The History of Slim Fit Pants

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Skinny pants, also known as slim fit, have seen their popularity wax and wane over the years just as most fashion trends and because they’ve been around for so long, they’ve completely gone “out of style” a few times. When it comes down to it, they’ve been around in one form or another literally for hundreds of years.

“Skinny jeans” may have been the first thing you thought of when you read the title of this article but they are just one aspect of this long history. Some of you also may think that slim-fit pants are just for women but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Defined by their narrow legs and small leg openings, they have been made from various materials for both sexes, and these days almost everyone has owned at least one pair in their lives. Visit the site.

A Look-Back

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In the seventeenth century, France’s Louis XIII, his court, and other French royalty were known to wear fashionably tight “breeches,” a trend that soon spread to the higher classes of England and around the rest of Europe. Toward the end of the century, the style fell out of favor.

Then, in the early 1800s men started turning to “pantaloons” that were a tighter style of pants and worn high on the waist. These were a welcome alternative to the loose work pants worn throughout the French Revolution.

For ladies, it wasn’t until the later part of the 1800s before they made some headway toward foregoing skirts in exchange for bloomers, pants that were voluminous on top with legging-like tight-fitting bottom halves. However, women really only wore bloomers for physical activities and were generally expected to wear dresses and skirts for most other occasions.

In the early 1900s, women wearing pants that were again voluminous on top with thinner legs were a bit more socially acceptable. Again, the style stayed popular for about a decade, especially among women that were wealthy, forward-thinking, or very avant-garde. However, a few short years later, it was acceptable for all women to wear slimmer pants made of canvas or denim for sports or manual labor.

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Unfortunately for slim fit pants, mass-production replaced traditional tailoring a short while later. Looser fitting pants re-took the top spot and it would be several decades before slim fit pants made any sort of notable comeback in popularity.

In the 1950s, megastars of the time like Elvis, Roy Rogers, Sandra Dee, and Marilyn Monroe started wearing them and that’s really when slim fit pants became popular. It also helped that there was a large movement at the time for gender-neutral/minimalist styles of pants and for the first time, it was socially acceptable for both sexes to wear them. Which of course meant that virtually everyone wanted to own a pair.

The following decade, slim fit pants pretty much became synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll when Bob Dylan and groups like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles started sporting the style. However, their popularity didn’t last as long as other periods and it has been a roller coaster ride ever since.

The Up and Down Popularity of Slim Fit Pants

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The 1960s brought even more mainstream use of high-waisted, tight straight-leg jeans with stars like Doris Day helping to spread the popularity beyond rock ’n rollers and Mod girls. It also helped a lot when moms everywhere fired up their sewing machines for their entire families due to sewing patterns for slim fit pants becoming easily available.

However, toward the end of the 60s and a bit into the 70s, pants known as bell-bottoms took the mantle for top-choice. Once again though, the slim version made another great comeback that same decade when singers and bands across punk, rockabilly, and glam rock started rocking their favorite style and fans followed suit.

For the 80s, slim fit pants were popular in several styles.

  • Acid-washed straight-leg jeans.
  • Denim, slim-fit distressed pants. Usually worn by those in the punk scene and the pants were usually covered in patches and safety pins.
  • The workout craze of this decade led by celebs like Jane Fonda started a fashion trend with a baggy top paired with skinny jeans with leg warmers worn over them. This was worn by millions of women and of course, was known as the “workout” look.
  • Super-tight skinny jeans were popular with heavy metal bands and their fans

In other words, slim fit pants were popular among multiple age groups with both sexes and across various styles, fads, and “endorsements” from celebrities in a diverse set of genres.

Current History of Slim Fit Pants

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Several of the fashion trends from the 80s continued into the early 90s. Additionally, another version soon gained popularity and was looser on top, high waisted with tapered ankles, and was affectionately known as “mom jeans.”

About halfway through the decade, bootcut jeans really gained popularity. However, around this same time millions upon millions of U.S. teens and preteens, which were soon followed by their like-minded brethren around the world, fell absolutely in love with the sagging, baggy carpenter jeans that were worn super-low on the hips and sometimes looked at least a size or two too big.

Once again though, slim fit pants and jeans didn’t stay out of the top spot long. In the late 90s and early 2000s, low-rise, so-skinny-they-looked-painted-on “emo” jeans were top of the food chain. It was also right around this time that pants loosened up slightly and the higher waist once again became popular.

These days, it could be reasonably argued that a good portion of the various slim pant trends of the past are either still popular, or are gaining in popularity. As mentioned above, fashion tends to see trends come and go fairly frequently but few can match the popularity history of the types of skinny pants oh-so-many of us enjoy wearing.