Too Close For Comfort

We get the skinny on skinny jeans And it’s not what you’d expect.

Over the years, experts have slated some of our favourite wardrobe accessories as being hazardous to our health. We’ve been told stilettos are bad for our back and can damage our feet and knees, push up bras result in posture problems and poor circulation, and heavy handbags put tension on the spine. If that wasn’t bad enough, skinny jeans are bearing the brunt of the health police and it looks as though it’s time to face the facts.

Ever heard of meralgia paresthetica? According to Dr. John England, a US-based neurologist and member of the American Academy of Neurology, skinny jeans put pressure on the femoral cutaneous nerve in your thighs, which can leave you with a strange, tingling sensation in your legs. Add stilettos to the mix and you’re in double trouble, as the tingling simply worsens.

As told to MSNBC: ‘[The femoral cutaneous nerve] is a pure sensory nerve,’ says Dr. England, ‘it doesn’t go to muscles or provide strength. Anything tight around that area could potentially compress the nerve.’ But don’t go tossing your supertight skinnies quite yet; ‘tingling thigh syndrome’ is temporary, and you can continue to wear skinny jeans without causing any permanent damage. Simply remove the pressure by stripping off and those pins-and-needles will soon disappear.

‘This health risk might be blown out of proportion,’ counters Durban-based stylist, Pippa Lynch. ‘I do, however, recommend avoiding very tight skinny jeans and rather opt for the styles that have a little more stretch, as they are a lot more flattering on most leg shapes and body types than the skin-tight variety.’

Alice Dunkley, a stylist at The Wardrobe Studio, agrees: ‘Comfort is most important when buying any jeans, so if they are uncomfortable to sit in, then chances are this is not good for one’s health.’

‘For all those risk averse stylistas out there,’ adds Lynch, ‘boyfriend styles and rolled-up cargo pants are slowly trumping skinny jeans as the preferred silhouette this season, so if you attribute those pains in your legs to your skinny jeans, simply shop for a new style.’

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