Aeropostale perpetuating the waif ideal with “skinny” jeans

My 13yo daughter A- has a new obsession: the national clothing chain Aeropostale. Their clothes are cute enough, but why people are willing to shop at a store where 90% of the merchandise are billboards for the brand is a bit beyond me. Shows how deeply brand identification is part of modern culture, I suppose.
Still, there we were looking for some shorts and I noticed the labels for their jeans:

aeropostal skinny jeans

Can you see that? “Skinny”, “Destructed Skinny” and “Ultra Skinny”. What?!?


My daughter assured me that it wasn’t the size but rather the style, that “skinny jeans” were those that clung tightly to the girls legs and made them look, well, skinny.
As a parent to two girls, I am very concerned about societal messages about girls, their self-worth and how slim they are, and I found the Aeropostale choice of style labels quite alarming.
Think about it: you’re a regular, average girl and you go into this shop to buy some clothes. You want to feel good about yourself – don’t we all? – and are confronted with skinny jeans. Are you skinny? Are you skinny enough? What about that weight issue that you’re sure you have, even though everyone else says you look lovely?
Instead, why not use “snug” or “tight” or “cling” or some other synonym that conveys the idea of this “skinny jeans” style, but one that doesn’t bring up the whole body weight issue?
Am I out of line here, gang, or do you think it’s time for stores like Aeropostale to think about its customers and their state of mind, not just its sales and sell-through per store?

8 comments on “Aeropostale perpetuating the waif ideal with “skinny” jeans

  1. I asked my college-age sisters about the return of tight jeans, and they told me that they’re only referred to as “tight” jeans when guys are wearing them. On girls, they’re “skinny” jeans. I didn’t know what to do with that.

  2. It seems every decade has it jean fad whether its patched, ripped, stone washed, don’t wash, low cut, high cut or skinny. Although many of us agree that jeans look best when they fit correctly, I’ll take the new skinny fad over the ridiculous half way down their butt fad that seems to finally be going away. Although I did kind of like the half way up the belly look of the 90’s (Hammer Time)!

  3. I really havn’t understood why guys are wearing skinny jeans. Do they really think these look good and that girls like seeing them on them!

  4. Ugh, this is a huge pet peeve of mine, as well. First, the marketing of tight, short, and revealing clothes to girls of all ages (even infant and toddler girls clothes are cut super tight, much smaller than the “boy” versions). The “skinny” jean thing is certainly also quite appalling. For adult women and certainly even more so with pre-teens and teens. Bah! I am not looking forward to navigating all this with my three girls, but I know I will have to, soon enough!

  5. Skinny refers only to the cut of the leg – and is a descriptive term. Just like flare, bootcut, and straight. Let’s not read too much into something that isn’t there….

  6. I’ll disagree with you, Michelle. There are thousands of words that could be used to describe a particular fit, so why use “skinny” and “ultra skinny”? Even if that’s an accepted industry term — and I have no doubt that it is — then couldn’t Aeropstale decide to use a different word as a step towards improving things and easing the societal and cultural pressure exerted on girls to be scrawny waifs?

  7. For many, finding the perfect pair of jeans becomes a quest. Jeans are not all made the same, and since there are many styles to choose from, it can be difficult to find a pair that fit exactly the way you want them to. Popular styles include low rise, boot cut, skinny jeans, and flares. Choosing the right style usually means trying on a few before finding one that suits your body type. In addition to denim styles, there are also a variety of colors to choose from. While light colored blue jeans are usually worn during the day, darker denim is worn at nighttime. But many people wear dark denim during the day as well. Jeans are also available in different colors such as black, grey, and red.

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