waist, rather than someplace south of the border that enables navel piercings, tattoos, and thongs to be displayed? Will our increasingly obese young-gen look good in them? Will less fabric translate to lower prices? Inquiring minds want to know.

While not one to question the “[saturation] of that romantic, bohemian thing” (how could one question that, after all?), I am announcing the formation of 3-D, the “Denim Donation Destination.” Our slogan is “Drop Off Your Baggies And Reveal Your Saggies.” Donations will be used to fertilize denim farms in Wyoming and Montana.

We’re also announcing a change in the color designation of denim jeans from “blue” to “bleu.” Very fashionable, don’t you think?

martha phillips
Guest
martha phillips
14 years 11 months ago
You’re missing one big part of this sea change in fashion. We’re coming out of a trend for cropped, belly-baring tops and all things tight EXCEPT the bottom of the jeans leg. Baring the torso was not a deterrent to plus sized customers of late, though it should have been. I don’t expect they’ll blink at skinny jeans. What’s really going on in fashion right now is that the proportions are changing from top to bottom and the skinny jean represents one small part of that. In general, we’re seeing big volume replacing skinny all-over. The skinny jean is just a way to balance the look so you aren’t swallowed up by a voluminous top. If you’d seen the recent Fall runways, you’ll know that overt sexuality is actually quite out. Even evening gowns are demurely sexy and show very little skin. I think you should be worried on behalf of retailers for a very different reason. Worry that all those tight Pilates-bodied customers, or not so tight ladies who are learning to love themselves… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

I don’t see this trend having widespread (pun intended) consequences. First of all, many of the flare styles that have been in the market this past year are low-cut, quite tight-fitting at the waist and thighs, with the “flare” at the bottom. Women (including me) have begun to realize that this fit flatters many figures and those who invested in it won’t give it up easily – can you imagine women throwing garage sales and donating to Goodwill and Sally Army en masse, tears in their eyes because they know they must get rid of the best fitting jeans they’ve ever owned (and bought in multiples) in order to slavishly follow the latest trend? Not gonna happen. Peg leg jeans are actually closer to the much derided, unflattering, high-waisted “mom jean” silhouette that looks bad on just about everyone. As much as I follow fashion, like most women, I care more about personal fit and style.

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
14 years 11 months ago

I admit to being somewhat surprised…I have to wonder what marketing/trend division looked at the overwhelming evidence of an obesity epidemic and would think the move to tighter body hugging clothes was the way to go. I hope they see it as incentives for the consumer, and have the resources to wait out the time for people to actually be able to fit into them.

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Sexy looks sell. There are many people who aren’t obese. No single clothing store is required to cater to everyone. Stores that try to cater to everyone end up catering to no one.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
14 years 11 months ago
Trend participation and interpretations should be driven by strategic positioning and focused customer segmentation. Retailers appealing to a relatively wide spectrum of customer segments can and should participate in most trends in a multiple number of ways. All too often, the trend is copied without adaptation to the needs and benefits associated with the core customer of the copying retailer. The key is to have a process in place which seeks analytically to identify aspects of the trend which have a high correlation with uptake and need fulfillment of your core customer segment(s). Who are the early adopters? What need is it filling? What are the physical characteristics of the product? Who will be categorically eliminated from participation based on coloration, sizing, fit, and other tangible product elements? Most trends with widespread “buzz” represent apparel opportunities for most retailers. The first step is to take a moment and analyze and understand the trend. Then to see which elements your consumer is likely to want to identify with. The last step, not the first, is to… Read more »
Jeremy Poreca
Guest
Jeremy Poreca
14 years 11 months ago

This trend is simply a bi-product of another pervasive trend, wearing boots on the outside of your pants vs. the inside. Since boots got to be more of a fashion accessory and also much bulkier (i.e. UGG Boots) women have been choosing to wear their boots exposed. Since loose-bottom jeans bunch up when you try this look, women have been buying up the tight jeans just to wear with their hot new boots. This trend will die the first day their boots are in the closet so don’t stock up so soon.

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