Skinny jeans are form-fitting all the way down your legs, even tappered in for a skin tight wrap around your ankles. Cigarette jeans, like Skinnies, are form fitting through the butt and thighs, but aren't tappered as much at the ankles. They maintain the same shape below the knees, not quite as fitted as the straight legged jean, but more like the love child between the skinnies and the straights.*
*Technically, it's all about the leg opening. 11'' for Skinnes, 12'' for cigarette, and about 16'' for straight -- see happy medium love child.
Cigarette vs Skinny
I love the cigarette because they give a much cleaner look. As you can see in the picture, skinnies hold them ankles tight, so regardless if you're wearing flats or heals, you're going to have that bunching up look at the bottom that creates a little more edgy of an ending, kind of an abrupt stop to the flow of your legs. With no bunching, the cigarette creates a more gradual, natural transition to your shoes and feet, elongating those stems. And I'm 5' so the more elongating, the better! Ultimately though, it really just depends on the look you're going for.
I like BOTH because they show off your shoesies! With other styles, if the hem is too high it just looks like you're waiting for a flood -- not these!
Cigarette Icon: Nicole Ritchie
See how they're not skin tight on the ankles? And you can see her cute shoes?
Again: room at the ankles, peeking peep toes, and she's a shorty so good job on creating some height!
And here are some of my favs from Urban Outfitters