Skinny Fit vs Slim Fit – The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Fit

When it comes to clothing like jeans and shirts, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. 

You need to decide what kind of fabric you want, the color, the design and most importantly what kind of fit you want as well. Every fit can be slightly different, and so you can have lots of options to select from. 

Two of the most popular types of fits are skinny and slim fits. 

In this article, we will be delving into what is the difference between a slim fit and a skinny fit. 

This is so you know what kind of fit you should be deciding for your shirts, pants and even suits. 

Skinny Fit vs Slim Fit - The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Fit

Skinny Fit: What Is It?

When it comes to pants, shirts and suits, if it says that it is skinny fit, this means it is a very close-fitting style. There can be variations of this fit depending on the type of clothing or the brand of clothing. 

However, essential skinny fit always means a tight form of clothing. The arm or leg holes generally have a smaller circumference, when compared with other kinds of fits. 

Skinny fit is a popular choice when it comes to jeans. Also, in some pieces of clothing such as jeans, the skinny fit will largely include elastic fibers in the material. 

This helps make the tight fit stretch easily around your body. As a result, without these elastic fibers, you wouldn’t be able to move in the piece of clothing. 

Very much known as a body hugging style, that is loved for the fact that it will showcase certain areas of your body shape. 

For example, when you wear skinny jeans, it is known that your legs appear longer and much more defined. 

Although, if you wear a skinny cut dress shirt, then your shoulders and silhouette can look much more defined and toned.

History of the Skinny Fit

Skin tight clothing started to gain popularity due to a fashion trend in the 1980s. 

During this period, everyone began to accept the idea of skinny jeans, as many rock stars were seen sporting these garments. 

Rock Stars were seen wearing skinny jeans as an act of rebellion and the changing culture. 

Alongside that, in the 1980s, we saw the development of the first stretchy fabrics. This is then what made skinny jeans possible. 

However, synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester were created during the Second World War. 

Although, the idea of mixing spandex or elastane into the material wasn’t done until the 80s. Thus, then in the 80s, this blend was seen in skinny jeans and also swimwear. 

However, not everyone enjoys this fit of clothing. It cannot be denied that skinny fit clothing is very popular, but it isn’t a type of fit that looks good on everyone. 

You could look great in skinny jeans, but a skinny fit shirt may not be as flattering for you. It all depends on your style and what you feel comfortable in wearing. Very tight clothing isn’t for everyone. 

Alongside that, skinny fit garments can resist your movements. Therefore, it may look good, but sometimes skinny fit isn’t always the most comfortable to wear. 

Slim Fit: What Is It?

Slim fit is actually quite different to skinny fit, as it has a slightly looser fit. 

It will typically fit around your body, to give you a really flattering silhouette and outline. As the slim fit is slightly looser than a skinny fit, it doesn’t restrict your movements as much. 

The slim fit still fits closely to your body. Yet, it doesn’t cling or hug your body in the way the skinny fit does. 

A pair of slim fit pants will have narrow and tapered legs. They have wider leg holes, and there is much more fabric between your legs. 

This allows you to move much more easily. As a result, slim fit pants or jeans won’t cling or hug your thighs or hips. 

However, just because the slim fit doesn’t hug your body as closely doesn’t mean it doesn’t give you a fantastic outline. 

The slim fit will give you a chapter outline compared with a regular fit. For example, a slim fitting shirt is known to have a tapered waist and shaped shoulder. 

Compared with a rectangular and baggy regular fit shirt. Also, a slim fit shirt will typically have tapered sleeves as well, however there is still lots of room in the armholes to be able to easily lift and move your arms. 

History of the Slim Fit

Slim fit is a trend that is constantly going in and out of fashion for both men and women. 

It was in the 1920s that saw the trend for slim fit clothing begin. It started with closing fitting and sleek suits that men should be wearing. While for women it was the stylish flapper dress. 

Then the craze died down, but made an appearance once again in the 1940s, but this time with baggy, pleated and high-waisted pants for men. While for women the trend was bulky shouldered jackets. 

Now, in the modern day, the slim fit is still a popular fit for a lot of people. In most brands you will be able to find a slim fit available. 

