Blue jeans have been a ubiquitous part of American culture since the 1950s, but sales fell by a significant 6 percent
last year after decades of steady growth, according to market research firm NPD Group.
By contrast, the sales of "athleisure wear" like yoga pants climbed 7 percent in that same time period. This appears to be the result of lifestyle changes, with companies changing dress codes, people enjoying casual days at home, and standards for appropriate clothing changing throughout society.
Another reason for the decline in jeans sales is due to the lack of new styles
since brightly colored skinnies were introduced a few years back. Skinnies don't work for every body type, after all, while athleisure wear can stretch to fit most people, making for more comfort for a wider variety of people.
The last time jean sales dropped was 12 years ago, when sales fell by 3 percent when khakis made a comeback. Sales also fell 3-4 percent back in the 1970s, when corduroys become popular for a while.
However though, this isn't to say that jeans are going anywhere anytime soon. Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy, says denim accounts for about 20 percent of annual sales at America's department stores; nonetheless, companies like Levi's and VF Corp. are rolling out new jeans that they say are stretchier, akin to athleisure wear, reflecting the lifestyle and fashion changes that many Americans have made in recent years.
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