Don't Come After My Jean Jacket and I

For a while, I really wanted a denim skirt; something that I could throw on in the summer with a blouse or a regular T-shirt and walk right out the door. Of course, it would match whatever shoes I put on with it too, which is a bonus. 

Over time, my thoughts on my ideal summer outfit began to falter. I would step outside and see about a dozen other girls in the same ensemble. Instagram was filled with denim skirts, all ranging in styles. Some were faded and ripped while others were the classic darker, more solid jean material. I noticed that above anything else, everyone looked cute. On the other hand, I felt this conflicting tug inside that told me that outfit was ‘basic.’ Jean jackets, leggings, jeans with bodysuits and, of course, Ugg boots - were these all ‘basic’ too? 

But why is being ‘basic’ a bad thing? Why can it be amusing to poke fun at people who wear clothes that a lot of other people enjoy wearing as well? 

Let’s start off with going back to what ‘basic’ actually means. I turned to the handy dandy Merriam-Webster dictionary and looked up a definition of the word. It came back with some interesting findings, mostly including scientific examples relating back to chemicals. The definition that I took away was “constituting or serving as the basis or starting point,” basically the fundamentals. Nothing bad there, just the building blocks. So if you want to have leggings as the building blocks for your outfit, you are in the clear. 

Just for kicks, I turned to Urban Dictionary. I wanted to see what anonymous people on the Internet think about the word ‘basic.’ It’s no shock that there are some questionable definitions and examples. One definition described a ‘basic’ person as one who is “only interested in things mainstream, popular and trending.” Alright, that’s not too extreme. I’m not overly bothered. I raised an eyebrow at the next one: “used to describe someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or simply worth devoting time or attention to.” At this point, my jean jacket and I are shaking with fear. 

Snapping back to reality,I realized there is no sense in worrying what a website lacking credibility has to say. 

As my mother always tells me, looks are about confidence. If you like what you’re wearing, wear it. Who is to tell you that you look basic, or that following trends is a bad move? Being basic isn’t the end of the world, it could just be your style. Everyone has their own vibes that they express through their clothing and that’s what makes fashion interesting. It would be exasperatingly boring if everyone had the same style. Walking down the street, you wouldn’t see any creativity, flare, colours, or prints; no individuality. I mean, if Timothee Chalamet can go to Paris Fashion Week in a plain white shirt and backpack and be praised for “winning” then you and your Ugg boots are killing it.

Last month, the weather in Toronto finally began to warm up. On this particular day, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. The temperature reached a whopping 14 degrees Celsius. I threw on my leggings, a random shirt with a Disney princess on it, and the oversized jean jacket that my roommate gave me. It was a real change compared to the heavy sweaters I had been bundling up in for the past however many weeks prior. 

As I walked to class I noticed a lot of other people wearing the same combination. Instead of being embarrassed that about seven other girls in my class were all wearing something similar, I took another look and realized we weren’t really wearing the same thing after all. Some had sneakers on while others paired their outfit with combat boots. Some of the jackets were tight, others looser. All sorts of different interpretations on a seemingly typical outfit, but you can bet your butt we all looked great on that beautiful spring-like day.

Denim itself has been around for ages. One company that knows it liked the back of their hand is Levi Strauss & Co, who make exceptional jeans. They suggest May 20, 1873, as the birth of the blue jean. Although the denim fabric itself had been around for much longer, the blue jean is relatively new in comparison. Levi Strauss had been asked by the wife of local labourer Jacob Davis to make him a pair of pants that he’ll get a lot of use out of. Something strong and durable that won’t rip, but will also serve him well while he works. Since denim is a reliable and sturdy material, Strauss made the pants have metal rivets and pocket corners. Putting rivets in what used to be traditional pants created the phenomenon we now don’t even bat an eye at: jeans. The jeans were a hit and the product was quickly patented.  

Denim just doesn’t go out of style. With such a versatile portfolio, why would it? Jackets, skirts, pants, you name it, denim is on it. In 30 years, society won’t just give up on denim, so we might as well embrace our jean jackets.

I’ll let you in on a little secret here: leggings are comfortable. Have you ever tried fleece leggings? Those are game-changers. For me, my style also revolves around comfort and practicality. If an article of clothing matches with a lot of my other clothes, I’m going to get a lot of wear out of it. Leggings can be worn anywhere when you think of it. Working out, going to class, hanging at home, you name it. 

My point is, if something serves so many purposes, then why not celebrate it? Who cares if you purchased your leggings from Walmart, Lululemon, Winners, or Old Navy? They’re still fun to wear. Wherever you decide to wear them, wear them with pride. 

At the end of the day, people are going to wear whatever they want. Some have more confidence than others. Maybe you’re reading this thinking, “Huh, I do this anyways!” while others are a little more hesitant to wear what they please. Your style is your own. If you want to follow a more mainstream aesthetic or exclusively thrift shop, rock that business. Truly, the only person stopping you from dressing how you’d like is you.