Slim fit today is a really popular choice when it comes to suits. As it offers you a classy, trendy and very flattering look, when paired with a shirt. 

With that being said, slim fit hasn’t quite reached the popularity heights that the skinny fit has. It is seen as fashionable to wear skinny fits more than slim fits, especially when it comes to jeans.

At the end of the day, it is up to you which fit you go for. It does depend on your body shape and which fit is more flattering for your body type and shape. 

Sometimes the latest fashion trend won’t suit you and that’s okay. You should wear what makes you feel comfortable and what works for you.

The Difference Between Skinny and Slim Fits

The main difference that you will notice between a slim fit and a skinny fit is that the skinny fit will cling to your body a lot more. Compared to a slim fit which does not hug your body as closely. 

Thus, the skinny fit will cling to your body and show off the contours of your body. While the slim fit will still give you a great silhouette, you have more space to move. 

Each piece of clothing will be slightly different, whether it is a slim fit or a skinny fit. For example, a skinny fit shirt is very different to skinny fit jeans. 

As a result, skinny fit is the tightest fit of clothing that you can get your hands on. Slim fit still gives you a flattering silhouette with not too much material falling around your body. 

Yet it is known that skinny fit clothing will use much less fabric as it is such a tighter fit. 

Thus, you should assume that your skinny fit clothes will feel tight. The arm and leg holes can feel constrained. Even your hips, thighs, chest etc. can feel like this too. 

Skinny fit is all about the fashion and isn’t always very comfortable as it is very restrictive. Compared with slim fit, that just gently rests against your body, but does not restrict any of your movements of limbs. 

Typically, the pant legs and sleeves will taper at the bottom, so they won’t wrap around these limbs tightly. Again, this allows you more ease of movement. 

Apart from that, the measurements of a skinny fit and slim fit are pretty much the same. With some brands of jeans, there may be around 5% difference between the size of the legs. 

However, that 5% can make a big difference in how closely the material will cling to your skin. That 5% is the difference between a skinny fit and a slim fit sometimes. 

Slim Fit Vs Skinny Fit Garments

Suits

When it comes to suits, the biggest difference between a slim fit and a skinny fit suit is that the skinny fit is a tighter fit. 

As we have mentioned above, skinny fit clothing will cling to your body, and can restrict movement. Therefore, there is no exception when it comes to a skinny fit suit. 

The shoulders, legs and arms all have a much tighter fit when compared to a slim fit suit. 

A skinny fit suit is seen to give off a more fashionable and trendy look. While the slim fit is seen as a more timeless and classic look. 

Sometimes a skinny fit suit will use blended materials that contain elastic to help make the clothing move. The jacket will typically be much shorter in length when compared to a classic suit jacket. 

Also, the pants will have small leg holes and be tapered and narrow. This is to help create a sleek look.

Now with a slim fit suit, it is known for featuring quite narrow jacket shoulders. Alongside tapered and narrow pants. 

Also, the pants will rest just above your shoes, near the ankle. This is to help create the classic suit outline and shape. 

It is known that slim or tall people are much more suited to a slim fit suit than a skinny fit suit. This is because the slim fit suit will enhance their already slim figure, while also giving them a classy look. 

When you are looking to buy a suit, you will notice that some brands will use a range of terminology. You may come across classic close-fitting or ultra skinny. 

This just means either slim fit or skinny fit. 

Alongside that, you need to be aware of the type of fabric that your suit is made of. 

For example, if the fabric uses a blended material with elastic, then this suit isn’t a slim fit but rather a skinny fit style of suit. 

Jeans

For jeans, it is easy to tell the difference between skinny and slim fit jeans. Skinny fit jeans fit a lot tighter to the body including to the thighs and hips compared to slim fit jeans. 

Also, skinny jeans will always contain a certain percentage of elastic fibers, which is what helps them to stretch around your body. 

It is known that skinny jeans will use a material known as four way stretch fabric. This is what makes skinny jeans so stretchy while you are wearing them. Yet when you take them off they return to their original shape. 

