Cuff This, Baby! Boyfriend Jeans Baffle

Boyfriend jeans. Sure, Katie Holmes is wearing ’em. But is anyone else in New York?

“Williamsburg,” said a short-haired skinny-jeaned girl on Prince Street. “They’ll wear anything as long as it’s trendy.”

“Go to Darkroom; they’re douche bags,” said a barfly outside the Annex, after she and the bouncer finished laughing. She was wearing not boyfriend jeans but tight black pants with black boots, along with her black bomber jacket and thick black bangs.

“‘Excuse me, do you wear douche-bag jeans?’” the bouncer said in a mocking falsetto.

“Try Park Slope,” said Stephanie Kansky, 23, who was toasting a sandwich behind the counter of the Green Apple Café in Fort Greene.

“Why?”

“Because they’re gay.” But then Ms. Kansky (who is gay) stepped from behind the counter and pointed out that she, herself, was wearing boyfriend jeans: as in actual men’s jeans that cost five dollars at a thrift store.

Boyfriend jeans are baggy, with a medium amount of fading, and rolled up at the bottom. Most important is a good sag, so that even the most buoyant backside looks like a scowl. Veda Myers, 24, of Crown Heights, smoking outside Weather Up in Prospect Heights; and Laura, 48, a chef from Dumbo, riding the 6 to the Guggenheim, both paired the style with work boots. At Rope on Myrtle Avenue, a man named Cowboy Mark Straiton, owner of the Greenpoint antiques and vintage clothing store Kill Devil Hill, said that three weeks ago, girls started coming in and buying worn-out jeans, $50 to $250, that were a few sizes too big for them. He also said that he was friends with this one girl who definitely owns boyfriend jeans, a personal assistant to someone famous who must not be named.

But in Williamsburg? “We’re still on skinny jeans,” said a woman named Drea working at DuMont, a restaurant on Union Avenue.

Maybe boyfriend jeans are a special kind of trend, like Sarah Palin glasses?

The style has a similarly inauspicious beginning. In early August, an affluent young mother named Katie Holmes, following a period of ostentatious Hermès-bag toting, wore her husband’s pants to work. The fashion press was delighted at this instance of “slumming.” Other all-American girls such as Rachel Bilson and Reese Witherspoon started wearing baggy jeans with the cuffs rolled up, too. And soon enough labels with weird names took on the challenge: Prps issued a $310 version, and Current/Elliott, one for $229. David Tautu, the store manager at Henry Lehr, and a saleswoman at Intermix said that they were totally sold out of boyfriend jeans.

At Barneys, where the Prps jeans are helpfully pre-cuffed, one saleswoman whispered that she’d just sold the style to a woman with wide hips. Boyfriend jeans are “great for wearing to class,” said another salesman who identified himself as Michael.

But Grace, a student at Stuyvesant known for her fashion sense, e-mailed that most of her classmates were sticking “to skinnies, bootcut, flares and whatever’s normal.”

Amanda Doman, 20, a hostess at Bar Martignetti on Broome Street, saw a girl wearing them one night recently. “She looked downtown but not downtown,” Ms. Doman said, “like she was trying to look downtown.”

What about uptown, where the boyfriend jeans trend last reached its apotheosis, with preppies circa 1984? At Elaine’s, the under-40 set was still in bootcuts.

“People wear all kinds of shit,” said Elaine Kaufman, the proprietor. “And they shouldn’t, because some of them are chubby.”

editorial@observer.com

Cuff This, Baby! Boyfriend Jeans Baffle