Men Love Skinny Jeans, But Want to Be Able to Walk in Them

If skinny jeans had a poster boy, it would be Zac Efron.

Once upon a time, the Cut took a male friend shopping because he desperately needed shirts that weren't plaid and short-sleeved, pants that didn't catch wind, and shoes that didn't display a logo. After a quick trip to Uniqlo, slim jeans and solid, better-fitting tops were obtained on a budget. Said friend looked 30 pounds lighter! He maintained the makeover for, oh, a week or two before going back to his baggy, patterned, logo clothes. But recently, over a year after the Uniqlo excursion, the Cut noticed something about said friend on a recent trip to a bar: He was wearing the tightest outfit he'd ever selected all on his own. His jeans were dark and they fit close to the body. A skinny-jean-phobe would have surely called them "tight." The Cut nodded in approval. Finally, we realized, average men are beginning to understand the appeal of the skinny jean, something Pete Wentz, Kanye West, Zac Efron, and Justin Timberlake understood long ago. But clothing makers are still working out the kinks, fit-wise, in man skinnies.

Doug Black has found himself in a tight squeeze more times than he cares to remember. One day, he got caught in the rain without an umbrella and was unable to run. When his colleagues sat in a circle, the 23-year-old English teacher from Portland, Ore., couldn't cross his legs. And when he tried to jaywalk, while in Beijing for work, he couldn't hop the median divider with his friends.

"I had to walk half a mile down the street on my own to use the crosswalk," he says.

His jeans were too tight. But he has no plans to buy a looser style. "Discomfort comes with the territory," he says.

But not for much longer. Recognizing the profitability of this apparel category (sales of men's jeans that cost $50 and up rose 8 percent in the year ended April 30), labels are reacting with more forgiving styles. So get ready for "four way stretch" man skinnies by True Religion. Seven for All Mankind is cutting pants with more room in the crotch and thigh. Gap is making slim-cut man denim with more fabric in the thigh and knee area. More from today's tremendous Wall Street Journal article:

Ioan Rosca says it took him three months to break in a pair of skinny jeans made by William Rast, the fashion line started by pop star Justin Timberlake. "It was a little hard to move at first," says the 19-year-old college student from Irvine, Calif. He bought the jeans a waist size bigger than he normally wears to get them to fit and says he walks a little slower in them. For his efforts, he still gets some teasing from his male friends. "They say, 'You kind of look like a chick,' " he says.

Well then! Sounds like William Rast has quite a bit of work to do.

Tight Squeeze: Making Room For a New Men's Fashion [WSJ]