Compared with slim fit jeans that don’t need this stretching ability as they fall much straight on the leg. Some brands of slim fit jeans might use some stretchy material. 

However, slim fit jeans use a lot more fabric as they aren’t figure hugging. This allows for much more movement. 

What type of jeans you should wear is up to you, but each brand will have a different idea on what they think slim fit and skinny fit is. 

Generally, you can count on skinny fit being a much tighter fit than slim fit. However, you should always try on the jeans of both fits of jeans before you make your purchase. 

This way, you can know whether the fit of those jeans is for you. 

Shirts

Slim fitting shirts often have tapered or curved side seams. They can also feature a narrow shoulder and chest area. 

The armhole will be quite high up, but the sleeves themselves will be shorter. This fit will suit someone who already has quite a slim build. 

However, both a skinny fit shirt and slim fit shirt can give you a fitted and sharp shape without any loose material holding you down. 

There is nothing wrong with a classic or regular fit shirt. They typically give you a rectangular and almost box like shape. 

The sleeves are also much looser and can be gathered or pleated to add some extra fullness if required. 

For women, a  shirt that is quite loose and can be tucked in is quite fashionable at the moment. However, sometimes a fitted shirt which creates a shape outline can’t be beaten. 

Chinos

It is more common to find slim fit chinos than skinny fit chinos. However, in some brands you will be able to find both fits. Just like with jeans, the fits can differ depending on the brand. 

When someone says chinos, you probably think of a loose fitting pair of khaki pants. Now this straight cut pair of pants is a classic and still a very popular choice. 

You can now find other fits too, such as slim fit, which is the most popular. This is because chinos typically don’t use a stretchy fabric.

Hence, a pair of skinny fit chinos could feel too restrictive. Although, close-fitting chinos are gaining a lot of popularity recently. Therefore, you could expect to see a lot more skinny and stretchy chinos from brands in the future. 

Are Skinny Jeans Going Out of Style?

Skinny jeans have been incredibly popular for a long period of time now. However, it seems unlikely that this trend will be going out of favor any time soon. 

However, a lot of other types of denim have been giving the skinny jean some tough competition recently.

Every year, there is a new denim trend, which then leads to certain fashion experts saying that skinny jeans are no longer in trend. 

Yet, the majority of fashion brands still continue to sell skinny jeans. At the moment, skinny jeans have remained in fashion since the 1980s. Obviously, there are going to be new trends such as cut out pockets or patches. 

Yet even other styles like high-waisted or low waist and boot cut jeans are constantly coming in and out of fashion and popularity as well. 

You can wear as many styles of jeans that you wish to. This is because you can be assured that the classics like the skinny jeans and even the regular fit jeans won’t be disappearing from our shelves for wardrobes any time soon. 

Regular and Tapered Fit Vs Slim and Skinny Fit

As we have established, the difference between any fit of jeans comes to the tightest of the piece of clothing. 

Certain clothing like pants or jeans are known to be available in various fits like regular, slim and skinny fit. 

Using the example of pants, the biggest difference between the different fits is the width of the leg of the pants.

Skinny fit pants will have the minimum width possible. Compared to a regular fit pair of pants, that will have the largest width possible.

Yet, when it comes to other types of clothing, you want to think of the fit as how closely the garment will hug your body. 

For example, any type of skinny fit clothing will cling to your body. Yet, a classic or regular fit will give you a much more box-like and looser shape. 

This is due to the extra material that is used as well. As a result, for a lot of brands, it is the regular fit that will be ideal if you like baggy or roomy clothing. 

It is easy to confuse the tapered and slim fit for one another, as they are essentially the same thing. In each style, you will always see legs or arms that are wide at the top and then narrow near the ankle or wrist. 

However, with a jacket or a shirt, a tapered or slim fit will feature curved side seams which curved inwards helping to create a much closer and shaper fit. 

Is There a Difference Between Women Slim and Skinny Jeans

When it comes to women’s jeans, the skinny jean will give you the tightest fit around the hips, legs and thighs. 

However, it may have a loose ankle, but this can vary depending on the brand. 

Now, skinny fit jeans may give you a very figure hugging shape. Yet, slim fit jeans are known to be much more comfortable to wear. 

