They are loose, comfortable, have a slightly-worn out look and seem as if you have borrowed them from your other half. Yet, Indian and international celebrities sport them with equal fanfare. Rinky Kumar talks to designers and stylists to find out what makes boyfriend jeans such a hit among women of all sizes and age groups and what one should keep in mind while buying a pair
In the ’70s and ’80s, the bootcut jeans reigned supreme as they enhanced the figures of apple-shaped women, who are heavy on the top but have lean legs. Other women who had pear-shaped bodies or hourglass figures opted for bell-bottoms that hid their problem areas but highlighted their assets. In the ’90s, skinny jeans emerged as the flavour of the season. Despite not being too suitable for the average Indian woman, who is known for her curvaceous bodies, this clothing item became a clear favourite with models, celebrities and college-going girls with lean figures. But things changed drastically in 2009 when Hollywood actor Katie Holmes stepped out in a pair of jeans that belonged to her then husband Tom Cruise.
In 2009, Katie Holmes stepped out in her then husband Tom Cruise’s jeans and created a flutter with her look. Here she is seen in a shirt, boyfriend jeans and red stilettos. Pic/AFP
The baggy trousers, which sat loose on Holmes’ waist, had a slightly worn-out look and were rolled up near the ankles, became a talking point in fashion circles. Soon everyone, right from international models to pop stars and actors, started wearing them. Today five years down the line, these jeans refuse to go out of fashion and are sported by women for casual as well as formal events.
Designer Aartivijay Gupta says, “Boyfriend jeans have been reinvented over the years. Today, they are available in different cuts such as those that can be rolled up till the ankles or calves, those that are slightly figure-hugging and are available in a variety of washes such as acid wash, stone wash, ripped etc. This trend is not going to die soon. It is here to stay.”
Finding the right pair for you
Boyfriend jeans, thanks to their slouchy fit, can make the wearer look frumpy. So it's important to ensure that you buy the right type for your body. Singh says, “The jeans should fit properly around the wearer’s waist, so that it doesn’t bunch up at the top or sag in the rear.”
Izabelle Leite sports the boyfriend jeans with a dressy top. Pic/ Yogen Shah
Although boyfriend jeans are usually low-waisted, they also come in mid- and high-waisted versions. Which of these three styles looks best depends on the wearer’s body type. Singh explains, “Apple-shaped women should avoid low-waisted jeans as it can highlight their problem areas. They should settle for mid- or high-waisted boyfriend jeans instead. Women with lean, straight figures should opt for low-waisted jeans so that it defines their waistline and gives certain shape to their body.” As a rule of thumb, a darker wash looks more formal and dressier than a lighter wash. They also tend to attract less attention visually, so women who want to hide their problem areas should settle for darker jeans.
Designer Nachiket Barve, however, has a different viewpoint. He says, “Boyfriend jeans should be worn strictly by lean women as they can make you look bulky. They are ideal for petite and lean women or slim and tall women. But if pear-shaped women want to wear them, then they should team them with a structured top, short blazer or a knit-waisted top.”
Neha Sharma teams her boyfriend jeans with a T-shirt, casual sweater and sneakers. Pic/ Yogen Shah
Gupta says, “Whenever you want to buy a pair of boyfriend jeans, there are three factors that you should keep in mind — the comfort level, how many outfits you can team them up with and take a good look at the cut and fit of the denim."
The secret of its success
Barve equates the rise of the boyfriend jeans with that of the emergence of androgynous fashion. “Androgyny as a concept has always excited people as it questions gender roles and breaks stereotypes. Boyfriend jeans are a good example of it. Also fashion rarely merges comfort and style for the common people. But this is one item that mixes both equally. And most importantly, they can instantly transform the entire vibe of an outfit. For instance, a printed silk blouse and stilettos look great with skinny jeans, but when you throw on a pair of boyfriend jeans, suddenly your entire outfit has a masculine sensibility that’s more modern, and less predictable.”
Deepika Padukone looks her glamorous self even in a knit sweater and boyfriend jeans
Gupta couldn’t agree more. She says, “These jeans are extremely user -friendly. You can wear them to work, for a casual date or a luncheon with friends or for a night out. They are comfortable yet chic.
The anatomy of boyfriend jeans
Boyfriend jeans are supposed to look and feel like the jeans a woman might have borrowed from her better half or a male friend. They have a relaxed fit and usually look bigger on the wearer. They are often termed as the opposite of skinny jeans as they do not hug the body. However, contrary to popular conception, these jeans are not the same as that sported by men.
Though Holmes had sported Cruise’s jeans, over the years, more feminine versions of this outfit has developed. Stylist Roli Singh says, “Boyfriend jeans are not men’s jeans. But they are designed to look like them. Men’s jeans have a certain cut and silhouette suitable for males as they have leaner bodies as compared to women. Certain details about the cut of the hips are changed so that boyfriend jeans look just right on women.”
A jeans for every occasion
For a formal look: Gupta suggests that you team up your boyfriend jeans with a white shirt and compliment it with a grey or pink well-cut jacket or a white linen jacket. Complete the look with nude pumps and a plain suede bag.
For a casual look: Team the jeans with a skinny vest coast and coloured shoes. Gupta says, “You can also opt for cropped tops, which are currently in vogue, racer back ganjis, off-shoulder tops and zipper jackets. Complete the look with sneakers or boots.” For a more feminine look, Barve says, “Choose a lace top with boyfriend jeans and finish the look with a strand of pearls around your neck.”
For a night out: Gupta says, “Wear a pair of boyfriend jeans with a sequined top. Accessorise it with a blingy bracelet, blingy bag and glittery shoes.”
Did you know
The story of jeans began in the city of Genoa, in Italy when Genoese sailors started to use it to cover and protect their goods on the docks from the weather