Recently I was sitting next to my friend Arianna in a coffee shop when I noticed her pulling at the side seams of her jeans, looking worried. I asked her what was going on.
“Have you ever worried that your jeans are going to give you blood clots?” she asked. Surprisingly, of the many dubious health concerns I have considered in my lifetime, that wasn’t one of them. “It just seems like maybe we shouldn’t be wearing skinny jeans all the time,” she added. “I feel like they squeeze our organs or something.”
When I got home (and after I took off my own skinny jeans, and replaced them with sweatpants), I did a little research. It was not especially hard to find people who echoed Arianna’s skinny jean-related fears: There was a Daily Mail story about a woman who spent four days in the hospital after having to have her jeans cut off of her body; there was a summary of a study that purported to show that wearing skinny jeans can cause muscle and nerve damage by cutting off blood flow. Interestingly, nearly everything I found referred to the same story of the woman whose jeans were surgically removed from her body. A New York Post story (which uses pictures of Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles wearing tight jeans to illustrate their dangerous sexiness) cites a physical therapist whose client once wore jeans “so tight that they forced her knees into extension, so she could not bend them the proper 35 degrees for a proper gait.” The tightness of her jeans, he said, was likely responsible for her back pain.