If there’s one piece of clothing that everyone should have in their closet, it's a good pair of jeans. 

For the past two decades, skinny jeans have reigned supreme in our denim fixation. The style dominated the fashion scene of the early 2000s, with stars like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus constantly seen rocking the low–cut, tight–fitting look. 

Flash forward to today, and we're bringing back the '90s trend of high–waisted, flared jeans. From Selena Gomez to Rihanna, even celebrities can be seen sporting wide–legged denim off duty. In other words, we’re witnessing the return of big jean energy. The transition between these two drastically different styles raises the question: What is the underlying reason for this sudden switch?

The Y2K skinny jean trend represented a revival of a style that first rose to prominence in the 1960s—a time when hair rollers and perms were all the rage. The advent of the skinny jeans marked a monumental step for women attempting to break free from traditional ideas surrounding gender and modesty. These slacks added an air of scandal to an everyday outfit: They signaled a move away from big skirts that hid the female body and a stance against societal norms.

Yet by the time skinny jeans resurfaced in the 2000s, they came to stand for something much more toxic: The skinnier you were, the better you looked in them. Users all over TikTok are retroactively calling attention to how, in this era, one's ability to take part in the fashion of the day became contingent upon your body type. Sizes 00 and 0 became synonymous with trendiness. Pop culture of that decade also glorified this standard of beauty. Shows like The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl gave leading roles to thin actresses—all of whom rocked the tightest pairs of skinny jeans. 

Turning women's bodies into fashion trends is inherently problematic. It puts a favorable emphasis on one body type while shaming others. Thus, it should be no surprise that our generation has decided to give skinny jeans the boot.

Gen Z has taken to social media with one mission in mind: cancel skinny jeans. And you can’t blame them. For the last century, encouraging women to have slim bodies has been the norm. Even today, we see social media trends like the “that girl” movement on Tik Tok that glorify the appearance of the slim–fit girls who work out and drink green smoothies every day. 

Still, our society has become better at calling out the toxicity behind these standards in the past decade. There is beauty in all body types, not just in thin ones. Celebrities and influencers have been leading the change, calling for both the fashion world and society at large to create a more inclusive vision of attractiveness. While we still have a ways to go, we now see the spotlight shining on a more diverse set of body types in the media. 

This acceptance is at the root of big jean energy. We choose comfort instead of coveting jeans that promote an unhealthy body image. The high–rise baggy jean conforms to all body types rather than becoming a means to flex a flat stomach and tiny frame.

Fashion shouldn't come at the expense of comfort—both in the clothes you're wearing and in your own skin. Our society–wide switch from skinny jeans to baggy ones reflects that.