Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Skinny jeans are cancelled

Friday, September 11, 2020
Graphic by Nicolette Baker

“Big shirt, little pants” was a lie told to keep us in skinny jeans jail.

I said what I said.

But honestly, though — would you rather feel constricted in those skin-tight jeggings circa early-2010s or happily walk through the world in loose-fitting jeans?

If you haven’t gotten wrapped up in the world of Internet fashion, you might not have heard the phrase “big pants, little shirt.” I’m guilty of diving headfirst into social media fashion rabbit holes, so I’ll break it down for you.

It’s quite simple: this cute little phrase refers to the ratio of your outfit’s shirt to whatever bottoms you might be wearing. So, a sweatshirt and leggings? Big shirt, little pants. What about a tank top and mom jeans? That’s classified as big pants, little shirt.

Easy, right?

I have absolutely no beef with a leggings outfit. Leggings are precious and comfortable and should be protected. I’m referring to tight, uncomfortable, jump-to-put-on skinny jeans.

Don’t even get me started on the Spandex-to-cotton ratio on those ultra-skinny pants. A good rule of thumb: the higher the cotton content, the longer the pants can last. While it isn’t as flexible or form-fitting, high cotton content clothing tends to be more durable in the long-run. Ever wear a hole in your favorite pair of jeans? That might be due to a higher blend of elastic.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my fashion classes at Southeast, it’s that fabric is everything when it comes to clothing quality.

If you’re in search of your next pair of “big pants,” my advice is simple: know your waist measurements. A looser-fitting jean only needs to properly fit in the waist; everywhere else should have more room. Sometimes, it’s helpful to choose a pair that’s one or two sizes larger than normal — I love my Levi’s 721s, which are a skinny jean I turned “big pants” by sizing up and adding a belt.

As for the “little shirt” part of the equation, there are endless possibilities. T-shirts, tank tops and crop tops can all fit the look. Sometimes the day just calls for a “big shirt, big pants” combo — and that’s totally OK!

A good skinny jean pairs perfectly with an outfit every once in a while. But seven days a week? It’s a no for me. Say it with me: big! pants! little! shirt!

Am I wrong? Debate me in the Tweet replies at @nbakerARROW.