Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: What to Do With All Your Skinny Jeans

It’s an arts-and-crafts party in your pants!

05.03.16

If your ankles want to breathe but your drawers are full of pants that hug your leg from hip to heel then you can join me over here. Dainty denim ankle holes haven’t felt novel in a while and I’m as listless as a sloth on a temperate roof.

Maybe our ankles want some air because it’s warming up and they’re hankering to flirt with a capacious flare or a revealing capri. But deep down? I think they’ve been miffed since 2004 when we pulled on our first pair of calf-suffocating skinny jeans.

Now it’s 12 years later and we have just as many pairs stacked in our closets and they’re feeling like real bores. Sure, we could sell them, but maybe we’re a little nostalgic. Or a little hoarder-ish. Or we can’t bear to part with our favorite worn-in pair.

So today, we’re in search of a way to make them feel fresh, and I’ve got three ideas to breathe a little life into this near-morbid trend.

1. Celebrate them.

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Zara jeans, Reformation top, Brother Vellies shoes, Gentle Monster sunglasses — another green cat eye here, Rebecca de Ravenel earrings, thrifted rainbow scarf

This is the skinny jeans equivalent of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” So fine, the ankle corsets will do little for our aforementioned shortness of breath, but what other pant would so humbly corporate inside a lace-up sandal? NONE!

Lacking the right lace-up? A bandana around the ankle never hurt anybody.

2. Disguise them.

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Zara jeans, Reformation shirt dress, Trademark shoes, Arme De L’Amour gold cuff and SheBee skinny cuff, Christie Nicolaides earrings, MAC lipstick in “Ruby Woo”

Hypothesis: skinny jeans are the new under-layer staple of 2016, not unlike the cotton BP tank top of 2006. Control: Your skinny jeans. Variables: A shirt dress, slip, tunic or nightgown. Results: Your pants’ unassuming taper will fit under all of them like a lovable body part. That’s how desperate they are to stay in your closet.

Also: I don’t remember the scientific method.

3. Transform them.

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Refurbished jeans (Madewell jeans with Levi’s jeans elements sewn on), Zara top, Repetto shoes, Gentle Monster glasses

Take a leap and make them into a new pair of pants completely. Sew the butt pockets to your hips for easy trinket-storage, cut the hems up like a cat attacked you or snip a couple inches off the front of them and let your ankles inhale that sweet almost-summer air.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

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