This is because they are much looser around the knees and thighs. This allows you to walk much easier and even sit down without being in pain. 

Skinny fit jeans can be too tight, which makes them uncomfortable to wear for a long period of time. 

Buying the Right Fit 

To pick the correct fit for your body, requires you to know and understand your own body shape. 

You need to be aware of which styles look the best on you, then you can pair this information and buy the fit that will make you look the best. 

You should always wear the fit that feels right for you. It shouldn’t matter what fits are in style or in fashion. 

The fit you should wear should be comfortable for you. However, we have put together a few tips on the best cuts that look the most flattering on your body shape. 

Body Shapes

Pear-Shaped – Someone who describes themselves with a pear shaped body, has a wide waist and narrow hips. 

Apple-Shaped – An apple shaped body will be someone who will have a body shaped like an upside down triangle. Their shoulders will be much broader than their hips. 

Hourglass-Shaped – This means someone who has a very curvaceous body and a defined waist. This typically refers to a woman’s body. 

Athletic/Slender-Shape – With this type of body, you are known to have a much more rectangular and box-like body shape. 

Body Shapes And The Best Fit

Pear-Shaped – A pear shaped body is more suited to fitted tops, as this exaggerates their narrow shoulders. 

Yet when it comes to shirts and jackets, they need something that is shorter, because this will dare the eye away from the triangle-like shape. 

When it comes to pants, you need to avoid slim or skinny fit pants. Instead, go with a boot cut which will help to balance out your figure. 

Apple-Shaped – With an apple shaped body, we would recommend a much looser style of jacket and shirts. 

However, when it comes to pants slim or skinny fitting pants and jeans will look amazing on you. 

A pair of skinny jeans with an airy, loose fitting top would be an incredible combination.

Hourglass-Shape – When it comes to an hourglass figure, you want clothing that will show off your waist. Skinny and slim fitting jackets and shirts look great on you. 

Also, skinny jeans will help to showcase your waist and curves. However, high-waisted pants and jeans will be able to do this better than low fitting pants or jeans. 

Rectangular-Shape – For someone who has a slim, athletic or rectangular body shape, loose fitting clothing is better for you. 

This applies to jackets and shirts, as the loose fitting shirt showcases your broad shoulders. 

However, when it comes to pants and jeans, slim or skinny fit both look stunning on you. 

You want to play to the strength of your body shape and your own unique style. Use different types of fabrics, colors and types of clothing to vary your style. 

However, the main point is what you wear must make you comfortable and happy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Wear Slim Fit Jeans?

Slim jeans are more versatile than skinny jeans and look great on almost every body shape. These jeans can be worn by women of all ages. 

However, these jeans are not suitable for older women. Slim jeans should fit your hips. 

Unlike skinny jeans, these jeans can be a bit loose around the knees and thighs but still look good.

What Are Athletic Fitting Jeans?

Athletic fitting jeans are similar to slim fitting jeans. However, athletic fitting jeans have been specially designed to suit muscular thighs and hips. 

This kind of style is seen a lot more in men’s brands than women’s. 

What Is a Modern Fit?

A modern fit is very similar to a slim fit. When it comes to shirts, a modern fit is cut to fit slightly closer to the body, but there is extra room in the arms and chest. 

A comfortable choice that is also very fashionable. 

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the difference between skinny fit and slim fit. To summarize, skinny and slim fit both produce fitted and narrow profiles on the person. They both fit the shape of the body really closely. 

Skinny fit is always the tightest fitting and also uses very stretchy fabric. It will cling to every part of your body. 

While slim, has a very narrow cut and can have either tapered legs or arms as well, depending on the garment. 

When it comes to pants, slim fitting will have much more material around your legs, while skinny fit will just cling to your legs. 

However, skinny jeans have been a popular piece of clothing since the 1980s, that doesn’t seem to be losing its popularity yet.

Now you should know the difference between slim and skinny fitting clothing and be able to decide which one will suit you better. 

Yet really, you need to know and understand your own body shape and that will help you to know which styles are more suited for you.

Amanda Brown

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