What Are Skinny Jeans Called? A Comprehensive Guide - Maves Apparel

What Are Skinny Jeans Called? A Comprehensive Guide

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad


In the ever-evolving world of fashion, one item that has stood the test of time is jeans. From their humble beginnings in the 1800s to becoming a global fashion phenomenon, jeans have undergone numerous design changes and variations. One of the most popular styles in recent years is the skinny jean. However, what many people may not know is that skinny jeans go by various names depending on the region or personal preference. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different names and variations of skinny jeans, their history, and how to style them for different occasions.


Origins and Evolution of Skinny Jeans

Before diving into the various names for skinny jeans, it's important to understand their origins and how they have evolved over time. The concept of tight-fitting pants can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries when European men wore breeches and hose. These loose-fitting garments gave way to tighter breeches, popularized by Frenchmen at the court of Louis XIII. The tighter fit was deemed more flattering to the leg and eventually made its way to England and the rest of Europe during the Restoration era.

Fast forward to the 1950s, when drainpipe trousers emerged as a popular style. Worn by Western stars and actresses like Marilyn Monroe, drainpipe jeans were characterized by their slim fit and narrow leg opening. This trend continued into the 1960s, with rock bands like The Beatles and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn further popularizing the skinny jean silhouette. The 1970s saw the rise of glam rock and rockabilly bands, which embraced drainpipe jeans as part of their signature style.

In the 1980s, skinny jeans gained even more popularity, particularly within the heavy metal scene. Bands like Anthrax and Metallica donned skin-tight acid-washed jeans, often paired with high-top sneakers or basketball shoes. The 1990s saw a shift towards baggy carpenter jeans, influenced by the rise of grunge and hip-hop music. However, skinny jeans made a comeback in the early 2000s and have since become a staple in both men's and women's fashion.

Various Names for Skinny Jeans

Now that we have explored the history and evolution of skinny jeans, let's delve into the various names by which they are known. Skinny jeans are often referred to as drainpipes, stovepipes, tight pants, cigarette pants, pencil pants, skinnies, or tight jeans. Each name reflects a slightly different variation or characteristic of the skinny jean style.

Drainpipes and Stovepipes

The terms "drainpipes" and "stovepipes" are often used interchangeably to describe skinny jeans. Drainpipe jeans typically have a straight leg that tapers slightly towards the ankle, while stovepipe jeans have a more uniform leg width from thigh to ankle. Both styles offer a sleek and fitted look, hugging the legs closely.

Cigarette Pants and Pencil Pants

Cigarette pants and pencil pants are variations of skinny jeans that emphasize a slim and tailored fit. These styles are often associated with a more formal or sophisticated look. Cigarette pants typically have a straight leg with a narrow opening, while pencil pants are similar but may have a slightly tapered leg.

Skinnies and Tight Jeans

The terms "skinnies" and "tight jeans" are general descriptors for any jeans with a tight and form-fitting silhouette. These names encompass a wide range of skinny jean styles, including those with different leg openings or fabric compositions. Skinnies and tight jeans come in various colors and washes, allowing for endless styling possibilities.

Super-Slim Fit and Stretch Denim

Some skinny jeans are designed to have an ultra-slim fit, often requiring zippers at the leg opening to facilitate pulling them over the feet. These super-slim styles may incorporate stretch denim, which contains a small percentage of spandex for added flexibility and comfort. Stretch denim allows for a "super-slim fit" without compromising on mobility.

Choosing the Right Fit: Skinny vs. Slim

When comparing skinny jeans to their close counterpart, slim-fit jeans, it's essential to understand the key differences. While both styles offer a fitted look, there are distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans have a snug fit throughout the legs, accentuating the contours of the body. They typically have a small leg opening, ranging from 9 to 20 inches in circumference. Skinny jeans are known for their sleek and streamlined appearance, often considered a fashion-forward choice. However, the tight fit of skinny jeans may restrict movement and may not be suitable for all body types or occasions.

Slim Fit Jeans

Slim fit jeans, on the other hand, provide a more relaxed fit compared to skinny jeans. They have larger leg openings and do not cling tightly to the ankle. Slim fit jeans strike a balance between a fitted silhouette and comfort, making them a versatile option for various occasions. Some slim fit jeans may feature a tapered leg design, providing a more tailored look without sacrificing mobility.

Styling Skinny Jeans

Now that we have explored the different names and variations of skinny jeans, it's time to discuss how to style them for different occasions. Skinny jeans offer endless possibilities for creating stylish outfits, whether you're going for a casual or dressed-up look.

Casual Outfits

For a laid-back and casual look, pair your skinny jeans with a graphic tee or a basic white shirt. Complete the outfit with sneakers or ankle boots for a comfortable and stylish ensemble. Add a denim jacket or a bomber jacket for an extra layer of style. Experiment with different washes and distressed details to add personality to your casual outfits.

Dressier Occasions

Skinny jeans can also be dressed up for more formal or dressier occasions. Pair them with a tailored blazer or a button-down shirt for a sophisticated look. Opt for darker washes or black skinny jeans for a sleek and polished appearance. Complete the outfit with dress shoes or heels to elevate your overall ensemble.

Accessorize and Experiment

Don't be afraid to accessorize and experiment with different styles when wearing skinny jeans. Add a statement belt or layered necklaces to enhance your outfit. Play with proportions by pairing skinny jeans with oversized or flowy tops. Incorporate trendy elements like animal prints or bold colors to make a fashion statement.


In conclusion, skinny jeans go by various names, each reflecting a distinct variation or characteristic of the style. From drainpipes to skinnies, these snug-fitting jeans have become a staple in the fashion world. Understanding the differences between skinny and slim fit jeans can help you choose the right fit for your body type and occasion. Remember to experiment with different styling options and accessories to create unique and fashionable outfits. Whether you're going for a casual or dressed-up look, skinny jeans offer endless possibilities for expressing your personal style. So embrace the versatility of skinny jeans and rock your favorite pair with confidence.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.