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A casualty of war, Gen Z says skinny jeans are out in a style battle with Millennials. While the discourse was all fun and games, it’s beginning to have a ripple effect with tangible impact as autumn is ramping up. The death of skinny jeans is putting this season’s trends in a predicament as skinny jeans have always been a staple for fall lookbooks. A quick Pinterest search produces boards filled with outfits sporting trench coats, boots, and skinny jeans galore. Trench coats and various boots have stood the test of time. But because these bottoms are outdated, you might be thinking, How am I going to replicate these fall outfits? How do I style boots with flared bottoms?

So how do we do fall fashion without skinny jeans? How ever will we fare? I asked some of the most stylish Gen Z students what they are wearing this season instead of skinny jeans to bring us all some peace of mind.

Straight Jeans

Now that we’re not restricted to the skin-tight denim, naturally, college students are gravitating to a more relaxed fit. Eboni, 23, tells Her Campus, “I’ve been wearing more mom jeans and straight jeans in general, and trying out pants with fun prints on them for fall. I usually wear them with graphic tees or sweatshirts.”

Straight pants are just as versatile as skinny jeans, so we’re not missing out on much. Eboni shares that she styles them “with Docs or ankle boots in the fall, or sneakers during the spring and summer!”

Eboni can be spotted spicing up her autumn outfits with hoop earrings or jean jackets, which don’t require a pair of skinny jeans. These outfits are perfect for those who are a little reluctant to give up denim cold-turkey.

Different Textiles

Once you get more accustomed to not wearing skinny jeans, a whole world of options opens up. Samantha, 21, tells Her Campus, “The bottoms I’m wearing now instead of skinny jeans are fun bottoms, flare jeans, and anything straight-leg! It’s honestly more common to play with bottom pieces so you can stand out more. The things I’ll be wearing for fall will be anything leather, denim, and cozy neutral. Restraining skinny jeans are out and creativity/diversity is in!”

A true trailblazer, Sam can even be seen styling low-rise jeans. When she’s not at the gym, beach, or school, Sam uses her high energy to create provocative outfits. Find her wearing a rhinestone cowl halter top and ripped jeans with a pink cowboy hat accompanied by a tiara. It’ll be fun to see what else she has in store as she continues to embrace diversity in craft and silhouette, and her ideas can bring inspiration to those of us who are struggling to find new pants we like.

Skirts! Dresses! Literally anything else!

Fear not, if pants are not your thing. Rehana, 20, shares, “For fall, I generally wear more skirts, dresses or pants instead of jeans. I really love the whole mom jeans trend because [they’re] so much more comfortable than skinny jeans… The great thing about California’s warm weather during fall is that I can wear short skirts with tights, and I wouldn’t feel so cold.”

The boots conundrum isn’t a problem for Rehana as she tells Her Campus, “I also think a lot of styles of boots don’t look flattering when I wear skinny jeans, so I always wear something else.”

You can wear literally anything else besides skinny jeans. Being in sunny Southern California, I can still wear skirts without them being too much trouble, though they may not be part of the archetypal fall outfit. For colder days on campus, I frequently wear sweatpants as my legs are either hidden under the desk or not seen from my laptop camera. For going out, I love to sport long skirts or high-waisted wide-leg pants. Boots can look so much better swapped with flared pants, instead of skinny jeans, to bring in a ’70s look. Being back to work at an office, I’ve integrated more business casual attire in my regular wardrobe by wearing slacks more often — anything for the dark academia aesthetic.

Fall fashion doesn’t need skinny jeans. In fact, I’m glad they’re dead. We’re better off not limiting ourselves to restrictive clothing. In their absence, we are forced to explore different styles because we can’t resort to such a basic staple. Though the “war” between Millennials and Gen Z in the media was definitely blown out of proportion, it is interesting to see the evolution of fashion trends through this generational lens. Don’t worry if you still frequent the jean staple; I expect to see skinny jeans come back, just as we’ve seen a renaissance for other trends. Maybe Gen Z will see headlines clashing with Generation Alpha soon.

You are what you love. In my case, it's caffeinated beverages, sun beams, and maintaining space for potential and the unimaginable. As an enneagram type 7, I love to learn. I'm in my senior year of studying Political Science and Social Ecology. Excited to be an Editorial Intern at Her Campus and an Editor at my campus chapter!
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