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Fashion Fight: Americans Disagree Over Recent Clothing Trends — What Do You Think?

Have you ever disagreed with what’s hot and what’s not? While your personal tastes when it comes to fashion are entirely your own, culture and society tend to dictate the terms when it comes to what’s in vogue — no matter how over the top the trend may seem. 

While some classic looks, like a tailored button down or blazer, are timeliness, other fads come and go. However, some recent (and not-so-recent) developments in what Americans wear seem to be here for the long haul. To be clear, we’re talking about ripped jeans, baggy clothing, and athleisure wear. How do Americans feel about these clothing choices, especially since they’re often considered acceptable work attire now? 

To see how Americans feel about some of 2019’s more questionable clothing choices, we asked 3,000 people if they think ripped jeans, athleisure wear, and baggy clothing are “sloppy” or “chic.” 

Read on to learn:

  1. How the majority of Americans think ripped jeans are sloppy
  2. How women favor athleisure wear more so than men 
  3. How over half of Americans don’t jive with baggy clothes 

      Denim in Distress: 59% of Americans Consider Ripped Jeans Sloppy 

      We asked 1,000 people what they think of ripped jeans — and learned that 6 in 10 Americans aren’t about the look at all. The thing is, ripped jeans have been on store racks for some time: In the early 2000s, franchises like Abercrombie, Aeropostale, and Hollister ensured every teen and young adult had a pair of ripped jeans to rock to the party. 

      In 2019, donning distressed denim is still “in,” only the look is now more nuanced than it was a decade ago. For instance, pairing ripped jeans with a clean upper body piece, say a button down shirt or a business casual top, would be acceptable in some casual work settings.

      So, who’s really in favor of the look, and who’s not? Overall, more women (41%) consider ripped jeans to be chic, as compared to men (30%). We also noticed that Americans’ opinion of ripped jeans soured with age. For instance, 80% of Americans 65+ think the look is sloppy. 

      Athleisure Acceptance: 41% of Americans Think Athleisure Wear Is Chic 

      Since Americans are so divided on ripped denim, we were curious to see where they stand on wearing athleisure clothing — think leggings and synthetic materials — as regular wear.

      Also known as “sportswear,” “activewear,” and “athleticwear,” the split on athleisure clothing was a little less polarized. Forty-seven percent of respondents think athleisure wear as everyday clothing is sloppy, while 41% think that stylish gym clothing is, well, ok. The other 11% of respondents were indifferent. 

      As was the case with ripped jeans, more women (44%) favored athleisure wear, as opposed to only 38% of men. This could be due to the fact that leggings are now perceived as a comfortable, fashionable, high-end article of clothing for women, with some pairs going for as much as $100 each. Leggings are just as much a status symbol as they are practical gym attire, which explains their prominence in both the workplace and the grocery aisle on a weekend. 

      Baggy Is Out: 63% of Americans Think Oversized Clothing Looks Sloppy 

      Considering athletic wear is typically form-fitting, what do Americans think about baggy clothing? We asked 1,000 people what they think of intentionally wearing oversized clothes and learned the majority of Americans gave it the thumbs down. 

      Sometimes referred to as “unflattering clothing” according to sartorial style police, baggy clothes have made a comeback. In particular, baggy men’s jeans are on-trend, but not everyone is hopping on the bandwagon it seems. 

      In fact, men are the most opposed to baggy clothing, with 70% claiming that they think baggy duds are sloppy. Similarly to ripped jeans, Americans also tend to dislike baggy clothes more with age. In particular, 80% of Americans 65 and older think baggy clothes are not appealing. 

      So what does this say about clothing trends and what you should ultimately wear? While there’s nothing wrong with being adventurous, if you want to avoid criticism, following simple style rules for creating a polished look — think tailored shirts for men and casual but professional tops for women — is an easy way to create a personal style that’s universally considered more chic than sloppy.